With Holly Springs driving inside the Fuquay-Varina 10-yard line in the final seconds, Bengal coach Jeb Hall was having déjà vu.
Only this time there would be a happier ending.
The Bengal made a fourth-down stop at the seven yard line in the waning seconds to seal an 18-10 victory over rival Holly Springs in dramatic fashion on Friday.
After Eric Sugarman’s touchdown stretched the Fuquay-Varina lead to eight with 4:29 left, the Golden Hawks drove 59 yards and set up a first down from the Bengal 11-yard line with just under a minute to play. But Holly Springs threw incomplete on third and fourth downs from the seven yard line and Fuquay-Varina escaped victorious.
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Hall couldn’t help having flashbacks to a 2010 game against Panther Creek, who was then coached by current Holly Springs coach Wayne Bragg.
“I kept replaying it in my head. I kept thinking about that play they ran for a two-point conversion to beat us in 2010 in a game kind of like this,” Hall said of the final two plays, both short passes. Bragg and his staff used a short pass to convert a two-point conversion in overtime to beat the Bengals that year 38-37.
“I wish that would’ve happened (tonight) because we won that game,” Bragg said. “Every time we’ve played those guys whether it was at Panther Creek or (Holly Springs) it seems like it always comes down to the last series.”
Damarus Williams carried 26 times for 189 yards and two scores for Fuquay-Varina (3-2) including a 66-yard burst that gave the Bengals a 12-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
But the Golden Hawks (3-2) responded on the very next drive when quarterback Wade Johnson found Tray Staten in the corner of the end zone for a leaping touchdown grab to cap a 71-yard scoring drive and trim the Bengal lead to 12-10.
The Bengals then soon came up with the only turnover of the night when Johnson’s pass was picked off by Zach Ihler and set up Sugarman’s touchdown run on a toss sweep from nine yards out.
The game was then in the hands of the Bengal defense.
“This senior class has never beaten Holly Springs in JV or varsity,” Hall said. “This is a good rivalry.”
Williams had the only score of the first half on a one-yard run and Josh Howard connected on a 27-yard field goal for Holly Springs to make things 6-3 early in the third.
Fuquay-Varina had just one passing yard on the night to go against 238 yards on the ground.
Staten and running mate Nehemiah Harris combined for 187 yards of offense for Holly Springs.