KNIGHTDALE Knightdale fed off a pair of East Wake turnovers, then then held off an East Wake rally attempt to win their border battle, 30-21, on Friday.
Knightdale, ranked No. 1 in the area, improved to 9-1 overall and completed an undefeated Greater Neuse River 4A Conference season with six wins. The lost nixed any chance at a playoff berth for East Wake (4-7, 3-3).
“It’s just a typical East Wake-Knightdale game,” Knightdale coach Rob Senseney said. “It’s always been tight. I don’t think its ever not been tight here. It’s a big win, a hard-fought win.”
Knightdale looked comfortable entering the second half with a 21-7 lead, but East Wake came out on a mission to mount a comeback like it had in games throughout the season.
The Warriors cut the deficit to one possession with five minutes left in the third quarter on a 4-yard rushing score by Damontay Rhem and Jonathan Adams’ kick.
Knightdale’s next possession ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by Nate Harvey, but Taylor Betts’ extra point attempt missed its mark, leaving the Knights up 27-14. Rhem, who finished with 200 yards on 20 carries, then made the most of good field position and a pass interference call, leaping over the goal line for a 2-yard score to pull the Warriors back within 27-21.
The Knights denied a fourth down attempt by East Wake on their own 39 with about six minutes to play. From there on, the Knights depended on Lamont Chaney and Harvey to carry the team into the East Wake red zone, where Betts redeemed himself with a 33-yard field goal that put the game away.
“I’m a soccer player, first, so to know I could help my team like that – to win a game like this my senior year, on senior night – it’s amazing,” Betts said.
East Wake scored on the game’s opening drive with a 1-yard run by Rhem.
Knightdale’s first half scores came on rushes of 8 and 9 yards by quarterback Marquavious Johnson, who added an 5-yard touchdown pass to Lamont Chaney.
Two of Johnson’s three first-half scores came after turnovers by the Warriors – an interception by Marcell Johnson and a fumble recovery by Travius Hyman, respectively.
Johnson finished with 100 yards on 19 carries while Harvey led the way with 131 on 21 carries for the Knights.
Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews