Middle Creek did its talking on the field Thursday night, and the noise could be heard all the way to Holly Springs.
The Mustangs, No. 1 in The News & Observer’s football rankings, used a winning formula of dominating defense, big plays and turnovers to hammer the Golden Hawks 49-9 at Mustangs Stadium.
“They talked a lot of smack on social media,” Middle Creek defensive lineman George Maya said of the Hawks. “We didn’t say anything back. We saved it all for the game, and it showed. I think we had one of our more outstanding performances this year. I feel like we dominated our opponent.”
The scoreboard – and the numbers – proved him right. Middle Creek (7-0, 4-0 Southwest Wake Athletic Conference) held Holly Springs (3-4, 2-2) under 200 total yards, while a balanced offense picked up 187 yards in the air and 180 on the ground.
“They’re a great team, and they’ve held everybody scoreless pretty much all year,” Hawks coach Robert Furth said. “Our kids fought, (but) we just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to stay with them.”
Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, Holly Springs forced a punt, and Mustangs punter Keith Phillips shanked one from his own 21-yard line. But the Hawks ran into Phillips, and his next punt was muffed by Holly Springs’ Jackson Baum and recovered by the Middle Creek’s Sean Boll at the Hawks’ 36. Holly Springs was also whistled for a personal foul on the play and then flagged for pass interference on the next play. DeAndre Jones later scored from 4 yards out for a 14-0 Middle Creek lead
THREE TO KNOW
George Maya, Middle Creek: The senior defensive lineman helped the Mustangs control the line of scrimmage, limiting the Hawks to 3.1 yards per play on the ground.
Daniel Jackson, Middle Creek: Picked off an Austen Wiegers pass and rambled 69 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Austen Wiegers, Holly Springs: That throw was one of the few mistakes the Hawks junior quarterback made. He ran for 69 yards and threw for 52 more against the tough Mustangs defense.
BY THE NUMBERS
136: Rushing yards for Middle Creek backups Rye Julson (75), Andrew Ihle (41), and Jonny Keaton (20). Julson’s total was tops for the game, and his first carry came late in the third quarter.
80: Completion percentage for Mustangs QB Dominique Shoffner. He was 12-for-15 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
79: Receiving yards for Riley Frederickson. Fifty-eight came on one play that set up his 4-yard TD catch.
7: Mustangs receivers who caught passes.
2: Touchdowns for Jones. He had six carries for 39 yards.
THEY SAID IT
Middle Creek coach Randy Ragland did his best to limit mentions of his top performers on defense, listing Maya, defensive end John Singleton and linebacker Michael Russell.
“I can name about the whole group over there,” Ragland said. “That’s a tough group. I get to see them every day in practice, and it makes us better as an offense, that’s for sure. … We’re riding our defense right now. Our defense is really good.”