Southwest Wake Athletic Conference teams are now a collective 8-8 overall after two weeks of play.
It’s still anyone’s guess as to how the SWAC will shake out, but Fuquay-Varina and Middle Creek are the only two off to 2-0 starts.
Green Hope looked solid in defeating Jordan, while Cary pulled out a last-minute win against Broughton.
Athens Drive and Apex fell hard against George Washington (Va.) and Wake Forest, respectively. Holly Springs couldn’t keep the pace with Wakefield.
But all anyone can talk about was Panther Creek’s wild 54-48 win against Leesville Road.
Panther Creek didn’t score in the fourth quarter after scoring 54 points, but still had to knock down two end zone passes that would have likely won the game for Leesville Road.
First-year starting quarterback Dom Samson threw for 474 yards and seven touchdowns – six in the first half. Leesville’s Clay Vick came eight yards short of the NCHSAA record for single-game passing yards, throwing for 659 yards and five scores.
Hawks make adjustments
Holly Springs was down 22-6 at halftime with just 58 yards of total offense, but things turned around greatly to make the game close.
“We just talked about finishing the football game,” Golden Hawks coach Robert Furth said. “We came out and laid down in the first half. They hit us a little bit and we laid down and we said we just need to get more physical. Who was going to stand up and lead and who was going to sit down and follow?”
The Golden Hawks responded, covering 101 yards in their two third-quarter possessions that culminated in a touchdown and a turnover on downs at the Wakefield 16-yard line. The bulk of those yards came from senior running back Tray Staten, who bullied his way past defenders with a number of second and third-effort charges.
“We had a bunch of kids that came out to fight tonight in the second half and I’m proud of then for that,” Furth said.
Wake Forest sportsmanship
Wake Forest had scored on all seven possessions of the first half and led Apex 44-0. In four plays, Wake Forest went from its own 21 to the Apex 1. But Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas had quarterback Chris James take a knee on the final play of the half.
“We had a good play called on the play before that and I told our coaches if we don’t score on that play we will just take a knee,” Lucas said. “Also, I have a lot of respect for the coaches over there (at Apex). They’re going to do a good job.”
The play before the kneel was a 23-yard run by sophomore Devon Lawrence from the 24 to the 1. Lawrence also had a 45-yard run on the first play of the drive.
Player of the week
Dom Samson, Panther Creek: Threw for seven touchdowns – six in the first half – which stands as tied for sixth-most in NCHSAA history.
Friday night heroes
Brycen Braswell, Fuquay-Varina: Had 120 yards rushing on 11 carries and was 6 of 8 passing for 46 yards.
Caleb Cross, Panther Creek: Had 12 catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
Bryce Dixon, Green Hope: Five catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Austin Pluckhorn, Fuquay-Varina: Linebacker sacked Sanderson for a 10-yard loss to stop Sanderson’s comeback effort cold.
Justin Smalls, Panther Creek: Two catches, 130 yards and one TD to go with an 88-yard kickoff return for TD and the final pass break-up in the end zone to preserve the win.
Play of the week
Middle Creek’s Johnathan Spencer returned a punt for touchdown in the fourth quarter to spark a 10-point Mustang rally.
▪ Fuquay-Varina held Sanderson without a first down for the entire second quarter and parts of the first and third – 15 minutes, 56 seconds total.
▪ Southern Durham scored 22 straight points to come back against Cardinal Gibbons.
▪ With a running clock in the second half, Apex ran 22 plays from scrimmage to Wake Forest’s seven.
▪ Before its game, Apex High made honorary captains of the officer and K-9 who responded earlier in the week when a suspect of an attempted robbery was apprehended behind the football field. Apex’s practices and after-school activities stopped as the school went on lockdown.
They said it
Cary coach Mike Kirst on quarterback/safety Jeff Gavalier: “He’s a good leader for us, he’s really the leader of our defense ... He just gives us a change of pace at the quarterback position which allows us to do some different things.”
Gavalier on the game-saving interception in the end zone: “It felt so amazing ... I’ve been waiting of that play my whole life. I just saw it and I jumped on it and I took advantage of it.”
The big 3 to watch
Middle Creek (2-0) at Garner (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.: The two rivals have shown thus far that they can score in spurts and in a variety of ways.
Millbrook (2-0) at Fuquay-Varina (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.: The Bengals have been efficient on offense thus far, but Millbrook has as well.
Northern Durham (0-2) at Holly Springs (0-2), Thursday 7 p.m.: Both teams have, at times, looked much better than your average 0-2 team.
Other Thursday games: Sanderson at Apex, 7 p.m.
Other Friday games: Cary (1-1) at East Wake (1-1), 7 p.m.; Cardinal Gibbons (1-1) at Green Hope (1-1), 7 p.m.; Grimsley at Athens Drive (0-2); Jordan (0-2) at Panther Creek (1-1), 7 p.m.; Wake Christian (2-0) at High Point Christian (1-1), 7:30 p.m.; Halifax Academy (1-1) at Cary Christian (0-1), 7 p.m.; Grace Christian Raleigh (0-2) at Rocky Mount Academy (1-1).
Week 2 scores
Cary 10, Broughton 7
Community Christian 30, Cary Christian 14
Fuquay-Varina 26, Sanderson 13
Green Hope 28, Jordan 6
George Washington (Va.) 60, Athens Drive 0
Middle Creek 24, Rocky Mount 21
Panther Creek 54, Leesville Road 48
Southampton Academy (Va.) 62, Grace Christian 20
Wake Christian 35, Trinity Christian 14
Wake Forest 50, Apex 3
Wakefield 35, Holly Springs 21