– Southern fought back in the closing seconds last Friday to defeat Durham rival Hillside 16-13 before a near sellout crowd on the N.C. Central campus.
Trailing 13-9 with 3:02 left, Wake Forest recruit Kendall Hinton led the Spartans on an 11-play 75-yard winning drive. Hinton hit running back Jordan Brown, who broke a couple of tackles to rumble in the end zone from 8 yards out with 25.6 seconds left.
But the Hornets made it exciting to the very end. After they got the ball at their 39, running back Marcus Krah caught a screen pass from QB Nas Forte-Ferguson and got as far as the Southern 9 before getting tackled with no time remaining.
“It just feels great to get this win,” Brown said. “They’ve always been a notch above us, and to score the winning touchdown feels good.”
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O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium has been special for the Spartans in the series. Four years ago, running back Desmond Lawrence scored the winning TD in the final minute to defeat the Hornets in the same arena.
“It was heartbreaking to see them (Hillside) come back, but we prepared them throughout the season for something like this, and they responded,” Southern coach Darius Robinson said.
After going six straight quarters without a score, dating back to last week’s 12-0 shutout to New Bern, Hillside found some offense when it was needed most.
Freshman running back Jamal Currie-Elliot gave the Hornets a spark in the second half and a stifling Hornets defense held Southern and its high-flying offense in check.
Hillside finally got on the scoreboard in third quarter. A short punt by Southern put the Hornets at the Spartans 47. Three plays later Currie-Elliot was in the end zone with 5:49 left in the quarter to make it 9-7.
With the Hornets’ defense controlling the tempo, Hillside took its first lead on a six-play 54-yard drive that culminated in Forte-Ferguson’s 1-yard plunge. A missed 2-point attempt gave Hillside a 13-9 lead.
The Spartans cracked the scoreboard on their second possession of the game.
Hinton drove the Hornets 51 yards in seven plays and was involved on every possession, including a 19-yard scamper with 2:27 left in the first quarter. A muffled point-after attempt left the score 6-0.
Place-kicker Leonardo Orozco made it 9-0 with a 34-yard field goal just before the half.
The Spartans defense was stodgy, limiting the Hornets to 78 total first-half yards and a sack.
Hillside caught Hinton three times behind the line of scrimmage, but the Wake Forest recruit still managed 160 passing yards.
Southern’s halftime shutout gave it six straight shutout quarters, going back to last week’s 41-0 win over Capitol Christian Academy.
Orange finally wins road game versus Northern
It took 46 years, but Orange finally go a win on the road against Northern.
Last Friday night at Durham County Memorial Stadium, Orange held Northern to 22 yards total offense and Panther fullback Michael Bolden rushed for two touchdowns as Orange blanked the Knights 18-0.
The win marked the third straight year Orange has started 2-0.
Northern tried three different quarterbacks against the powerful Orange defensive front, but none of them made a difference. The Panthers made six sacks and held Northern to four first downs.
The Knights’ Atavion Oliver blocked two punts, both of which set up Northern for drives in the Orange red zone. Yet each both of them ended with three-and-outs.
Riverside falls at Fuquay-Varina
FUQUAY-VARINA Fuquay-Varina 34, Riverside 20: Despite worries about a lingering knee injury, Eric Sugarman rushed for 220 yards on just 11 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Fuquay-Varina to a 34-20 win over Riverside.
The ground-pounding Bengals held Riverside to just 13 plays in the first half, seven of which came during the final 90 seconds as the Pirates scrambled to make something happen.
On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Sugarman raced 86 yards untouched to the end zone.
“It started off right on the first series,” Sugarman said. “We got a big play, and that’s all we need to get ahead. From there, it took hold. Defense played well, and offense was moving the ball.”
On their next possession, the Bengals covered 75 yards on 17 plays in 9:23. Damarus Williams finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD plunge.
Williams’ ground-and-pound style nicely complimented the speedy Sugarman. Williams finished with 56 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and the Bengals ran for 343 yards on the night.
Fuquay escaped midway through the second quarter when Riverside recovered a muffed punt at the Fuquay 10-yard line. The down was replayed due to an illegal shift. Fuquay fielded the punt, and Sugarman scored on the first play of the drive on an 80-yard run to put the Bengals up 20-0.
Fuquay found the end zone one more time just before the half, when tight end Jake Slater hauled in a 14-yard pass from quarterback Brycen Braswell.
While Sugarman stole the show, the Bengals’ defense deserves as much credit. They held Riverside to just 13 plays in the first half, seven of which came during the final 90 seconds as the Pirates scrambled to make something happen. When Fuquay comfortably led 27-0, the Bengals had run 31 plays against the Pirates’ 13. Defensive end Ryan Fealey recovered two fumbles.
Riverside quarterback Diante Strothers scored on runs of 1 and 13 yards in the second half, and tailback Frank Adams punched one in for the Pirates as time expired.