WENDELL — Corinth Holders had its best offensive night of the season and a chance to win late, but Franklinton held on for a 34-21 Northern Carolina 2A Conference victory Friday.
Corinth Holders quarterback Kenneth Collins ended the night 21-for-36 with 278 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. Hampton Smith grabbed 11 passes for 132 yards and a score.
Franklinton’s Daquan Neal finished with 260 yards passing on 14-of-22, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I was worried about this game all week. They were 0-4 coming into this game, but they played a very tough out of conference schedule,” said Franklinton coach Jeremy Buck. “They have athletes, and they are a well-coached football team. We had some breakdowns, and they advantage of most of them.”
Corinth Holders stormed back from a 28-14 deficit to make it a ball game late in the fourth quarter. The Pirates drove 81 yards in four plays to pull within 7, with Collins going 3-for-3 with completions of 32 and 35 yards on the drive. He capped it with a 9-yard TD toss to senior John Holzer.
On the next offensive play, Corinth Holders senior Kelvin Dunn recovered a Franklinton fumble.
After a Franklinton pass interference call in the endzone, the Pirates had 1st and 10 at the 14 with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Pirates couldn’t move the ball, ending that drive with three straight incompletions.
“We drove it the length of the field to get down there [in scoring position],” said Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt. “I mean those guys worked their butts off to get it down there, and we just didn’t make the plays. We had a shot to punch it in, but that’s just how football works sometimes. “
On the Red Rams’ next drive, runningback Demetrius Burk sealed the win for Franklinton with a 62-yard touchdown dagger.
“They’ve got some good players on that team, and they’ve been playing well. We really thought we had a shot at it, and we really pushed it there at the end, but we just came up short,” said Honeycutt. “We had some chances and we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. We just have to come back and do better.”
The game started off with a bang, as Collins connected with Smith for a 50-yard TD strike on the Pirates’ third play from scrimmage, with 10:48 to play.
The Pirate defense stymied the Red Rams early, with Franklinton only gaining 29 yards on one completed pass on the Red Rams’ first possession. On Franklinton’s next possession, Neal found tight end Everette Eaton wide open for a 64-yard touchdown. Yarborough powered in the two-point conversion, for an 8-7 lead.
On the Red Rams’ next possession, Neal found receiver Rondez Taylor from 19 yards out for a 14-7 lead.
With 2:28 remaining in the second quarter, Franklinton’s Kyrell Wright picked off a Collins pass and ran it back 20 yards for the pick six for a 22-7 lead. Five plays later, Collins connected with Nick Pulliam on a 28-yard touchdown strike, pulling the Pirates to within 8 at the half.
Yarborough added to the Franklinton score late in the third, punching in a 1-yd touchdown run to make it 28-14.
Dunn intercepted Neal late in the fourth, setting up the late game excitement.
“We just didn’t make the plays. Bottom line – to win games, you gotta make the plays,” said Honeycutt. “We’re gonna come back next week and keep working for that first win.”