High School Sports

Holly Springs continues hot streak, downs Athens Drive football

Holly Springs running back Broderick Taylor (14) pounds Athens Drive defenders during Southwest Wake 4A conference matchup between Holly Springs and Athens Drive that took place at Athens Drive High School on October 21, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Holly Springs defeated Athens Drive 40-14.
Holly Springs running back Broderick Taylor (14) pounds Athens Drive defenders during Southwest Wake 4A conference matchup between Holly Springs and Athens Drive that took place at Athens Drive High School on October 21, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Holly Springs defeated Athens Drive 40-14. newsobserver.com

Holly Springs is getting hot at the right time of the season. A 41-14 victory over Athens Drive on Friday was the Golden Hawks’ fourth victory in their last five games.

The prospect of getting a good seed in the looming football playoffs is looking up for Holly Springs (5-4, 4-2 Southwest Wake 4A), which finishes its schedule against Cary and Apex Friendship, two 1-win teams.

“The coaches did a great job of helping us get back to where we should be,” Holly Springs senior running back Broderick Taylor said. “We can’t take Cary and Apex Friendship lightly – we’ve still got to go there, do what we got to do, get the win and hopefully have the first home playoff game ever and get a playoff win. That’s always the goal.”

Athens Drive (3-6, 3-3), which has Friendship next week and ends with Green Hope, still has a shot at the playoffs as well, but will have to learn from its mistakes in the second half. The Jaguars didn’t score in the final three quarters and let the game slip away after being tied 14-all at halftime and 21-14 entering the fourth.

“Even though we kept it close in the third, really we never got the momentum back,” first-year Athens Drive coach Jeremy Fullbright said. “We’re still trying to figure out how, in situations like that, as a program, how to get that (momentum) back.”

TURNING POINT

Holly Springs wide receiver Bryce Wheaton had just ran for a 60-yard touchdown to take a 21-14 lead in the third quarter, and Athens Drive was driving inside the Holly Springs 10. But the Hawks’ defense stood tall as a 1st-and-goal from the 9 turned into a 35-yard blocked field goal with two runs of 0 and 3 yards and a 12-yard loss on third-down sack.

Four plays later, Broderick Taylor’s 66-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter sealed the deal.

THREE TO KNOW

Isaiah Henderson, Athens Drive: The running back was a work horse, ending with 20 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Austin Wiegers, Holly Springs: The quarterback was knicked up in the fourth quarter but moved the ball with his tough running – 73 yards on 12 carries.

Broderick Taylor, Holly Springs: He had four touchdown runs – 213 yards on 19 carries – and an important 24-yard reception on a screen pass on 4th-and-sixth to set up the Hawks’ first score.

“Our defense stepped up in the second half and Broderick stepped up in the second half,” Holly Springs coach Robert Furth said. “I don’t know what you call it, but he’s got it, and I think he’ll play at a D1 school.”

BY THE NUMBERS

1: Yards on a first-quarter touchdown run by Athens Drive quarterback Robert Ruffin to start the game.

4: Yards on a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Holly Springs wide receiver Jalon Wilson.

4: The first four drives of the game ended in touchdowns.

2: Fumbled kickoffs by Holly Springs to start the game, losing the first to Athens Drive but falling back onto the second to prevent calamity.

J. Mike Blake: 919-460-2606, @JMBpreps

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