MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The Cherry Point Eagles made two goal-line stands against their rival air station, New River, sealing a 14-11 victory over the Blue Knights in the “Battle of the Air Stations” at the Varsity Football Field at Cherry Point Oct. 11.
The game was a rematch of last year’s championship game, which Cherry Point won after making a huge fourth quarter comeback.
“This game is between the last two champions this league has had,” said Bryant K. Searcy, the athletic director for Cherry Point. “Cherry Point is the reigning champ, and New River won it the year before.”
Strong defense from both sides sent the teams into halftime scoreless, with the first score not coming until the mid-third quarter when a Cherry Point running back scampered 15 yards across the goal line for an easy touchdown.
“There is so much learned from games like this,” said Lederrick G. Hunter, head coach of the Cherry Point Eagles. “There is so much history between these two teams. We know how to play them and them us. This game truly showed that we are battle tested.”
Cherry Point later scored their final points of the night with a pass to the tight end, followed by a successful two-point conversion.
“We started slipping a bit toward the end but our defense really showed its resilience,” said Hunter. “We are going to go back to the drawing board and figure out ways to correct what needs to be corrected.”
The key factors to the Eagles victory included a combination of both strong defensive stands and great running from Cherry Point’s running back Timothy H. Johnson.
“I never let the rivalry get to me while playing this team,” said Johnson. “This is just another game and another team acting as a speed bump on our team’s way to perfection and a repeat championship. Today’s game has showed us where we need to tweak our game play.”
Cherry Point, now 5-0 , looks to continue their quest for perfection with two more regular season games remaining, while New River will try to regroup. After the game, the two teams of Marines shook hands and huddled together as one in the middle of the field.
“We represent an air station; they represent an air station,” said Johnson. “Today it was the best of New River against the best from Cherry Point. Today we were the better team, but this is football, any team can win any day. You just have to go out there and act and play as professionals.”