Holly Springs' first Southwest Athletic Conference football victory was a quick and decisive 35-0 win over Cary on Friday night at Cooper Field.
The quick part was calling the game with 2 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter. School officials, acting on weather reports of a fast moving storm, informed the game officials. Rain, lightning and thunder hit the school grounds before the parking lot emptied.
The decisive part was 21 points by Holly Springs in the second quarter for a 28-0 halftime lead. The Golden Hawks took the second half kickoff and drove 40 yards in eight plays to score on a 1-yard run by fullback Davis Stafford to make it 35-0.
"Winning our first conference game feels really good," said running back Tray Staten, who finished with 12 carries for 138 yards and one touchdown. "The offensive line had a perfect night; they really opened up holes."
Holly Springs ended a two-game losing streak to improve to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in SWAC play. Cary dropped to 0-7 and 0-3.
"The first couple of conference games were tough," said Holly Springs first-year head coach Wayne Bragg. "This week we wanted to get back to fundamental football - tackling and taking care of the football."
On the game's opening drive, the Golden Hawks faced a fourth-and-1 from the Imps' 42. Bragg called for a power play.
Offensive linemen C.J. Toogood and Bryan Beck cleared a hole and Stafford came through the hole from his fullback slot to block the linebacker. Staten ran 42 yards virtually untouched.
Cary opened the game with energy as the Imps put together a 13-play drive from its 26 to Holly Springs' 9 that threatened to tie the contest at 7-7. But a fourth-and-2 play was stopped to turn the ball back to the Golden Hawks.
Holly Springs, fueled by Nehemiah Harris' 31-yard run, took a 14-0 lead with 7:16 left in the second quarter on a Justin Armwood's 15-yard pass to Wade Johnson.
Cary partially blocked a 32-yard Holly Springs field goal attempt late in the second quarter to remain within a two-score deficit, but Holly Springs' Yavel Morris' interception set up a 10-yard scoring run by quarterback Justin Armwood with 33 seconds left in the half.
Another interception two plays later by A.J. O'Neal set up Armwood's 20-yard pass to Wade Johnson with 9 seconds in the half.
"The energy is there," Cary head coach Kurt Glendenning said. "But we're having to coach with all the injuries and shuffling players into positions that aren't their positions. We're trying to put a team out there and do the best you can. Holly Springs was hungry, they executed well and they exposed our weaknesses."
With the first quarter scoring drive stopped, Cary finished a fifth straight game without an offensive touchdown.
Cary defensive back Jeff Gavalier led the Imps' defensive effort.