MURRELLS INLET — According to Carvers Bay running back Devin Cuttino, the Bears are back.
Cuttino and company proved that on Friday night in a 21-13 win over St. James.
The Bears scored on both sides of the ball and the defense held the Sharks to just 223 yards of total offense.
“St. James came to play,” Carvers Bay coach Nate Thompson said. “They gave us everything. We had to fight tooth and nail to get this win tonight. It wasn’t easy’ they have a good football program and coaches. When we walked in here tonight, we walked into a Sharks den.”
Thompson’s team might have been swimming with the Sharks, but they faced adversity with some ease.
Down 13-6, the Bears defense came up the biggest in the third quarter. St. James was driving to go up by 14 but fumbled the ball on the Carvers Bay 8 and the Bears jumped on it. They were forced to punt out of their own end zone but two plays later defensive tackle Naquez Pringle turned the game around.
“He’s been making big plays and that is typical,” Thompson said of his defensive lineman. “He’s faster than people think he is and he showed it.”
St. James’ Austin Adams started to run and Pringle ripped the ball from his hands and started running. Pringle returned the ball 45 yards to score a touchdown and Da’Shaun Aiken ran the 2-point conversion to give the Bears a 14-13 with 1:26 left in the third quarter.
“I wasn’t worried about nothing at the time,” Pringle said about the play. “I just had to step up. They calling me ‘D1’ [Division 1], so I just have to play like one. I said to myself, ‘I got the ball go, go, go’. I saw the first block, then threw a stiff arm and took it into the house for my team.”
Cuttino scored the other two touchdowns on the night for Carvers Bay. He got the Bears on the scoreboard in the first quarter with a 61 yard scamper over the right side of the line to tie the game. It was the first play from scrimmage for Carvers Bay. It was a big play at the time because the Sharks just scored on a Josh Roper 14-yard touchdown pass to Tre McCullen.
“Of course, we were the underdog,” Cuttino, who finished 131 yards on 13 carries, said. “We came in and made a statement. My line blocked and I saw the hole open up, then I just showed them the track speed.”
Cuttino’s other score was in the fourth quarter. He went 59 yards untouched to put the Bears up by eight with 6:05 left in the game. From there, the defense did their part and with seven seconds left in the game Desmond Sumpter picked off Roper in the end zone to close the door.
“It was tough,” Thompson said of the win and his team playing higher teams. “Our kids learned to fight through adversity. It is a good thing to carry into our conference play.
“We come to play. We don’t play with a chip on our shoulder because we‘ve played big schools before. This is a good marker for us because teams like this can show you your weaknesses and you can work on that.”
SJ-Tre McCullen 14 pass from Josh Roper (kick failed), 6:57
CB-Devin Cuttino 61 run (kick failed), 6:05
SJ-Allen Crum 12 run (Charles Ouverson kick), 1:29
CB-Naquez Pringle 45 fumble return (Da’Shaun Aiken run), 1:26
CB-Cuttino 59 run (Aiken kick), 6:05
RUSHING—Carvers Bay: Aiken 8-(-19); Cuttino 13-131; Israel Davis 6-(-2); Chris Carter 3-7. St. James: Roper 11-13; Austin Adams 15-50; Tyus Goodman 3-8; Crum 11-63.
PASSING—Carvers Bay: Aiken 2-10-0, 0, 17. St. James: Roper 9-17-2, 1, 79.
RECEIVING—Carvers Bay: Shayton Durand 1-12; Davis 1-5. St. James: McCullen 3-41; Crum 2-5; Steven Deible 1-8; Adams 1-8; Jacob Loud 1-12; Goodman 1-5.
Contact NATE COBLER at 626-0302.