With star running back Tray Staten out with an injury, it was a pair of unexpected standouts who lifted Holly Springs to a 25-20 victory over Northern Durham on Friday.
Third-string running back Chris McKoy had a career-high 112 yards rushing to go with his first two varsity touchdowns, and kicker Josh Howard drilled three field goals as Robert Furth earned his first win as coach at Holly Springs (1-2).
Holly Springs led early on a field goal by Howard and safety.
Domineke McNeill led Northern (0-3) with his 139 yards rushing on 16 carries. Early in the first quarter, he blazed 89 yards from the Northern 1-yard line to the Holly Spings 10. Although a personal foul penalty pushed the ball back to the 25, McNeil scored two plays later to give Northern a 6-5 lead.
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McKoy’s first touchdown and two more field goals put Holly Spings ahead by 12 points.
With Northern down 18-6 in the fourth quarter after Howard’s final field goal, Jaylan Burton returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to get the Knights back within 18-12 with 8 minutes and 7 seconds left to play.
The Knights regained possession following a Holly Springs punt, but a series of penalties pinned Northern deep in its own territory, and a fumbled snap on a fourth down punt set up the Hawks at the Northern 5-yard line. McKoy scored his second touchdown of the night on the next play to make it 25-12.
Northern’s Demazio Samuel recovered a fumble in the end zone for the final Knights touchdown, getting them within 25-20.
Three who mattered
Domineke McNeill, Northern: The running back had 139 yards on 16 carries including a 20-yard touchdown run and an 89-yard burst on third-and-24 from the Knights’ 1.
Holly Springs defensive line: The pressure of Jonathan Prince, Jason Gerber and Cameron Weikle forced nine sacks, 16 plays for negative yardage, and a safety.
Josh Howard, Holly Springs: Howard nailed field goals of 36, 39 and 28 yards and also boomed a 52-yard punt.
By the numbers
114: Yards rushing in a single series by McNeill (a run of 89 yards, a 15-yard penalty and runs of 5 and 20 yards).
20: Minutes of game time before Northern completed a pass.
0: Previous meetings between the teams.