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Special teams, defense powers Knights past Pirates

Currituck 37 Perquimans 0

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Currituck's Collin Jennings (55) celebrates after the Currituck defense recorded a safety during the football game against Perquimans, Friday, September 7, 2018 at Perquimans County High School.

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By Mike Wood
Correspondent

Sunday, September 9, 2018

HERTFORD — The undefeated Currituck County High School football team was tested early by a tough Perquimans County defense Friday night.

The Knights responded to the challenge.

In a strong display of team versatility, Currituck got long scoring plays from their special teams and defense to build a two touchdown lead.

They then wore down the roster depleted Pirates in the extreme heat and humidity to prevail by a final score of 37-0.

Currituck improved to 4-0 on the season with an upcoming showdown with the Edenton Aces.

When asked what he thought was the strongest part of his team, Knight interim head coach Paul Bossi didn't hesitate. " Conditioning! We really push the guys in their training so they can perform at their best throughout the entire game. The kids will say in the fourth quarter, 'I'm not tired coach.' I've stressed this in my 30-plus years of coaching, and we have a saying about the tough training we put them through early in the season, 'Hate me now-love me later!' "

The game started as a tough battle in the trenches.

Perquimans got a break when Colton Meads recovered a fumbled punt allowing the Pirates to keep possession.

However, they could not get a first down and had to punt again.

Currituck's Alex Dupree took the ball on the bounce with forward momentum near midfield, cut to his left to avoid coverage, and raced down the left sideline for a 48-yard touchdown.

After the successful conversion kick by Thomas Mansfield, the Knights led 7-0 at the 7:50 mark of the first quarter.

Perquimans received the kickoff, but again struggled for yardage.

They punted to the Currituck 44-yard line, but then stopped the Knights on downs to regain the ball near midfield.

A pass interception by Knights linebacker Trent Walker got the ball right back for Currituck in Pirate territory.

A gang tackle sack of Currituck quarterback Ethan Vasko, and two incompletions again turned the ball over on downs to the Pirates.

Shortly before the end of the quarter, sophomore running back Antwan Harris ran for 16 yards to move the ball to the Currituck 46 yard line.

Two plays later, Pirate quarterback Michael Brasseur connected for 16 yards to the Knight 30, but a Currituck blitz sack set them back with an eight yard loss.

After a short gain and an illegal procedure penalty, Currituck cornerback Derek Whitehurst stepped up and intercepted a pass in the flat.

With an open field in front of him, the senior raced down the sideline for a 63-yard pick six.

This really hurt the Pirates who had mounted their best drive of the night.

Fired up after their defensive score, Currituck then trapped a Pirate ball carrier in the end zone for a safety pushing the score to 16-0 at the 6:01 mark of the second quarter.

After the free kick, and a Perquimans penalty, the Knights were right back in scoring position at the Pirate 44-yard line.

Traveon Powell gained five yards, and Pierce Nelson broke through a tired Pirate defense for a 20 yard gain to the 19-yard line.

Currituck then handed the ball off to their big fullback Josh Aubuchon. The 6-foot-3, 245 pound senior broke tackles and barreled the rest of the way for the first Currituck offensive touchdown from the line of scrimmage.

Conversion kick again good and the score moved to 23-0 which would be the halftime total.

"Josh is a 'Hoss,' " said coach Bossi. " He plays defensive end, tight end, and fullback. We can use him in so many ways as he is such a versatile athlete. He also has a great attitude and is very coachable."

Currituck added two scores in the second half on short runs for the final margin.

Perquimans moved the ball late on consecutive runs of 25 and nine yards by Saiveon Skinner.

The junior wide receiver shows promise as the second quarterback with his speed and mobility.

Despite the outcome, Perquimans coach Randy Awrey was proud of his team.

"Our defense played really well, and our effort was there all night. We are really hurt by injuries. At one time we had only four offensive linemen. We had to use a linebacker on the line. We are improving and developing the younger players, and I am encouraged by our play tonight against a very good, well coached team."

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