Corinth Holders used a proven formula for success to roll to a 39-7 victory over Smithfield-Selma in a Two Rivers 3A Conference football game Friday night.
The Pirates (7-3, 3-1) used the powerful running of junior Howard Watson and the accurate passing of senior quarterback Cole Sakowski to control the ball against the Spartans (3-7, 2-2). The win keeps Corinth Holders in the hunt for a share of the Two Rivers 3A Conference title. The Pirates enter the final week of the regular season in control of its playoff and championship fate.
Watson rushed for 240 yards and three touchdowns and Sakowski passed for 143 yards and three touchdowns in a balanced attack that was simply too much for the Spartans.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt said of the mix of the run and the pass. “The running game has helped us a bunch.”
Watson, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, scored on runs of 34 and 45 yards in the second half, the last score a burst off the right side that was his final carry of the night – pushing the score to 39-7 with four minutes remaining.
Watson pushed his season rushing total to 1,323 yards. He has scored 15 touchdowns on the ground.
Sakowski completed eight of 12 passes, connecting on scoring passes of 30 yards to Tony Kirkwood and 36 yards Dymon Walker in the first half to help the Pirates take an 18-0 halftime lead. Sakowski completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Neal in the second half.
Smithfield-Selma’s lone score came on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Raequan Smith to Robert Hicks early in the fourth quarter.
The Pirates dominated the first half, scoring touchdowns on three of five possessions.
Corinth Holders took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards in just five plays. The point-after attempt following the opening drive score was blocked leaving the score 6-0 less than two minutes into the game.
The Pirates moved into Smithfield-Selma territory on their next possession but fumbled the ball after a pass completion to the 13.
Corinth Holders used its defense to set up its second touchdown. Smithfield-Selma quarterback Reaquan Smith was sacked inside the Spartans’ 10 and fumbled. The Pirates recovered at the 6, and Watson took it in on first down. A two-point pass failed for a 12-0 score with 1:35 left in the opening quarter.
The next time the Pirates got the ball, they went 70 yards in five plays to open the second quarter. Sakowski completed three passes in the drive, getting the touchdown on a 36-yard strike to Walker.
A two-point attempt was stopped and the score stood at 18-0.
Sakowski was 7-for-10 passing in the first half for 123 yards and the two scores. Watson totaled 101 yards on eight carries in the first half.
Rolesville 14, Knightdale 7
Sophomore quarterback Carnaji Andrews threw for 176 yards and junior receiver Colby Cooper caught 136 of them and a touchdown to lead Rolesville to the first win of its first varsity season, a 14-7 triumph over Knightdale.
The Rams (1-9, 1-5 Greater Neuse River 4A) got the winning score on a 16-yard run by junior Josh Branch with 11 minutes left in the game.
“It’s very exciting,” said Rolesville coach Jermaine Evans. “It is huge for our team, the school and the Rolesville community.
“We felt like we had been knocking on the door of victory for three or four weeks, but we could never could finish the deal. It felt great to finally close out a game and get a much needed victory.”
Knightdale (3-7, 1-5) tried to convert on fourth and three at the Rolesville 37 with 1:42 to play, but the Rams denied the attempt.
Cooper’s touchdown from Andrews came from 31 yards out with 9:30 left in the first half. Paul Okeke was 2-2 on extra points for the Rams.
Devin Lessane opened scoring with a 7-yard run in the fifth minute of the game. VLyle Walker was good on his one extra point attempt.
Branch added 53 yards on 19 carries for Rolesville.
Lessane led the Knightdale rushing committee with eight carries for 65 yards.
East Wake 50, Harnett Central 41
East Wake (8-2, 5-1 Greater Neuse) came from behind, outscoring Harnett Central (3-7, 2-4) 28-14 in the second half, to push its win streak to five games.
The win kept the Warriors’ hopes of hosting a first round state playoff game alive. The final test of that pursuit comes Friday, when East Wake hosts rival Knightdale.
Staff writer Aaron Moody contributed.