Hoke County blows out Douglas Byrd to move to 2-1 

Running back Q’monte Allen (5) takes the handoff from quarterback Brandon Saunders. Allen scored a 23 yard touchdown in Hoke County’s 47-6 win over Douglas Byrd. (Jason Jackson, North State Journal)

Hoke County has started the season 2-1 for the third straight season after recording a 47-6 blowout of Douglas Byrd on Friday.  

The win was the Bucks’ biggest since Aug. 27, 2021, when Hoke won at Lumberton 44-0. It’s their most lopsided home win since beating Purnell Swett on Nov. 1, 2019.  

Quarterback Brandon Saunders had a huge day, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for another. He found Joey Castaneda for scoring passes, sandwiched around his own two-yard rushing touchdown to give Hoke County a 20-0 lead at the half.  

The Bucks continued to pour it on after halftime. Saunders found X’Zavier Stephens-McIntosh for a 24-yard touchdown. Following a Q’monte Allen 23-yard touchdown run, Saunders hit Tre’jan Williams for a five yard touchdown. After a Jamarie Brown interception set Hoke County up deep in Douglas Byrd territory, Saunders capped the scoring with a touchdown pass to Seriyon Wilson.  

Hoke County will complete its non-conference schedule this Friday at 7:30, when the Bucks head to Fayetteville to face Seventy-First. The Falcons have started the season 2-0, with a 41-13 win at Rockingham’s Richmond and a 41-7 win at Pine Forest. This will be the home opener for Seventy-First, who went 14-1, losing in the 3A state semifinals. The Falcons have a powerful rushing attack led by sophomore Jayson Franklin, junior Donovan Frederick and junior quarterback Deandre Nance, who are all averaging over 100 yards rushing per game so far this season  and have combined for nine rushing touchdowns.  

Hoke lost at home to Seventy-First last season, 35-15 and 36-0 in 2021. The Bucks’ last win over the Falcons was 14-8 in Fayetteville in March, 2021 in the COVID delayed 2020-21 season.