JH Rose senior Brice Bizzell helped lead the Rampants to a Senior Night win over New Bern Friday. (252Buzz photo by Bill Hudson)
By Mike Grizzard
Traditionally, the combination of Senior Night and New Bern rarely results in a pleasant post-game gathering for J.H. Rose.
Grant Charles Jarman, Ben Harris and Brice Bizzell did their part to reverse that trend.
Jarman threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns, Harris caught eight passes and scored a pair of touchdowns, and Bizzell sprinted 51 and 40 yards for scores to lead the Rampants to a 49-14 rout of their Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference rivals on a breezy but rain-free Friday night at Percy Daniels Field.
New Bern (2-8, 1-4 ECC), which lost its fifth straight by at least 33 points, came into Friday’s game with eight wins in the last nine meetings with Rose and had not dropped a game in Greenville since 2008. The Rampants (7-3, 4-2) extended their win streak to four with a rescheduled non-conference game against Franklinton remaining before the playoffs.
“It’s been a long four years for the seniors,” said Harris, who had four catches on Rose’s first possession and all eight of his receptions in the first half. “The coaches told us coming into this week that we haven’t beaten New Bern on Senior Night, so we put in (three) hard days of practice and came out prepared for this game. Our goal was to put enough points on the board where we could have some of the twos come in and get some reps in. We did that, and it was fun.”
Several of Rose’s 27 seniors pitched in to contribute to the dominance of New Bern, and a few seldom-used backups got an opportunity to shine. Ethan Boyer caught a pair of passes, including a 58-yarder from Jarman for his first touchdown of the year. Backup quarterback Bryson Brown ran for 24 yards on four carries despite playing with his right wrist in a cast. Receiver Chandler Richards came in late and caught a 21-yard pass from sophomore Wade Jarman, who also scored on a 15-yard scamper on his first play from scrimmage.
But Grant Charles Jarman and Harris set the tone early and gave the Bears’ defense more than it could handle. Jarman completed 19 of his 23 passes in torching New Bern for the second straight year -- he threw for a career-high 421 yards and five touchdowns in last year’s 53-49 loss.
“I don’t know why,” Jarman said of his success against New Bern. “It’s just something about the last game of the season I guess. It’s weird.”
Jarman’s 10-yard pass to Harris capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive on the opening series. He then directed a 13-play scoring drive, hooking up with Harris twice before a 1-yard scoring toss to senior Zane Noles on fourth down from the 1.
Jarman added an 18-yard touchdown to Harris late in the half for a 28-8 lead then teamed up with Boyer for a 58-yard score and a 35-8 lead in the third period.
“I knew that they play soft man coverage, and we saw that when we went out there on the field,” Jarman said. “I knew that backside play was going to be open all night. Even when they did press it, it opened up plays for other players.”
Harris finished with 97 yards receiving. His eight receptions give him 18 in the last two games.
“It’s time for our receivers to make plays, and Ben made some plays early,” Rose head coach Dave Wojtecki said. “It helped get a lot of confidence with GC and Ben. That was big for us to get those guys on the page tonight.”
Bizzell, who piled up 121 yards on just six carries, punctuated his Senior Night with a 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter -- three plays after an interception by Tyrick Barnhill -- and a 51-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
“I really loved this night tonight,” Bizzell said. “I had two big touchdown runs. It was amazing, honestly. All the seniors, we just pulled together. It was amazing.”
The sophomore duo of quarterback Kahmaad Scriven and running back Dimtrell Tucker carried the offensive load for the Bears, but two interceptions and three drives ending on downs inside the 20 thwarted any hope of spoiling Senior Night. The hard-running Tucker finished with 141 yards on 26 carries, scoring on runs of 18 and 13 yards. Scriven also eclipsed 100 yards with 114 on 20 carries.
For Wojtecki, it was his second win in six tries against New Bern but first at home.
“It was an emotional week with Senior Week and all that,” he said. “They did a good job of controlling themselves and playing as hard as they could.
“We’ve never beat them on Senior Night here … It’s always good to beat a program like New Bern. New Bern has been a great football program. It’s always good to beat teams like that.”
And that meant many smiles and posing for photos well after the game was over.
“It’s pretty special coming out with a win and having Coach Wo’s first Senior Night win against New Bern is pretty big,” Jarman said. “Everyone is pretty excited.
“Our coach has talked about playing a full four quarters this year, and going into this game we never really did. He said to make sure we kept high intensity all game, and that’s what we did, and he praised us for that. I was pretty excited about that.”
Mike Grizzard of Winterville has more than 30 years of experience as a writer for both print and digital publications in the areas of sports, business, news, faith and personal profiles. Contact Mike at 252-916-4206.