FUQUAY-VARINA - — Fuquay-Varina rushed for 324 yards and forced three turnovers in a 14-0 Tri-9 4-A win over Cary.
For the first time all season, Fuquay-Varina coach Ryan Habich saw his Bengals play traditional, Fuquay football -- dominant defense and a steady, ground-based offense.
And that begat another Fuquay tradition -- winning.
The Bengals rushed for 324 yards, while holding Cary to 249 yards and forcing three turnovers in their 14-0 Tri-9 4-A win Friday night.
"In Fuquay, we always talk about great defense and ball control offense," Habich said. "And this is the first time all year we played Fuquay football. ... We're still turning the ball over, which is a concern, but our defense has played lights out the last two weeks."
The Bengals' offense clicked when it looked the most grim. Their first two offensive series yielded two turnovers. On their third try, they were backed up inside their own 1-yard line, thanks to Phillip Thomas' perfect punt to the coffin corner.
And that's when quarterback Tyler Williams went to work. He guided the Bengals on a 14-play, 99-yard, 6:49 touchdown drive to give Fuquay a 7-0 lead. Williams was 3-for-3 converting third downs, while running eight times for 43 yards. And he hit Garrett Suggs for a 35-yard pass on 3-and-8 that revived the march toward the end zone. Damarus Williams finished it offer with a 3-yard TD run.
"I was really pleased with that 99-yard drive. I think that really set the tempo," Habich said. "Taking that ball ball 99 yrds against a very good defense was big."
On their next offensive series, Cary's Marquise Sharrod-Ponds fumbled a handoff, and Fuquay's Kyle Smith scooped it up, giving the Bengals that ball at their own 44. Eight plays later, Smith took a pitch outside the left hashmark and raced to the end zone, staking the Bengals to a 14-0 lead with 1:21 remaining before halftime. Smith had a significant impact on the game, despite touching the ball only four times. In addition to his interception, he also ran the ball three times for a total of 68 yards.
"We've always had two-way players here," Habich said. "He's our starting safety, and he played a lot of defense. We've had a lot of injuries to our wingbacks, so we've been rotating guys in there. And he did a great job offensively."
From there, Fuquay's defense did the rest. Before Cary took over with just less than three minutes to play and marched off a last-gasp drive, the Bengals had held them to just three first downs and only 7:48 with the ball in the second half.
Mangum rushed for 92 yards on only 10 carries to lead the Bengals' ground attack, while Tyler Williams went for 85 yards on 21 touches. Damarus Williams bruised his way to 67 yards.