FUQUAY-VARINA – Fuquay-Varina had no answer for Holly Springs’ backfield tandem of Nehemiah Harris and Kelvin Wilson Friday on Senior Night.
Wilson carried 21 times for 187 yards, while Harris added three touchdowns and 125 yards on 27 carries, as the Golden Hawks rallied from a 20-7 deficit with a 21-point second quarter to defeat the Bengals 48-34 in a wild Tri-Nine 4A Conference game.
“Coming out, we wanted to see what they were doing defensively,” said Holly Springs coach Will Orbin, whose squad improved to 3-3 in the Tri-Nine and 4-4 overall. “They did a few things we didn’t expect them to do. Once we made the adjustments, things just started opening up. When we needed to make plays offensively, we did. We got big stops on defense when we needed to. This is a big victory for us against a very good program.”
The contest showed all the makings of an offensive shootout from the start between schools separated by five miles. Fuquay-Varina (5-4 overall, 4-3 Tri-Nine) took a 7-0 lead just 40 seconds into the game when quarterback Tyler Williams’ 69-yard run set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Damarus Williams and William Mann kicked the extra point.
The Hawks came right back with a seven-play, 67-yard march with Harris and Wilson churning out tough yards. Quarterback Brett Hudspeth passed 24 yards to Jordan Kornegay and Tyler Shade’s PAT tied it at 7-all with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Fuquay then went 70 yards in 11 plays to make it 14-7 on a 1-yard run by Damarus Williams and Mann’s extra point with 3:17 left in the quarter. After the Bengal defense forced a punt, the home team’s advantage grew to 20-7 when Tyler Williams found Quincy Mangum on a 58-yard TD pass with 10:06 left in the half.
From that point, Holly Springs responded with 27 straight points as the running game kicked into high gear.
Harris’ 2-yard run capped a 12-play, 76-yard drive that brought the Hawks within six (20-14). After a Bengal punt, Wilson raced through the middle for a 60-yard TD burst, and Shade’s PAT gave the Hawks a 21-20 advantage.
After another punt, Holly Springs went 62 yards in just four plays, the biggest being a 52-yard pass from Hudspeth to Evan Allen. The pair hooked up on a 5-yard TD pass that gave the Hawks a 28-20 lead at the break.
The Hawks’ lead grew to 34-20 with 3:21 in the third period on a six-yard run by Harris. The Bengals ended Holly Springs scoring run with a solid 70-yard drive in 10 plays as Damarus Williams scored from four yards away and Mann booted the PAT with 2:21 left in the quarter.
But the Bengal defense, which had allowed just 57 points in four previous games, could not get off the field on the final two Hawks’ scoring drives.
Set up by a 19-yard kickoff return by John Kelly, Holly Springs drove 45 yards in 13 plays as Harris went in from the 7 with 9:05 left. The score took more than five minutes off the clock.
Tyler Williams’ 54-yard run on the Bengals’ next drive (65 yards in seven plays) set up Mangum’s three-yard run with 6:55 left, making it 41-34.
The Hawks then sealed the win with another drive that consumed five-plus minutes, finishing with an eight-yard run by Harris with 1:23 left.
Hudspeth completed 4 of 6 passes for 96 yards and two scores for the Hawks.
Fuquay finished with 269 yards rushing as Tyler Williams carried 16 times for 142 yards and Damarus Williams added 102 yards and three TDs on 19 attempts. Tyler Williams was 6-for-17 passing for 158 yards and a TD. The Bengals had two scores called back due to penalties – a 57-yard pass from Williams to Mangum, and a 52-yard run by Mangum.