With 10 starters returning on that side of the ball, Bunn figured to be prolific on offense this season.
But not even Wildcats head coach David Howle could have imagined this.
Howle’s 40-somethings struck again Friday as the host Wildcats roared to a 56-34 victory over Burlington’s Cummings High in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2AA football playoffs.
Second-seeded Bunn (11-2) has now scored over 40 points in all but one of its games in 2015 and is currently on a 10-contest winning streak.
“I’ve never had a team like this,’’ said Howle, who registered his 202nd career triumph at Bunn. “We averaged 44 points a game in 1994, but we still haven’t had a team put up the numbers this one has. It’s pretty amazing. We’ve got several three-year starters on the offensive line, and that makes a big difference.”
Against Cummings (5-8), the Wildcats racked up 448 total yards, including 238 yards on the ground from senior halfback Tevin Perry.
Perry, who tacked on four touchdowns, has rushed for over 200 yards on three occasions this fall.
“It’s great blocking for our backs,’’ said Bunn senior center Trevor Gupton. “Sometimes, you can miss a block, and they still make you look good. We talk every week about playing hard and playing with heart.”
Cummings scored on its first possession courtesy of a 34-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Boswell to Terell Johnson. Bunn fumbled on the initial play of its opening drive, but a key quarterback sack from Celik Curtis took the Cavaliers out of field-goal range.
Taking over after a punt, Bunn embarked on an old-school drive that counteracted Cummings’ spread offense -- and kept the Cavaliers’ skill-position standouts off the field.
The Wildcats used 13 plays to march 90 yards, all of which were gained on the ground. Chris Bumpers finished off the march by rumbling 18 yards off the right side off a fourth-and-one situation.
Bunn, however, missed the PAT and still trailed 7-6 at the 3:16 mark of the first period.
Following a missed Cummings field goal, the Wildcats went ahead to stay on Perry’s 4-yard plunge with 8:21 remaining before halftime.
The Cavaliers’ next two series ended with turnovers, and Bunn capitalized on each miscue to surge ahead 28-7 at the break.
Perry all but wrapped up the decision with a 29-yard touchdown bolt with 8:46 left in the third period that upped the Wildcats’ advantage to 35-7.
“Cummings came out and scored on us quickly -- (Boswell) was on point,’’ Howle said. “For us, it was just a matter of settling down and playing our style of football, which is running the ball. And when we ran the ball, we were able to keep it away from (the Cavaliers). I felt like we could move the ball, and we got a great game from our offensive line.”
Howle has always set a preseason goal for his club to be practicing on Thanksgiving morning, and the Wildcats will accomplish that feat once again in preparation for next Friday’s home meeting with No. 3 seed East Duplin in the third round.