It's Saturday morning and I'm still marveling over the game at Beddingfield on Friday night. The Bruins' 34-28 defeat of previously unbeaten Fike was chock full of great plays by both teams and they started right from the beginning.
On the second play from scrimmage, senior Marcus Ruffin of Beddingfield took a handoff and raced around the right end, dodging one would-be tackler and not stopping until he hit the end zone 77 yards later. Ruffin, who would throw a 79-yard touchdown pass later in the first quarter, had 81 of Beddingfield's 80 rushing yards in the first 12 minutes. That's right, the Bruins' only other ballcarrier netted a minus-1 in yardage in the first quarter.
Ruffin had 104 yards by halftime and so I was surprised to see him shelved for the Bruins' first possession of the second half. By then, Fike had overcome a 14-3 deficit with 22 straight points, including a six-play, 50-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter.
But even trailing 25-14 there was no reason for Beddingfield to panic as there was lots of time left and the Bruins are one team that needs but a few seconds to score from anywhere on the field. When they got the ball back in the third, they went to the air and junior quarterback Lance Price and his receivers seemed out of synch.
Beddingfield got one first down on Ruffin's 8-yard ramble on third-and-3 and another on a Fike roughing-the-passer penalty. But the drive sputtered at midfield as Price went 1 for 5. When Beddingfield got the ball back, they used Ruffin to set up two 31-yard pass plays, including tight end Tobias Brown's over-the-shoulder TD catch.
Here's a couple of other things from Friday night:
• After delivering a smack on Fike's Rashad Parker, Bruins senior defensive back Dahnique Eddie broken the ulna and radius bones in his forearm. When he finally got to his feet with a splint on his arm, Eddie's expression wasn't one of pain but rather annoyance that he had to come out of the game. There was no doubt "Q-Ball's" injury rallied his teammates and I can see why,
Eddie is one tough cookie.
• Speaking of Parker, his 64-yard ramble for a TD to end the first half was an instant WILSY. He was met at the line of scrimmage by two Bruins defenders, bounced off and darted left. Seemingly hemmed in along the sideline, Parker was able to find a seam behind the rest of the Fike players who had caught up to him and were throwing blocks 20 and 30 yards downfield. Parked picked his way back to the center of the field and sprinted to the end zone. Sixty-four yards on the scoresheet but I bet he ran more than 100 on the play.
Where do these teams go from here? Well, Fike goes from the proverbial frying pan to the fire as the Demons open 3-A NEW 6 Conference play Friday at SouthWest Edgecombe. But let's just say it now: The Demons are for real. Fike made a couple of mistakes Friday night and they were costly but for the most part, the Demons have avoided hurting themselves. That credit must go to head coach Richie Pridgen and his staff.
The NEW 6 has plenty of hurt to go around so a team that can limit its mistakes is going to do well. I believe Fike can beat any team in the NEW 6, even No. 2 state-ranked Rocky Mount, which barely edged the Demons last season.
For the Bruins, as I laid out above, if Beddingfield uses the run to set up the pass, it will be tough to beat in the 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference.
The loss of Eddie hurts but Beddingfield, at this point, must be considered the class of the ECC. However, a vastly improved Kinston squad lurks and we can never forget the Hunt Warriors, who can still win the conference after a 1-5 start.