Cooper runs for two touchdowns, throws for another in 22-6 victory

And then there was one.

In a battle of unbeatens, the Havelock Rams came out on top, downing West Craven 22-6 in a Coastal 3A Conference game Friday in Vanceboro.

“We got a win against a really good football team tonight,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said after the game. “I told the boys that nothing worth having comes easy. There’s nothing better than beating West Craven at West Craven.”

While star running back Tony Sharpe was held down by West Craven’s defense and an ankle injury, junior quarterback Corey Cooper and his stable of receivers put the onus on their shoulders.

Cooper threw for 204 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Cooper’s favorite target was 6-foot-2 junior Quinzel Lockhart, who hauled in four passes for 113 yards and a score.

Havelock’s other two scores came off two Cooper 1-yard runs, one of which was after the Eagles botched a snap on a punt try that set Havelock up at the 5-yard line.

The defenses ruled most of the game. West Craven was forced to punt six times, while Havelock kicked it away on three occasions.

Havelock senior defensive end Makai Collins had two sacks of West Craven quarterback Jarred Arthur to lead the way for the Ram defense, which held West Craven to 165 yards of total offense.

“It was a hard-fought game up there in the trenches tonight,” Collins said. “They are really good on the offensive line and disciplined, but we just kept bringing it to them.”

Arthur was filling in for Eagles’ star quarterback Darious Abrams who did not play due to a coaches’ decision. Arthur threw for 149 yards but couldn’t match the Rams.

The lone Eagle touchdown came in the waning seconds of the second quarter when Arthur hit senior running back Danny Harvey for a 4-yard screen pass and a score. That came after Harvey reeled off a 38-yard gain on a screen.

The Rams made adjustments in the second half to stop the screen game, Eagles coach matt Riggsbee said.

“They made some great halftime adjustments and we wanted to make them beat us by throwing the ball,” he said. “We have to make some better decisions as a team and cut out mistakes.”

Collins said that he and his defensive teammates modified coverages in the second half to better defend the Eagles’ short passing game.

“Me and Tyiyon (Johnson) started dropping back in the second half to defend against that play,” Collins said. “Just doing more drop coverages to stop the thing they were hurting us the most with.”

The victory puts Havelock in the driver’s seat for a Coastal 3A Conference championship, improving to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the league. West Craven falls to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

The victory also extended Havelock’s conference winning streak to 30 and its road winning streak to 35.

The Rams are off this week before returning to action against for homecoming against Richlands at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Havelock High.

Boxscore:

Havelock 0 14 8 0 – 22

West Craven 0 6 0 0 – 6

Second Quarter

H – Quinzel Lockhart 57 pass from Corey Cooper (kick failed)

H – Cooper 1 run (Cooper 2-point conversion)

WC – Danny Harvey 4 pass from Jarred Arthur (kick failed)

Third Quarter

H – Cooper 1 run (Cooper 2-point conversion)

Team Statistics:

HHS WCHS

Total Offense 344 165

First Downs 9 10

Rushes-Yards 38-140 25-16

Passing Yards 204 149

Comp-Att-Int 8-15-1 15-26-1

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-Yards 5-50 3-20

Punts-Avg. 3-37.0 6-34.8

Individual Statistics:

Passing: West Craven – Jarred Arthur 15-26 for 149 yards (TD, INT). Havelock – Corey Cooper 8-15 for 204 yards (TD, INT).

Rushing: West Craven – Danny Harvey 8-17, Jaquel Whitehead 3-14, Arthur 13-2, Justin Taylor 1-(-17). Havelock – Cooper 15-74 (2 TD), Solomon Beligotti 8-26, Tony Sharpe 10-20, Montrece Gatling 1-9, Trey Owens 2-8, Kenyatta Frazier 2-3.

Receiving: West Craven – Jaylen Franks 4-45, Harvey 4-42 (TD), Peejay Thompson 3-38, Malik Abrams 3-28, Kavon Carmen 1-2, Whitehead 1-(-6). Havelock – Quinzel Lockhart 4-113 (TD), Taquan Green 2-65, Owens 1-28, Frazier 1-(-2).

Jordan Honeycutt is a reporter for the Sun Journal.