Bucks shut out Pirates to earn first win

The Hoke County Bucks defense learned from their mistakes in the first game against Gray’s Creek and responded by shutting out Lumberton. (Hal Nunn/North State Journal)

The Hoke County Bucks got their first win of the season in game two against the Lumberton Pirates this past Friday. After losing their first non-conference home game against Gray’s Creek High School, the Bucks bounced back by shutting out the away team, 30-0. 

Despite both teams accumulating 21 flags throughout the entire game, the first half got off to a slow start.

The Bucks managed to get on the scoreboard first after a Warren Avery screen reception got the team inside the 25-yard line. Ethan Wallace immediately went 17 yards for the first touchdown of the game. The Bucks’ senior kicker, Ryan Ramirez, managed to secure the extra point.

Before the end of the first half, Hoke County succeeded in disrupting the Pirates’ offense and regaining possession when Jakobeion McCoy picked off a Lumberton pass. Once on offense, Ethan Wallace pulled off a 33-yard touchdown run. 

After stifling the Pirates’ offense once again, Ramirez nailed a 42-yard field goal with less than a minute left in the first half. The Bucks left the field for halftime with a 17-0 lead.

Lumberton won the toss at the beginning of the game, giving them a much-needed possession at the start of the second half. After a couple of long runs, the Pirates bobbled the ball, and Bucks’ defensive lineman Jalon Steward jumped on top of it. Hoke moved the ball down to the Pirates’ 14-yard line when Q’monte Allen punched it in.

Both teams traded drives for the next couple of possessions when Hokes’ Zion Smith sacked the Pirates quarterback and recovered the ball. A few plays later, Ethan Wallace scored from 12-yards out, leaving Ramirez to secure the extra point. The game ended with a score of 30-0.  

On offense, Ethan Wallace was the leading scorer of the game, bringing in three touchdowns and gaining 96 yards off 11 carries. In two games, Wallace has put up seven touchdowns and 286 yards. Hoke’s quarterback Brandon Saunders was 7 for 12 with passing, completely avoiding any interception and passing for 110 yards. Ryan Ramirez hit three extra points on the night on top of nailing an impressive 42-yard field goal. Q’monte Allen also managed to get his name on the scoresheet, scoring the final touchdown of the night.

On the defensive end, Jakobeion McCoy led the way with six solo tackles, six assists, and one interception. 

“We definitely saw some improvement on defense, but we still need to be consistent in a lot of areas overall,” said Head Coach George Small after the game. “We’re learning while winning. You know, that’s what I like to see is that we were learning while winning. Every coach likes that.” 

The Bucks will head to Hope Mills this upcoming Friday night to take on the South View Tigers. South View is 0-1 after losing their first game to Overhills 36-22. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.