FUQUAY-VARINA — Junior fullback Cory Hunter had a record-setting night as he fueled a second-half comeback win by the still-undefeated Fuquay-Varina Bengals.
In all, Hunter totaled 430 yards -- 315 at the end of the three quarters -- and four touchdowns for the 52-41 victory.
The teams combined for 1,150 yards of total offense -- but no one performed like Hunter.
His 463 rushing yards were the second-most in North Carolina high school history, coming just 22 yards shy of the total by Enloe's Greg Williams in a 2005 game. It was just the 17th time a player had ever topped the 400-yard mark in a game.
Panther Creek drew first blood, taking the opening drive 11 plays, ending in a 7-yard run by Kel Jackson.
Fuquay-Varina answered it with a 61-yard touchdown from Hunter on the very next drive.
However, the Bengals were without running back/kicker Eric Powell, and his replacement missed the extra point, keeping it 7-6.
Fuquay was also missing leading tackler Isaac Minor, out with a pulled quadriceps, and receiver Dylan Montgomery. Linebacker Ethan Ricci also left the game with an apparent knee injury in the first quarter.
Panther Creek quarterback Kameron Bryant had his best performance of the year, going 24-for-42 and scoring three touchdowns. His favorite receiver was the 6-foot-3 senior Graham Love, who caught 11 passes for 207 yards and one score -- more than doubling all his yards in the previous three games.
Bryant found Jackson from 24 yards out to make it 14-6.
While Bryant did his damage in the air, Bengals quarterback Nate Budde made his impact in other ways.
After Budde punched in a quarterback sneak from two yards out to bring Fuquay-Varina back within two, he returned a Bryant pass on the second play of Panther Creek's next drive for a touchdown as well.
Fuquay-Varina led 18-14 until Bryant found Love for a score with just 21 seconds left, giving the Catamounts a 21-18 lead at halftime.
Hunter and Budde each scored again in the third quarter to give Fuquay a 32-21 lead going into the fourth.
A fumble on the center exchange by Fuquay-Varina gave Panther Creek a great chance to regain the lead at the opposing 34-yard line. But the drive stalled on a fourth-and-9.
Fuquay-Varina took the ball 75 yards for a score and capped it off with a touchdown run by Hunter from 35 yards out to give Fuquay-Varina a 39-27 lead.
Hunter ran in his fourth touchdown to make it 46-27 with more than four minutes left in the game. Jackson ran in another touchdown for Panther Creek to make it 46-35, then Budde ran in the game's final touchdown to give the Bengals their lopsided win.
Panther Creek dropped to .500 on the year at 2-2 (0-1) while Fuquay remains the only undefeated team in the Tri-Nine Conference at 4-0 (2-0).