After a lethargic first half, Thursday, West Johnston came alive in the second half and nudged Fuquay-Varina 31-27.
The Wildcats capped the comeback on Tyrone Jones’ 23-yard touchdown reception with 1:49 to play. It was their first lead of the night.
“Our kids didn’t quit,” said West coach Jimmy Williams. “We lost a lot of games like this last year - very close, very late. I credit them for hanging in. I told them we’d have to win it in the fourth quarter, and that’s what happened.”
Trailing 21-7 at halftime, the Wildcats (3-1) declared their offensive intentions on the first play of the second half. Wilson hit Josh Collier for a 65-yard TD pass. That one play nearly equaled their entire offensive output in the first half (72 yards).
Fuquay (1-2) responded with a 15-play, 7:54 drive to go back up 27-13 after Damarus Williams’ 11-yard TD run, his second of the night.
The Wildcats’ fortunes turned early in the fourth quarter when, facing a 3rd and 14 near midfield, Jones caught a pass that was tipped by two Fuquay defensive backs and raced 60 yards to the end zone to make it a one-score game, 27-19, with 11:02 to play.
After West’s defense forced the second of what would be four straight Fuquay three-and-outs, Tre Frederick cut the Wildcat deficit to 27-25 on a 1-yard run on fourth and goal with 5:17 to play.
On the game’s deciding drive, West marched 50 yards in five plays, capped by Jones’ winning TD.
Fuquay made it into the West red zone in the final minute, but defensive end Nay Fuller batted down the Bengals’ final pass of the night to seal the victory.
“Fuquay was fantastic,” Williams said. “They limited our possessions and we were fortunate to win. Our kids found a way to win in the end. You don’t apologize for winning. Fuquay played a great game, it just happened to go our way tonight.”