HOLLY SPRINGS — Even when Holly Springs got off to an winless start in its first three games this year, coach Will Orbin had confidence that his team would start clicking when it mattered most.
After a 27-21 win against visiting rival Fuquay-Varina Friday, the Golden Hawks have won two straight.
And things seem to be worked out offensively.
Even though the Bengals (3-2, 0-1), 15th in the News & Observer rankings, bottled up leading Holly Springs (2-3, 1-0) rusher Tray Staten, the Golden Hawks were still efficient.
Senior running back Kelvin Wilson ran 11 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Will Forrestal was 5 of 5 passing for 42 yards and one touchdown, and he picked up another 48 yards on the ground.
“A lot of people are new and at different positions,” Wilson said. “Our focus was to come together early and start out stronger this year.”
Fuquay-Varina took a 7-0 lead on Damarus Williams’ 1-yard run on 4th-and-goal with 21 seconds left in the first quarter.
Holly Springs responded on the next drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Forrestal to Jordon Kornegay to make the game 7-6 after the extra point attempt was missed.
A 36-yard run from Wilson on a reverse set up a 2-yard touchdown run from Staten to give Holly Springs a 13-7 lead with 7:03 left in the second quarter.
That score held into halftime as both defenses limited the other’s top rushing threat – Staten had just 33 yards, Williams had 29.
Orbin credited his nose guard Nic Johnson for winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Marcus Cox, A.J. O’Neal and D.J. Cornish were sure tacklers.
“They beat us on first down, and we’re not a team that’s good in second-and-long and third-and-long,” said first-year Fuquay-Varina coach Jeb Hall.
Wilson extended Holly Springs’ lead to 20-7 on a 8-yard run with 9:22 left in the third quarter.
“We practiced all week for if the defense keyed in on Tray,” Wilson said.
Fuquay-Varina quarterback Tyler Williams had scored on a dazzling 7-yard run in the third quarter, rolling out to his right while looking for a receiver before pulling it down and scrambling across the field to the left pylon.
But two plays and 40 seconds later, Holly Springs scored again – this time on a 62-yard run by Wilson.
“We started to execute. That’s the name of the game – execution,” Orbin said. “We’re in a stage of learning how to win. It takes time. We’re a young team as far as playing time.”
Tyler Williams sliced into the lead on a scrambling 10-yard run with 4:20 left in the game, but the Bengals never got the ball back after Holly Springs recovered the onside kick.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps