CARY — Holly Springs is no longer carrying around the dubious title of best football team in the Triangle with a winless record.
And now the Golden Hawks don't even need an asterisk to note they've won their first game in the 2011 season.
With the regular season approaching the midway point, Holly Springs was 0-4 with one loss by forfeit as the result of a season-opening win on the field over Heritage being reversed for a paperwork error that led to the use of an ineligible player.
But the Hawks recorded their first official victory and initial Tri-Nine Conference win in convincing fashion as they defeated Green Hope 44-14 Friday on the Falcons' field.
"Well, we've got two wins, but we're glad to get this win, said Holly Springs coach David Riggs with a grin. It's always good to get a win.
Holly Springs improved to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the Tri-Nine. Green Hope, in its first year of rebuilding under new coach Kwame Dixon, dropped to 2-3 and 0-2.
Two weeks ago Holly Springs was competitive with then-No. 4-ranked Cary before a turnover on a punt return propelled the the Imps a 29-7 win. After the game, Cary's coaches commented that Holly Springs was a better team than its record indicated.
Against Green Hope, the Hawks gained 362 total yards with 274 on the ground, including a 43-yard touchdown run by Markez Davis and a 66-yard touchdown run by Keenan McElrath.
"I liked our running game and the defense played a lot better, Riggs said. We played hard. We've continued to play hard, and I'm happy about that.
Holly Springs started quickly as quarterback Mike Roach connected with Brandon Jones for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the Hawks' first offensive play.
Roach gave the Hawks a 14-0 lead on a 3-yard run with 7:10 left in the first quarter.
But with Holly Springs leading 16-0 following a safety and driving for another touchdown, Roach suffered a knee injury late in the first quarter on an 8-yard run to Green Hope's 9. He was on crutches after the game
"We won't know more about the injury until he has it checked out (Saturday), Riggs said.
Two plays later Davis scored on a 9-yard run for a 23-0 lead with 2:31 left in the first quarter.
Green Hope's first touchdown was a 1-yard run by Marcus Williams with 11:25 left in the second quarter to trim the deficit to 23-6.
The Falcons' other touchdown late in the third quarter was a 33-yard pass to Tyler Baddick from sophomore Chris Tutweiler, who was making his first start at quarterback.
For Holly Springs, Davis finished the night with 16 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. McElrath added eight carries for 96 yards and one TD.
The game turned ugly in the second half with multiple personal fouls called on both teams and one Green Hope player ejected.