Wake Forest scored on seven straight possessions Friday and made early adjustments on defense to run away with a 45-21 win against Southern Pines Pinecrest in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA playoffs.
Senior Bryce Love and freshman Devon Lawrence each ran in two touchdowns, and quarterback Mack Moore threw for two scores – to Brooks Cunningham and Austin Hicks – in the win for Wake Forest (13-0).
“Our offense has scored quite a bit this year, so I was impressed we were able to keep up the pace, but I was extremely pleased with the way the defense responded to the early blunders,” Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas said. “I thought we bounced back and did a good job, and once we got the momentum, we kept it.”
Each time Pinecrest came up with a big play early on, the Cougars, the No. 1 seed in the East, answered to maintain control.
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When the Patriots scored on a trick pass play with quarterback Christian Ledbetter passing to Bradley Black, who fired a 73-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Cameron Brown downfield, Wake Forest blocked the extra point attempt to maintain a one-point lead.
On Pinecrest’s next possession, the Patriots got prime field position at the Wake Forest 49 but fumbled the hand-off on the first play of the drive. The Cougars’ Charlie Costantino recovered, and Wake Forest went on to score on a 33-yard Zach Coates field goal.
“These kids are unbelievable,” Lucas said. “We talk about the undefeated aspect. That is so hard to do, and they’re doing it week after week, and I’m just impressed with the way they’re doing it.”
The win helped set up a rematch with Cap Eight foe Millbrook, a 28-27 winner at Richmond County.
Wake Forest won the regular season meeting 35-10, handing Millbrook its only conference loss of the year.
“I’m scared,” Lucas said. “Two conference teams that know each other very well and, as always, anything can happen. ... Our bracket was set up that we’re going to have to play every single game, and that’s how it is.”
Lucas was back on the sideline this week after serving a three-day suspension after a DWI charge last Wednesday.
The Cougars, the 4AA runner-up last season, will host No. 5 Millbrook on Friday.