With less than 30 seconds to play and Fuquay-Varina furiously driving for the tying touchdown, Middle Creek defensive back Yorick Sands found himself on an island – two receivers running toward him with no help nearby.
Sands wisely split the difference, then jumped on the ball after it was thrown and intercepted it in the end zone to allow the Mustangs to survive Fuquay-Varina 33-27.
“Both of them were open, so I just stayed in the middle until he threw the ball,” said Sands, who finished the regular season with eight interceptions. “I knew if we did the right things, kept our minds in the game, we’d win. It only took one play. It was a big play, and I’m thankful for it.”
Though the Mustangs defense held out and preserved the win, Fuquay-Varina gnashed them for 346 rushing yards. Damarus Williams went for 177 yards, and Colten Smith added 114. The duo accounted for all four of the Bengals’ touchdowns on runs of 41, 31, 21 and eight yards.
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“Fuquay runs a really good offense teams aren’t prepared for,” said Middle Creek coach Mike Castellano. “We didn’t execute, but we’re happy to get the win and we’re happy our offense put a lot of points on the board.”
Middle Creek quarterback Brant Grisel threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, and Elijah Perry rushed for 87 yards and two TDs. Kicker Michael Rubino converted first-half field goals from 34 and 37 yards.
Rubino’s punt with 4:02 to play pinned the Bengals at their own 1-yard line, the fourth drive of the night Fuquay began inside their own 10. They went 13 plays – converting two converting two fourth downs along the way – before Sands’ interception in the end zone ended the game.