WENDELL — Wake Forest used 31 unanswered points in the second half to take down East Wake, 45-14, and move to a perfect 2-0 on the young season.
The Cougars Bryce Love finished the game with 16 carries for 194 yards with two touchdowns – one rushing and one on a kick return.
“Our team had a really good showing,” Love said. “I don’t really feel pressure anymore because our team has put in the work to be successful on Friday nights.”
On a fourth and one, Devonte Reynolds took a handoff and sprinted to the right side for the first score. Reynolds’ score capped a 99-yard opening drive after the Cougars forced a turnover on the one-yard line.
Wake Forest held momentum, driving 87 yards into the red zone in the second quarter, but gave up a fumble in the red zone. East Wake took advantage thanks to a 55-yard touchdown run by Trent Evans, but the PAT was blocked.
Bryce Love then took the energy back with an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving the Cougars a 14-6, but the Warriors would quickly respond. Evans led East Wake down the field and found Nick Sanders for a nine-yard touchdown, then took it in himself for a two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14 before the half.
Late in the third quarter, East Wake attempted an unsuccessful fake punt pass that fell incomplete on their 35-yard line. Wake Forest took control and turned that into a nine-play drive, resulting in a Jamal Sweet one-yard rushing touchdown.
Love then broke four tackles for a 31-yard run and Mack Moore found Reynolds for a nine-yard touchdown following a fumble on the return by East Wake.
The Cougars would tack on another two-yard rushing touchdown from Raheem Wise and a 25-yard field goal to finish off the 31-point second half.
“If you look at it from the defensive standpoint, we didn’t really give up many big plays,” Cougars coach Reggie Lucas said. “Obviously, if you look at the second half, that made a big difference. They complain when we run, run, run, but that’s why we do it.”
The Warriors move to 1-1 on the season and will travel to Millbrook next Friday for their first road game while the Cougars will look to remain undefeated when they host Cary.
“These games are really big before conference,” Love said. “You want to have that undefeated streak during the season because it really helps the team.”
Smith: 919-829-8941; Twitter: @RCorySmith