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Stanley, Edenton Aces pull away from Bertie Falcons football - w/Video

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Edenton-John A. Holmes' Mitjonta Stanley (with ball) ran for five touchdowns against Bertie, Friday, September 7, 2018 at John A. Holmes High School.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Sunday, September 9, 2018

EDENTON — In a football matchup featuring former conference rivals, John A. Holmes and Bertie provided plenty of offensive fireworks.

In the end, Edenton’s Mitjonta Stanley continued his standout 2018 season as the junior running back tallied five rushing touchdowns as the Aces defeated Bertie 50-24 Friday night at the Edenton-Chowan Athletic Complex.

Stanley rushed for 324 yards in the game.

For the first time this season, Edenton was in a close contest in the second half.

Bertie (1-2) trailed 30-18 at halftime, but the Falcons began the third quarter with a 65-yard drive that was capped on a Chris Cooper 27-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 30-24.

After a short kickoff, Stanley took the handoff and burst through the Bertie defense for a 51-yard touchdown to give the Aces a 36-24 lead.

On a night in which the Aces gave up their share of big plays on defense, Edenton got a stop on the ensuing drive to force a punt.

Edenton (4-0) was helped on the drive on by penalties by the Falcons.

The Aces closed out the game with a 20-yard touchdown run by Teddy Wilson late in the third to go with a Stanley touchdown run in the fourth.

In between the scores, Edenton reeled in an interception by Zakeem Brooks in the end zone on fourth down with Bertie at Edenton’s 20-yard line and recovered a fumble later in the fourth quarter.

Edenton coach Paul Hoggard noted that the Aces played really good defense in the second half.

“I thought that we played hard,” Hoggard said. “I don’t think we played real smart at times. That’s the things that hurt us. Penalties hurt us in the game, but I thought that we had a pretty good night offensively.”

That good night for the Aces got going early in the first quarter as it took Edenton three plays to get on the scoreboard as Stanley scored from 13-yards out to give the Aces a 6-0 lead.

At times, Edenton struggled to contain Bertie quarterback Isaiah Williams. The junior found ways to turn a broken play into a positive play.

The first one was a 57-yard run. That set up Cooper’s 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 6-6.

The Aces responded with the pass as quarterback Kentreaz Coston connected with a wide-open Keenan Downing for a 42-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead.

Coston broke a run for a score, but it was negated due to an Edenton penalty. The drive ended on a turnover on downs.

Coston later connected on a 33-yard pass to Zion Boston. That set up a Stanley 4-yard touchdown run to give the Aces a 22-6 lead in the second.

Coston finished with 99 passing yards.

Bertie countered with a Cooper 13-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 22-12.

Cooper finished with 89 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Edenton wasted little time to respond as Stanley scored his third touchdown of the first half on a 25-yard run to give Edenton a 30-12 lead.

With less than two minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the half, the Falcons mounted a drive.

Combined with pass plays by Williams to Jamari White and Deontre Bryant, the Falcons got the ball inside the Edenton 20-yard line.

Williams connected with White on a 15-yard screen pass for a touchdown to trim the deficit to 30-18 heading into halftime.

“We played them hard,” Bertie coach Grantley Mizelle said. “We left some points out there with the penalties.”

Both Hoggard and Mizelle noted that both sides had to adjust during the game.

“I’m real proud of my guys,” Mizelle said. “We are really young defensively. We have a freshman and two sophomores on the D-line and they hung in there.”

Mizelle noted that the Falcons have to clean up the penalties, the tackling and other issues moving forward.

All of those things the Bertie coach said are fixable for a Falcons team that tallied 394 yards of total offense.

“The kids never quit,” Mizelle said. “I am real proud of their effort.”

Williams, Cooper and White played a role in the scoring for the Falcons.

“It’s no secret, Cooper Williams and White are pretty good,” Mizelle said.

He added that he thought that fullback Oscar Jones ran hard when he got touches.

Williams finished with 122 rushing yards and 91 passing yards in the game.

“He’s only a junior,” Mizelle said. “This is his second year starting. He’s getting better.”

The Aces posted 452 yards of total offense in the win.

Hoggard noted that the offense is making strides week-to-week.

“Our kids are starting to really understand what we want to do,” he said. “We were so young up front. They are really starting to understand it. [Bertie] came out in a different defense than what we had anticipated. They really caught on real quick.”

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