Blue Devils’ win streak in series reaches 31;
Maiden head coach gains career win No. 50
By CHRIS HOBBS
MAIDEN 62, BUNKER HILL 13
Maiden 20 28 14 0—62
Bunker Hill 0 13 0 0—13
M—Alec Hall 14 pass from Ethan Rhodes (Carson Foard kick), 5:26
M—Ben Gibbs 16 run (Foard kick), 1:48
M—Aaron Lefevers 29 interception return (pass failed), 50.3
BH—Elijah Boston 78 pass from Carson Elder (kick blocked), 11:46
M—Chris Culliver 52 pass from Rhodes (Foard kick), 10:56
M—Gibbs 3 run (Foard kick), 5:08
M—Culliver 66 pass from Rhodes (Foard kick), 2:52
BH—Boston 95 kickoff return (Alan Behena Soto kick), 2:24
M—Rhodes 3 run (Foard kick), 0:00
M—Gibbs 3 run (Foard kick), 10:23
M—Foard 20 pass from Rhodes, 1:42
Maiden Bunker Hill
First downs 20 3
Rushes-yards 32-133 16-(-4)
Passing 14-20-1 6-14-21
Passing yards 305 101
Total offense 438 97
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 3-15 3-15
M: Gibbs 16-105, Culliver 1-minus 3, Rhodes 5-3, Isaiah Thomas 5-15, Jalen Robinson 3-22, Josh Stover 1-minus 4, Team 1-minus 5. BH: Redick Robinsoin 1-minus 3, Chadz Stevenson 6-23, Elder 3-minus 26, Kaden Robinson 4-4, Nick Herman 2-minus 2.
M: Rhodes 14-20-1 305. BH: Elder 6-13-2 101, R. Robinson 0-1-0 0.
M: Culliver 3-138, Hall 2-30, Jacob Sigmon 3-47, Gibbs 1-22, Chayson Bass 2-29, Thomas 1-16, Foard 2-23. BH: Boston 1-78, Devin Brice 2-1, Xavier McCleave 2-19, Brady Speaks 1-3.
Maiden is 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic and alone in first place while Bunker Hill is 7-1, 4-1… Bunker Hill’s last 7-0 start was in 1968 and that team finished 7-2-1… Maiden has now won 31 straight in the series, including 17 in a row at Bunker Hill…Since 1980, Maiden has scored more points than it did Friday against Bunker Hill only once (70-46 in 2011 at Bunker Hill)… Blue Devils scored 60 against Bears in 2016, winning 60-7 at Maiden for biggest win margin… Maiden, at Lincolnton and at home against Newton-Conover needs a win or a Bunker Hill loss to gain a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic title owns the tiebreaker the league’s No. 1 playoff bid over the Bears, who have two road games left (at Newton-Conover, at Bandys)…. Boston has four return scores for Bunker Hill this season – two interceptions and two kickoffs (both 95 yards) … Rhodes had 26 TD passes this season, 14 of them in the last four games, and has unofficially thrown for 1,5781 yards… Culliver has 13 TD catches this season and 16 TDs; the average yardage of his scoring plays – 38.68 yards…Maiden is vying for a regular-season crown for the 24th time since 1959 (17 outrights, six shares)… Bunker Hill’s last crown was a share with Maiden in 1980… Maiden head coach Will Byrne, in his sixth season, collected his 50th career win (50-14) and only East Burke’s Derrick Minor (54, eight years) has more among CVAC 2A head coaches
— Maiden outgained Bunker Hill 438-97, which includes holding the Bears to minus-4 yards rushing on 16 carries. The Bears entered their final two possessions with minus 10 yards rushing. got into positive yardage with a 13-yard gain, then lost two yards and threw an interception. They lost 2 and 3 yards on their final two rushing attempts.
— Maiden scored first after losing a fumble on the first play after intercepting a pass by Rhodes at the Maiden 13 and returning it to midfield.
— A 29-yard interception return TD by Aaron Lefevers with 50.3 seconds left in the first quarter helped the Blue Devils go up 20-0 after one quarter.
— Two plays into the second quarter, Elder hit a streaking Boston for a 78-yard score but Maiden scored again. Eighteen seconds after the TD pass, Rhodes found Culliver along the left sideline for an in-stride 52-yard scoring pass.
— On a drive that started at the Bunker Hill 36, Maiden scored in four players. The third one was a 26-yard run by Gibbs and he scored on a 3-yard run on the next play.
— After a three-and-out by the Bears, Maiden extended the lead when Rhodes again found Culliver – on virtually the same play as the previous long yardage score. The 66-yarder helped Maiden led 47-6.
— Boston wen 95 yards with the kickoff after the Rhodes-to-Culliver for a TD.
— Bunker Hill lost a fumble on a kickoff at its 16 with 11:50 to play and Maiden scored on a 3-yard run by Gibbs.
— Foard, who kicked seven PATs, closed with scoring for Maiden with a 20-yard TD reception from Rhodes with 1:42 to play.
— The game was played with a running clock once the Blue Devils got a 42-point lead with 10:23 left in the third quarter.
Maiden’s Will Byrne: “Our defense was unbelieveable. I just can’t say enough about the defense, played hard and played physical.
“I don’t think they get enough credit. People talk about our offense … and I think our defense is the best part of the team.
He said he told his players they needed to get after the Bears from the get-go.
“We had to be physical and be ready to battle. This was their (Bunker Hill’s) year they thought; they’ve got a bunch of seniors.”
He said the Blue Devils really didn’t gain much from having a 30-year win streak in the series.
“Oh crap, they’re puttin’ it in the paper,” Byrne said of reading it. “Oh, crap.”
Even ahead 20-0 early, Byrne said he was hoping the defense, which held the Bears to 16 rushes for minus-4 yards, would continue to play well.
“We were a little sluggish early offensively and that was my fault,” Byrne said.
He said the challenge of keeping Rhodes and Culliver from connecting was paramount.
“He (Culliver) is hard to cover.”
Bunker Hill’s Albert Reid: “You can’t give up big plays, it kills momentum. They live by the big play and we knew that coming in.
“They have improved a lot defensively. They took away things we thought we could do. They are physical.
“Usually in a game like this, it gives you a gauge of where you are.”
Reid has hoped for a tighter game as the Bears got a feel for the Blue Devils.
“It’s tough. Our goal was to hang around… and not give up the big plays… they did what they do.”
Reid seemed most disappointed by the Bears’ inability to establish much of a running game and that they had just two first downs.
“You can’t win with those kind of numbers (minus 4 yards rushing, two first downs). With numbers like that, there is usually an ‘L’ on your side of the ball.”
The Bears still have a solid chance of finishing in second place.
“We have great kids,” Reid said. “They understand the importance of a game like this. This is a tight knit group and this game is not gonna break us.”