RALEIGH — Athens Drive rolled out black jerseys for the first time under the lights at Williams Stadium Friday night, and their performance in the alternate tops left visiting Holly Springs feeling the Jaguars' traditional color -- blue.
The Jaguars roughed up the Golden Hawks 27-10, controlling the ball offensively, dominating defensively and capitalizing on their kicking game to stay undefeated in the Tri-9 (3-0).
Looking to inspire his charges during a summer fundraiser, Athens coach Chris Martin told his players if they raised a certain amount he would introduce a black jersey to their uniform options.
The players were clearly inspired to reach their goal, and they played as such in their new threads.
"It worked becasue they played great," Martin said. "We'll break them out every once in a while. It gets the guys excited. We said it'd be a blackout, and all our fans all wore black t-shirts. It's something we're trying to do get people more involved."
Tailback Dominique Lynch was prominently involved in the Jaguars' offense. Coming last week's season-low 58 yards at Lumberton, the junior went for a season-high 180 yards on 30 carries, and he added a 40-yard TD catch.
"Dominique's the guy you just want to give the ball to," Martin said. "Other teams are keying on him, and we still give him the ball."
Quarterback Jason West (156 yards), hit tight end Daniel Riddle for a 5-yard TD pass midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead, capping an 11-play, 70 yard drive.
Holly Springs (2-4, 1-3) had little luck moving the ball in the first half, yet the Golden Hawks looked to head into halftime facing a manageable 10-0 deficit. But Lynch took a short pass from West on fourth down, then raced 40 yards to the end zone, putting the Jaguars up 17-0 with 29 seconds to go before the break.
Athens went up 24-3 midway through the third quarter on Lynch's 6-yard TD run.
The Golden Hawks got into the end zone early in the fourth guarter when tight end Evan Allen hauled in a 15-yard TD pass.
But Athens' defense gave little else. The Jaguars held Holly Springs to 292 yards, and they forced three turnovers, including two interceptions by Kyle Wolfe.
Senior placekicker Tommy Evanoff's howitzer of a right leg gives Athens an added dimension. He was 2-for-4 on field goals, though his 42- and 52-yard tries both had the distance but were just wide. He had three touchbacks, and two other kickoffs resulted in Holly Springs starting drives inside their own 15-yard line.
While off to a 3-0 start in league play is all well and good, it won't be smooth sailing going forward for the Jaguars, who still have to face Cary, Middle Creek, Fuquay-Varina and Lee County. But Martin's only got one game on his mind.
"We've got Apex coming up [next Friday], so we've got to concentrate on that one," he said. "This conference is wild."