With star running back Tray Staten sidlined with an injury, it was a pair of unexpecteds that lifted Holly Springs to a 25-20 victory over Northern Durham on Friday.
Third-string running back Chris McKoy had a career-high 112 yards rushing to go with his first two varsity touchdowns while kicker Josh Howard drilled three field goals as Robert Furth earned his first win as head coach at Holly Springs (1-2).
A 95-yard kickoff return touchdown by Northern’s Jaylan Burton made it an 18-12 deficit early in the fourth quarter and the Knights (0-3) regained possession following a Holly Springs punt. But a series of penalties pinned Northern deep in its own territory and a fumbled snap on a fourth down punt set up the Hawks at the Northern five-yard line.
McKoy scored his second touchdown of the night on the next play to make it a 25-12 ballgame.
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The Holly Springs defensive line created nine sacks for the Hawks including a safety.
“They definitely disrupted us up front. I thought we didn’t do a good enough job of getting the ball out quick enough,” Northern coach R.J. Wilson said.
Domineke McNeill rushed for 139 yards on just 16 carries and Demazio Samuel recovered a fumble in the end zone for the final Knights touchdown.
Trailing 18-12 with 3:40 remaining and punting from their own 15-yard line, the Knights couldn’t control the snap and punter Montrell Webb was tackled at the five yard line, giving Holly Springs a first-and-goal. McKoy scored on the very next play for a 25-12 lead.
They said it
“The defensive line came out with a purpose. They came out and said they were going to get it done and they did.,” Furth said.
Three who mattered
Domineke McNeill, Northern: The running back had 139 yards on 16 carries including a 20-yard touchdown run and an 89-yard burst on third-and-24 from the Knights’ one-yard line. He added 53 yards on three receptions including a 46-yarder.
Holly Springs defensive line: The pressure of the starting front of Daniel Ligons, Jonathan Prince, Jason Gerber and Cameron Weikle forced nine sacks and 16 plays for negative yardage including a first-quarter safety.
Josh Howard, Holly Springs: Howard nailed field goals of 36, 39 and 28 yards and also boomed a 52-yard punt.
By the numbers
114: Yards rushing in a single series by McNeill (a run of 89 yards, a 15 yard penalty and runs of 5 and 20 yards).
13 minutes, 17 seconds: Time off the game clock it took for Holly Springs to complete the trifecta of scoring – a touchdown, a field goal and a safety.
20: Minutes of game clock it took for Northern to complete a pass.
0: Previous meetings between the teams.