After graduating 1,600-yard rusher Damarus Williams last year, the big question for the Fuquay-Varina Bengals entering the 2015 season was who was going to fill those shoes?
The answer: everyone.
Seven Bengals, including quarterback Brycen Braswell, combined for 368 yards on the ground as Fuquay-Varina put away visiting Harnett Central 41-12 Friday.
The Bengals piled up a 35-0 halftime lead and improved to 6-1 in their last seven home openers. Despite being separated by just 12 miles, Friday was the first meeting between the teams since 2008.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Michael Roberson (107 yards rushing), Isaac Morgan (77), Josh Arrington (58), Braswell (57) and Colten Smith (50) all took turns toting the rock for Fuquay-Varina, which also got a pair of defensive touchdowns from Trey Thorton and Cammron Milligan.
The Bengal defense was able to stave off a no-huddle, quick-tempo Trojan offense and an 18-completion coming-out party for quarterback Hunter Mullins.
“Harnett Central gave us some problems but we kind of figured it out,” Bengals coach Jeb Hall said. “I kind of challenged the defense to carry us because I thought it might take the offense a little while to get rolling. The defense – I don’t want to say they surprised me – but they really got it done tonight.”
With the Bengals leading 6-0 midway through the first quarter, John Royal blocked a punt and recovered the loose ball at the Trojan 25-yard line. That set up Braswell’s 12-yard touchdown strike to Roberson and a 13-0 lead.
They said it
“That was kind of one of those ‘when it rains, it pours’ there for a minute. It kind of snowballed on us there. We dug ourselves a hole and we just couldn’t climb back out of it,” said Harnett Central coach Dave Thomas on falling behind 13-0 after running just four offensive plays.
Three who mattered
Michael Roberson, Fuquay-Varina: The new A-back rushed for 107 yards – including a 50-yard scamper on the first series of the game – on a collection of end-arounds and backward throws. The junior also reeled in a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Hunter Mullins, Harnett Central: After attempting just four passes as a sophomore last season, Mullins completed 18 of his 29 throws for 88 yards Friday while also picking up another 41 yards on the ground.
The Bengals offensive line: Rodney Hawkins, Taylor Blalock, Ben Winkler, Kevin Martinez and Jake Slater cleared the way for the Fuquay-Varina ball carriers.
By the numbers
78: Seconds separating defensive touchdowns in the second quarter by Fuquay-Varina. Milligan recovered a fumble in the end zone and on the ensuing Trojan drive, Thorton picked off a pass and raced 75 yards for a score.
235, 14: First-half yards rushing by Fuquay-Varina and Harnett Central, respectively.
1: Punts by the Bengals.
8: Receptions by Trojans wideout Qyrell Street.
0: Career pass completions by Harnett Central quarterback Hunter Mullins before Friday night.
18: Completions by Mullins against the Bengals.