Apex Friendship forced five Cary turnovers, three in the second half, to pick up the road victory, 22-17, on Thursday night.
Patriots running back Scott Sidney sparked the team to start the third quarter, taking the second-half kickoff 90 yards to the end zone, giving Apex Friendship the lead for good. After Sidney’s kick return jolted Cary, the Imps never seemed to recover.
“They absolutely stole the momentum right there, so hats off to them,” Cary coach Jason Wilkes said. “I felt like we had momentum coming out of the locker room, and they stole it away.”
The momentum wasn’t the only thing the Patriots stole away. Apex Friendship intercepted Imps quarterback William Matejowsky three times in the second half. Christian Roundtree and Jakin Burk picked off Matejowsky on consecutive Cary possessions, and Nathan Johnson had a fourth-quarter interception. Apex Friendship also had three sacks on defense.
“Defense did fantastic,” Patriots coach Adam Sanders said. “We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to trust our guys.”
Cary got a late touchdown pass from Matejowsky to Cameron Horne with 4:27 remaining in the game, but the Imps couldn’t get a stop on the final drive as the Patriots ran out the clock.
Sidney was responsible for two touchdowns in the second half, putting the Patriots up 21-10 with an 11-yard run in the third quarter.
The two teams exchanged field goals and touchdowns in the opening half, with Apex Friendship getting a 39-yard field goal from Alan Josephson in the first quarter. The Patriots got their first touchdown of the game when Sam Lersch hit Payton Bloom for a 20-yard score right before halftime. A failed two-point conversion attempt gave the host Imps a 10-9 lead.
After the Patriots scored first, Cary got a 4-yard run from AJ Archie and a 30-yard field goal from Gerardo Rivera to take a 10-3 lead. The Imps did turn the ball over twice in the first half, both times in Apex Friendship territory.
Archie loss a fumble after a 2-yard gain in the first quarter, and Davin Vann dropped the football after a gain of 4 on fourth-and-1.
Apex Friendship failed to turn either one of those turnovers into points.
RECORDS: Cary (1-1), Apex Friendship (2-0)
THREE WHO MATTERED:
(Apex Friendship — Scott Sidney) Senior running back Sidney scored two touchdowns and turned the tide of the game with his 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“He’s been on varsity for four years,” Sanders said about Sidney. “He’s had his ups and downs, and I’m just proud of the kid he’s becoming.”
Sidney finished with 52 yards on the ground and 142 yards of total offense.
(Apex Friendship — Nathan Johnson) His third-quarter interception set up an Apex Friendship score that put the Patriots up 11 in the third quarter.
(Cary — AJ Archie) Archie was a bright spot for the Imps’ offense, finishing with 110 yards on the ground and one score.
Apex Friendship’s defense held Cary to 12 yards in the third quarter and forced two turnovers. “The number one goal was to keep the pressure,” Patriots’ linebacker Justin Reed said. “I love my whole defensive group. We knew the talent we had and seeing that all displayed on the field tonight was a great feeling.”
Apex Friendship opened in 2016 and this is just the second time they’ve started a season 2-0. “It’s good,” Sanders said. “But 2-0 is nothing unless we build off of it. They continue to take these lessons and build everyday.”
A – Alan Josephson 39-yard FG
C – AJ Archie 4 run (Rivera kick)
C – Gerardo Rivera 30-yard FG
A – Payton Bloom 20-yard pass from Sam Lersch (conversion failed)
A – Scott Sidney 90-yard kickoff return (kick blocked)
A – Scott Sidney 11 run (Josephson kick)
C – Cameron Horne 11 pass from William Matejowsky ; (Rivera kick)
Green Hope 59, Apex 23
Broughton 43, Athens Drive 22
Rolesville 34, Fike 13
Holly Springs 30, South Johnston 7