WAKE FOREST — Turning the ball over on its first play from scrimmage and gift-wrapping a touchdown to Holly Springs as a result was hardly the start Heritage drew up in preparation for Friday’s season opener.
Turns out the Huskies had only one hiccup in them, and they got it out of the way early.
Thanks to their swarming defense and opportunistic offense, Heritage surged to a 49-21 victory over the Golden Hawks.
So proficient were the Huskies offensively that they scored their 49 points on just 42 plays. But the Huskies also had short fields to work with much of the first half, thanks to their defense forcing four turnovers, two of which gave the offense the ball inside the Holly Springs 20-yard line. By night’s end, Heritage held the Hawks to a modest 261 yards.
Holly Springs took a 7-0 lead on Kelvin Wilson’s 4-yard touchdown run, a score set up by the Huskies’ early turnover.
Wilson and the Golden Hawks appeared to make it 14-0 when the senior tailback took off on a 50-yard run to the end zone. But the play was called back because of a holding penalty, and Holly Springs lost its way. The Golden Hawks had four turnovers on its next six possessions, turning the tide toward Heritage.
Charles Clark picked up a blocked punt and returned the ball inside the Holly Springs 5-yard line, and Abdul Sesay scored two plays later from 3 yards to even the game at 7-7.
On Heritage’s next possession, quarterback Blake Walters (7 for 12, 200 yards, two TDs) hit receiver Jalen Parson on a short hitch pattern, and Parson used a slick spin move to split two would-be tacklers and race 17 yards to the end zone.
Heritage linebacker Matt Baker, a menace for the Huskies all night, scooped up a fumble and returned it to the Holly Springs 15, setting up Sesay’s 5-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead with 6:59 to go in the first half.
On Heritage’s next series, Walters executed the option perfectly, pitching to John McCaffity, who took off 73 yards to the end zone.
The Huskies saved their best offensive execution for the final series of the half. Walters took over at his 10 and guided Heritage 90 yards in 52 seconds to put the Huskies up 35-14 at the half.