Blue Devils edged by Nor­com

Walker rushes for 166 yards, 2 TDs

The Progress-Index Weekend - - SPORTS DESK - By Wes­ley Bolyard Cor­re­spon­dent

HOPEWELL - The Blue Devils opened the 2017 sea­son with a tough nar­row loss to I.C. Nor­com, 18-14.

De­spite the loss, Ronnie Walker opened the sea­son on a fiery ef­fort with 166 rush­ing yards, 16 car­ries, and 2 touch­downs.

Greg Cuf­fey had 10 pass­ing yards, 24 car­ries, and was 4-11 in pass­ing, with one in­ter­cep­tion. Cuf­fey also had 24 car­ries for ten yards, for a to­tal of 40 rushes and 176 rush­ing yards for the

Blue Devils.

As soon as the game started, the Blue Devils were al­ready on a roll. Se­nior Ronnie Walker grabbed the ball af­ter the kickoff and burst down the field, im­me­di­ately giv­ing the Blue Devils a lead.

The IC Nor­com Grey­hounds coun­tered swiftly af­ter­wards, rac­ing down the field and get­ting a touch­down them­selves. A right-veer­ing kick, how­ever, left the Blue Devils up 7-6.

Nor­com scored again just around the nine-minute mark, 7-12.

The Grey­hounds lost their mo­men­tum, both team coun­ter­ing each other equally through­out the first quar­ter. It wasn’t un­til a lit­tle past the sixminute mark in the sec­ond quar­ter that Nor­com was able to score an­other touch­down.

A failed two-point con­ver­sion put the score at 7-18 with Nor­com creat­ing a larger gap.

Hopewell was al­most able to fully block a kick meant to soar down the field, but Nor­com was still able to push them­selves about 25 yards closer to the goal posts with only a minute left to go.

Just as the timer was about to wind all the way down, light­ning-fast Ronnie Walker shot down the field un­ob­structed, mak­ing the gap closer.

A suc­cess­ful kick put Hopewell in a bet­ter po­si­tion as they ended the quar­ter at 14-18.

The sec­ond half was de­fined by lit­tle more than both teams push­ing each other back and forth,

with Hopewell mak­ing al­most no head­way on the Grey­hounds. Blue Devil De­an­dre Thomas was able to de­fend his goal line by break­ing off a pass that would have oth­er­wise ended in a fourth Nor­com touch­down. Cuf­fey, in the fourth quar­ter, was able to make small gains down the field. At the 5:30 mark, the teams were in the mid­dle of the field, but Nor­com pushed back Hopewell’s ef­forts.

Hopewell was able to make a big pass down the field. But with only a minute-six­teen left, the Grey­hounds in­ter­cepted the pass, took con­trol of the endgame time, and won the game 14-18.

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