KNIGHTDALE — Heritage witnessed the speed of Knightdale but caught a break when it would have hurt the most and held on to top the Knights 23-22 on Friday.
The break came in the form of a holding call that nullified what would have been a 71-yard rushing score by Knightdale quarterback Marquavious Johnson. It would have put the Knights up by at least 5 points nearing 2 minutes left in the game.
“They have incredible speed and it worries every coach that has to face them,” Huskies coach Jason McGeorge said of the Knights. “We got the play called back and the kids got a chance to keep going, but the game wasn’t one play. It was a back-and-forth game and with two very good teams.”
Heritage (2-1) scored first as Matt Sattler punched in a 22-yard field goal with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
Two plays later, Eric Thornton intercepted a Johnson pass and set Heritage up with a drive starting at the Knightdale 32 yard line. Greg Clifton made it count with a 10-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter. Sattler hit the extra point to give the Huskies a 10-0 lead.
Knightdale (2-1) got its first points from a 28-yard screen pass from Johnson to his brother, Marcell Johnson, with a minute left in the first half. Taylor Betts’ extra point attempt squared the upright, leaving the Huskies up 10-6 at the break.
The Knights were held to just 11 yards rushing in the first half, but their running woes ended on the first drive of the third quarter.
Nate Harvey trucked in from 38 yards out and Chris Malone’s 2-point conversion got the Knights back on track with a 14-10 lead. On the next drive, a Justin Blango interception of a pass by Huskies quarterback Blake Walters set up a 1-yard score by Marquavious Johnson, who added a 2-point conversion to put Knightdale up 22-10.
It took Heritage less than two minutes to march back into the red zone and score on fourth down on a 12-yard strike from Walters to Jalen Parson. Sattler’s extra point cut Knightdale’s lead to 5 points.
The Huskies got the winning score after Justin Nwachukwu intercepted a Johnson screen pass at the midway point of the fourth quarter and returned it to the Knights’ 35 yard line. Walters again targeted Parson for a 37-yard touchdown pass over the middle. A 2-point attempt by Heritage failed.
Johnson fumbled while scrambling under pressure and the Knights recovered but turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute to play. With no timeouts left for Knightdale, Heritage was able to burn the clock.
Corinth Holders 33, North Johnston 12
In a game that showcased a handful of big plays, Corinth Holders had the lion’s share en route to a 33-12 victory over rival North Johnston.
A stout Pirates defense forced a pair of drive-ending fumbles and Corinth Holders made the most of its opportunities to improve to 2-1 as the Panthers fell to 0-3.
First in the opening quarter and then again in the third, the Panthers moved the ball down the field and threatened to score before turnovers did them in.
Midway through the first, after a Trey Daniels interception and return gave North Johnston the ball on the Pirates’ 17, the Pirates’ Kendrick Cobb forced and recovered a fumble before rumbling 80 yards for a momentum-swinging touchdown.
Then in the third, North Johnston seemed poised to chip away at a two-score deficit before fumbling on the Corinth Holders’ 23.
“I think we just developed some more toughness,” Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt said. “We had some adverse situations and we just kept playing and definitely did enough good things to win.”
Tori Carmichael did his part in providing the Pirates some spark. He returned the opening kickoff 68 yards to the Panthers’ 17 to set up Butler Collins’ 4-yard rushing score three plays later for an early Corinth Holders lead.
Carmichael capped off his night and iced the game with a 54-yard punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Despite Carmichael’s big plays, North Johnston senior quarterback Montie Walker spearheaded a solid effort from the host Panthers, rushing for 128 yards and a score and throwing for 137 more yards.
Quamel Kenion toughed out 63 yards and a score on the ground, while Gregory Bryant hauled in six catches for 65 yards to lead North Johnston.
Corinth Holders signal caller Cole Sakowski threw for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Millbrook 20, East Wake 14
Millbrook quarterback Reid Herring drove the Wildcats the length of the field before throwing the game-winning touchdown pass with 43 seconds left in a 20-14 nonconference win over East Wake.
The Wildcats had taken a 14-0 lead when Marcus Marshall returned the second half kickoff 95 yards. Daminick Wilkins later ran nine yards for a touchdown in the third period for a 14-0 lead.
The Warriors (1-2) had a 10-minute drive in the first quarter, but came away empty when the Wildcats (2-1) stopped a fourth down play at the 3-yard line. East Wake fought back to tie the game 14-14 in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Damontay Rhem before Herring led the late drive.