They value offensive linemen at Fuquay-Varina so much the public address announcer at home games does more than announce who scored. Jeff Shaffer adds names of the five offensive linemen.
He had to do it five times as the Bengals beat Green Hope 34-28 in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA playoffs Friday night at the Bengals’ field.
“I love that he does that,” said Fuquay-Varina running back Colten Smith, who scored four times. “They don’t get enough credit. Our offensive linemen are great. Without them I wouldn’t be anything.”
Smith finished the night carrying the ball 16 times for 242 yards with touchdown runs of 4, 8, 76 and 41 yards. Quarterback Brycen Braswell also scored on 43-yard run.
The Bengals finished with 55 carries and 439 yards rushing behind a line of left tackle Kevin Martinez, left guard Ben Winker, center Taylor Blalock, right guard Rodney Hawkins, right tackles Mike Dinatale and Jonathan Cole and tight end Jake Slater.
Fuquay (11-1) is ranked No. 3 in the area and the fifth seed. Green Hope (7-5) was ranked No. 12 and the 10th seed. Fuquay defeated Green Hope Sept. 25 in a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference game, 36-26.
Fuquay opened the game with textbook efficiency.
The Bengals drove 13 plays and 65 yards with none of gains going out of bounds to stop the clock. They consumed 7:14 of game time and reached the end zone just in 10 minutes of real time after the kickoff on Colten Smith’s 4-yard run.
Just as their first meeting, Green Hope mounted a comeback with 21 second-half points to trim the deficit to the final score with 45 seconds to play on a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tucker Burkinshaw to Jack McAuley.
Green Hope’s onside kick attempt was covered by James Moody. The Bengals ran the clock down to 17 seconds before they had to punt. That left Green Hope with only two plays to run as the game ended on an incomplete pass.
The Bengals will host upset winner No. 13 Northwest Guilford in the next round.