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Talented Wake Forest turns to depth to beat Knightdale

The season-opening loss that ended Wake Forest’s 45-game winning streak is another week in the rear view mirror. The three-time defending state champs have now won six straight – all by double figures.

Knightdale was this week’s victim as the Cougars rolled to a 41-14 victory in the Northern 4A Conference opener for both schools Friday night at Trentini Stadium.

Wake Forest has won with plenty of stars over the years, but this game was won with depth. Senior running back Maquel Haywood left the game with a lower leg injury in the second quarter. He didn’t return, although he left the field under his own power.

The Cougars’ backs combined for 33 carries and 275 yards behind Haywood’s replacement, senior D.J. Sellers (7-69); junior Chris Moore (7-67, 1 TD); and senior Elijah Hines (8-49, 1 TD). Senior quarterback Noah Douglas scored on a 1-yard run and threw touchdown tosses of 16 yards to Haywood and 7 to Kahlil Watson.

“We have a lot of weapons on this team,” said Douglas, who was 4-of-5 for 60 yards. “We try to use all our tools and score as many points as possible.”

Despite the final score, the game started with Wake Forest fumbling the opening kickoff. The Knights had the ball at the Cougars’ 29-yard line but turned the ball over on downs. Wake Forest promptly drove 12 plays and 77 yards to score on Douglas’ 1-yard run.

From there, Knightdale not only had trouble moving the ball, the Knights gave the ball back.

On Knightdale’s second series, a bad pitched bounced free and Wake Forest senior safety Cody Britt returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Knightdale fumbled again. This time junior Triston Spencer ripped a completed pass out of the receiver’s hands, gathered the loose ball and ran 25 yards for a TD and 20-0 lead.

At that point in the game, Knightdale had run 14 plays for 19 yards total offense. Wake Forest had two fumble returns for 57 yards and two TDs.

Knightdale scored two second-half touchdowns on junior running back Trevion Cooley’s runs of 80 and 12 yards.

RECORDS: Knightdale (5-2, 0-1 Northern 4A) at Wake Forest (6-1, 1-0 Northern 4A)

THREE WHO MATTERED:

(Wake Forest – Maquel Haywood) The senior running back had 105 yards total offense in less the two quarters before exiting with 3:10 left in the first half. He carried six times for 71 yards and caught two passes for 34.

(Knightdale -- Nickili Muhammad) The senior running back/outside linebacker impacted the game on both sides of the field until he left the game with a third-quarter injury.

(Knightdale – Trevion Cooley) The junior running back’s two TD means he has nine in the last four games. He finished with 16 carries for 161 yards.

WORTH MENTIONING

--- Knightdale freshmen quarterback/outside linebacker Micah Sumpter (6-3, 210) and defensive lineman Ki’Shawn Harvey (6-2, 280) combine youth and size. Sumpter split time at quarterback and was 5-of-10 passing for 72 yards. Harvey provided push up the middle and ran down an impressive tackle for a loss. His brother, Nate Harvey is a Knightdale alum that was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, last season at East Carolina. Nate is on the New York Giants’ injured reserve list after suffering knee injury in training camp.

--- Prior to the game the Wake Forest Athletic Booster Club was presented a $10,000 donation from Wake Forest alum Richard Harris, the CEO of D&R Construction in Atlanta. Football coach Reggie Lucas, athletic director Mike Joyner and principal Patty Hamler accepted the check during an on-field presentation. Harris has donated $20,000 in the last three years.

Scoring summary

--- WF – Noah Douglas 1 run (Austin Riley kick).

--- WF – Maquel Haywood 16 pass from Noah Douglas (Austin Riley kick).

--- WF – Triston Spencer 25 fumble return (Austin Riley kick).

--- WF – Kahlil Watson 7 pass from Noah Douglas (Austin Riley kick).

--- K – Trevion Cooley 80 run (Brett Poirer kick).

--- WF – Chris Moore 15 run (Austin Riley kick).

--- K – Trevion Cooley 12 run (Brett Poirer kick).

--- WF – Elijah Hines 14 run (Austin Riley kick).

RECAPS FROM THE TRIANGLE

Apex Friendship 43, Apex 0

Cardinal Gibbons 26, Sanderson 6

Cedar Ridge 20, Chapel Hill 19

Charlotte Country Day School 45, Ravenscroft 7

Clayton 26, South Johnston 14

Cleveland 47, East Wake 0

Enloe 42, Broughton 35

Holly Springs 48, Fuquay-Varina 14

Green Hope 49, Athens Drive 16

Heritage 48, Corinth Holders 14

Garner 29, Middle Creek 21

Northern Durham 31, Orange 14

Panther Creek 41, Cary 21

Southern Durham 34 Vance County 0

Rolesville 49, Wakefield 19

Riverside 54, Hillside 28

Leesville 19, Millbrook 14

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