ROANOKE RAPIDS — Kenneth Collins’ description of the rise of the Corinth Holders football program couldn’t have been more simple – or on target.
“We’ve just taken a complete U-turn,” Collins said, after the Pirates downed Roanoke Rapids 28-3 on the road for their third straight victory of the season after an 0-5 start.
The Pirates’ defense held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time in their short history and the offense played like a confident, proven winner all night.
“Those three points on the scoreboard, that tells you all there is about our defensive performance tonight,” said Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt. “We’re doing the things we’re supposed to do on both sides of the ball. We’ve got a lot of great individual efforts happening, but the impressive thing is how well we’re working together, getting 11 hats to the ball.”
The Pirates (3-5 overall, 3-1 Northern Carolina 2A Conference) allowed 175 yards rushing to the Yellow Jackets (3-5, 1-3) but came up with key tackles to end drives before points showed up on the scoreboard. Kiyon Walden and Butler Collins intercepted passes for the Corinth Holders defense, while there were key tackles for losses along the way from Adrian Price, Jason Homick,, Jared Johnson, Elijah Harris, Austin Brees and others.
“Our defense stepped up and won us this game,” Collins said. “They stayed strong until we started to score, then didn’t give up anything down the stretch.”
The game was still scoreless until the final three minutes of the first half. That’s when Collins hit Hampton Smith and John Holzer on basically the same route on consecutive Pirate drives.
Collins, feeling pressure from the outside, stepped up into the pocket and lofted a ball to a racing Smith down the left sideline, hitting him in stride for a 37-yard TD with 2:52 to play in the half.
After Walden’s interception put a quick end to Roanoke Rapids’ ensuing drive, Collins dropped a similar pass into the hands of a leaping Holzer in the right corner of the end zone. Holzer got the foot tap in (for a 20-yard score) and the Pirates led 14-0 at the break.
Roanoke Rapids cut the lead to 14-3 on a 35-yard field goal by Taylor Archer in the third quarter but the Pirates countered with a pair of William Floyd touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
Collins finished the night 18-of-22 for 240 yards, while Smith totaled 96 yards receiving on seven balls.