High School Sports

Holly Springs rebounds with a big win over Panther Creek

Holly Springs Golden Hawks logo.
Holly Springs Golden Hawks logo.

Jalon Wilson and his Holly Springs football teammates were confident they would bounce back after taking one on the chin last week against Middle Creek. What they didn’t know was just how soon – or how big – the Golden Hawks would do it.

Wilson returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and Holly Springs erupted for a 64-27 Southwest Wake Athletic Conference victory over visiting Panther Creek on Friday.

“It’s probably the most perfect game we’ve had,” Wilson said. “This week in practice we were just all in and just did what we were supposed to do and came out here ready to win.”

Wilson’s opening act was continued on Holly Springs’ first play from scrimmage, when Broderick Taylor took a handoff 69 yards to set up his own touchdown for a 13-0 lead just 5:13 into the game. The floodgates never let up after that as six different Hawks found the end zone, and Holly Springs scored its most points in school history.

“They stole the momentum on the kickoff. And then they got the running game going, and we didn’t have an answer for it,” Panther Creek coach Sean Crocker said.

The Catamounts (3-5, 3-3) managed to pull within 22-14 late in the first half courtesy of a pair of Anthony Burlingame touchdown passes, but Holly Springs (4-4, 3-2) found every possible route to the end zone. The Hawks scored touchdowns rushing (two each by Taylor, Isaiah Royal and quarterback Austen Wiegers), passing (Wiegers to Bryce Wheaton), an interception return (66 yards by Dawson Wright) and on Wilson’s kickoff return. The Hawks even added a safety for good measure when a Panther Creek punt snap went into the end zone.

The game was one of polar opposite offenses: Holly Springs rushed for 397 yards while throwing for just 22 while the Catamounts rushed for only 72 yards but passed for 240.

TURNING POINT

Leading 22-14 as the clock ticked down in the first half, Holly Springs quarterback Austen Wiegers found Bryce Wheaton in the back of the end zone with three seconds remaining to push the Holly Springs lead to 29-14 at halftime. The Hawks then scored just 33 seconds into the second half after recovering a fumbled Panther Creek kickoff return.

THREE TO KNOW

Anthony Burlingame, Panther Creek: The quarterback went 19-for-34 for 240 yards and three touchdowns while also running for a score.

Justin Smalls, Panther Creek: The wide receiver hauled in six passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns and also came up with an interception on defense.

Broderick Taylor, Holly Springs: Taylor piled up 221 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on just 16 carries.

BY THE NUMBERS

9: Number of different players to score a touchdown.

4: Number of different ways Holly Springs scored touchdowns (kickoff return, interception return, rushing touchdown, and passing touchdown).

79: Total seconds it took for three touchdowns to be scored. Addison Pinkney caught a 30-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left in the first half for Panther Creek. Wheaton then caught an 18-yard touchdown pass of his own for Holly Springs with three second left. Wiegers then scored from 2 yards out just 33 seconds into the third quarter.

THEY SAID IT

“Several of my teammates told me before the game started that I was going to take one to the house if I got a kick return.” – Jalon Wilson on his game-opening kickoff return touchdown.

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