HAMPTON, Va. – Dereon Carr’s interception on the final play of the game enabled the Hampton Pirates to take the Battle of the Real HU with a 20-17 win over Howard on Saturday afternoon. With the win Hampton snapped a three-game losing skid and finished the season with a 6-5 record overall and a 5-3 mark in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action.
Hampton scored on its first possession after forcing a Howard punt and taking over on its own 31. Yahkee Johnson set the tone early with a 26-yard run on the second play to move the ball to the Howard 38. A 25-yard pass from Delmon Williams to Devin Thurmond helped push the Pirates down to the Howard 2-yardline, before Johnson finished it with his first touchdown run and a 7-0 Hampton lead with 11:03 left in the first quarter.
Both teams settled down defensively as no one got a serious threat going until early in the second quarter a Howard went 71-yards in eight plays. Two big completions from Caylin Newton to Jequez Ezzard helped get the Bison down to the Hampton six before being stopped and forced into a 26-yard field goal from Dakota Lebofsky to trim the margin to 7-3 with 10:01 left in the half.
Howard took its first lead of the day on its first play of the second half as Anthony Philaw ran 43-yards right up the middle for a 10-7 Howard lead with 12:33 left in the third. Hampton responded with an impressive 83-yard, 10-play scoring drive as Williams scampered the final seven yards to put Hampton back up 14-10 with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter Johnson scored his second touchdown on the day with a 15-yard run to finish a 61-yard, six-play scoring drive as the Pirates pushed the lead to 20-10 with 11:07 left. Howard marched right back down the field as Newton bulled his way on from the one to bring the Bison to 20-17 with 8:14 left. They had one final shot after a missed Hampton field goal gave them possession on the Howard 20 with 92 seconds left. Carr stepped in front of a Newton last-ditch pass on the Hampton 32 to seal the win.
Johnson was the leading rusher on the game for Hampton with a season-best 144 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Williams was 9-of-19 passing for 150 yards and spread the ball around with six receivers catching at least one pass. Hampton amassed 430 yards total offense (280 ground-150 air) to 416 for Howard.
Defensively, Raheim Huskey and Steven Smith, Jr. were tops with 13 tackles each. Huskey had seven solo and six assisted, while Smith added two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Jayso’n Davidson had 11 and one tackle for loss, while Brendan Cole added 10, one sack and two pass breakups.