RAEFORD — The Hoke County Bucks lost a non-conference matchup to the Seventy-First Falcons Friday night at Raz Autry Stadium in Raeford. The Falcons (3-0) led the entire game and held on for a 35-15 win over the Bucks (2-2).
The game was billed as “Military Appreciation Night” to recognize the many active-duty and military veterans in the community. Hoke recognized approximately 14 military members.
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead with a strong rushing attack featuring the duo of Jayden Shotwell and Anthony Quinn. Seventy-First led 14-3 at halftime with Hoke placekicker Rayan Ramirez accounting for the only points on the board for the Bucks with a 23-yard field goal.
The Bucks inched closer in the third quarter with an Ethan Wallace touchdown on a throw from QB Brandon Saunders. Hoke failed on the two-point try after the touchdown leaving the score 14-9 going into the fourth quarter.
The Falcons responded in the fourth quarter as tailback Jayden Shotwell rushed for a 60-yard score pushing the Seventy-First lead to 21-9. After a turnover on downs by the Bucks, Anthony Quinn scored from 14 yards out giving the Falcons a 28-9 lead with five minutes on the game clock. The Bucks offense answered with a drive that ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Saunders to X’zavier Stephens-McIntosh. After a missed two-point try, the Bucks trailed 28-15 with 3:20 to play.
The Falcons iced the game with another long drive and a Anthony Quinn 19-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 35-15 which was the final score.
Saunders ended the game with 185 yards of passing completing 16 of 29 attempts. Senior receiver Warren Avery hauled in 8 passes for 72 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Te’john Darden paced the Bucks with 10 total tackles, 7 solo and 3 assist.
“They got a great running game and we have got to cut back on the mistakes on defense,” said Bucks head coach George Small.
The Bucks are 2-2 overall and will be headed into conference play this week with a trip to Scotland County. The Scots are also 2-2 overall and have beat Jack Britt 28-27 and Northern Durham 50-0. Their two losses came at the hands of Wilmington Hoggard 8-18 and Marlboro County 24-27 in overtime.
“I call this the regular season and some call it conference play but Scotland is Scotland and they got a great offensive line and good running game, that’s why we need to fix some things on defense,” said Small.
The game is set for 7:30 pm this Friday night in Scotland County