No. 5 New Bern shuts out No. 8 Hillside in 4-A brawl
In a long-awaited clash of state 4-A heavyweights, No. 5-ranked New Bern’s defense dominated No. 8 Hillside 12-0 before a capacity crowd at Russell E. Blunt Stadium.
The rankings are by CarolinaPreps.com.
The win gives the Bears a 3-2 lead in the series and bragging rights until next season.
“Mistakes. That’s all I can say. Mistakes,” Hillside coach Antonio King said after the turnover-plagued game.
Hillside coughed the ball up six times (four interceptions and two fumbles). New Bern’s defense held the Hornets to just 50 rushing yards on 28 carries and 73 passing yards.
New Bern defensive back Rahseed McCoy played like a Hillside wide receiver and recorded three of the four interceptions — two in the end zone.
“We knew we had a lot of returning players on defense, and we expected them to be good this year,” New Bern coach Bobby Curlings said. “He’s (McCoy) had a great summer and we expect big things from him, but we didn’t expect this tonight.”
The Bears had their share of miscues — three fumbles and an interception — but senior quarterback Mike Hughes was the difference maker. Hughes scored both of New Bern’s touchdowns — a 19-yard pass and a 10-yard run — and rushed for 144 yards on 18 carries.
On its second drive of the night, Hillside drove from its own 9 to New Bern’s 15. The drive was kept alive by three Bears’ penalties, including two on third down. But McCoy intercepted all-PAC-6 4-A quarterback Nas Forté-Ferguson in the end zone to end the threat.
After a scoreless first quarter, New Bern broke the drought with a three-play 34-yard drive after a short Hillside punt.
Hughes hit Shyfaz Taylor for 18 yards before running back Craig Stokes rushed for seven to put the Bears at Hillside’s 19. Hughes then found Tyreke McCarter for the score with 5:50 left in the first half. A missed point-after left the score at 6-0.
Hillside defensive back Jalon Bethea intercepted Hughes on the Bears’ next drive to put the Hornets in good field position at the 26. But again, New Bern’s defense held. The Bears took the 6-0 lead into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, the Bears took advantage of a partially blocked punt that put them at the Hillside 29. They needed just four plays — the last a 10-yard scamper by Hughes, who appeared to have been stopped by a pile of linemen, but slithered to the right and into the end zone for the final score.
“We can’t squander opportunities against a good football team and expect to win,” King said.
McCoy got his second interception on Hillside’s next drive with 7:50 left in the third. But the Bears gave the ball right back with a fumble.
The Hornets couldn’t capitalize, however, with a sack on third down to stop one drive, and McCoy’s third pick of the night to end another.
A change in quarterbacks didn’t help much, either. Hillside sophomore Chauncey Caldwell was intercepted by McCarter with 5:47 left to put the game out of reach.
“I’m most disappointed in myself because I coach the quarterbacks, and they didn’t perform worth nothing,” Hill said. “But it’s one game, and we have to now get ready for (reigning state 3-AA champion) Southern next week.”
Friday’s game will be played at N.C. Central’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
It was sweet revenge for the Bears who lost to Hillside at home last season.
“This has turned into a good rivalry because we make each other better,” Curlings said. “The kids don’t dislike each other and it’s a fun game. But the win makes that three-hour ride back a whole lot nicer.”
NEW BERN 12, HILLSIDE 0
New Bern 0 6 6 0 — 12
Hllside 0 0 0 0 — 0
NB — T. McCarter 19 pass from M. Hughes (kick failed), 5:50
NB — M. Hughes 10 yard run (2-point try failed), 8:33
RUSHING — New Bern, Mike Hughes 18-144. Hillside, Jamal Currie-Elliot 6-44, Ricquaz Brannon 15-16, Chauncey Caldwell 2-5, Marcus Krah 2-11.
PASSING — New Bern, Mike Hughes 6-19-78-1. Hillside, Nas Forté-Ferguson 6-20-73-3, Chauncey Caldwell 0-1-0-1.
RECEIVING — New Bern, Tyreke McCarter 3-41, Craig Stokes 1-3, CJ Howard 1-16, Marcus Henderson 1-19. Hillside, DaeShawn Stephens 2-32, Ricquaz Brannon 1-9, Ray Green Jr. 1-8.
Records — New Bern 1-0; Hillside 0-1.