Published: Nov 04, 2011 11:56 PM
Modified: Nov 05, 2011 12:06 AM
FUQUAY-VARINA - There were two teams on a soggy football field in southern Wake County trying to do the same thing - run the ball - when Fuquay-Varina and Fayetteville Seventy-First battled in the first round of the NCHSAA 4AA Mideast playoffs.
The Bengals (10-1) had the better night, rolling up 329 yards on the ground, getting 195 of them and two touchdowns from Carlton Bridges, who led all rushers in the game. Fuquay prevailed 29-14 to advance to a second round match-up with bitter Tri-Nine conference rival Middle Creek.
Bridges and the Bengals stunned 71st with a 50-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game. But the Falcons regained their composure before the end of the first quarter with a 6-yard scoring run from Eric Carter. The two-point conversion failed.
Fuquay quarterback Evan McNeil hit tight end Jon MacBride in the end zone with a 12-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Then Bridges was at it again, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run. Andrew Sotak added all three extra points and Fuquay led 21-6.
The Falcons scored before intermission with a one-yard scoring run from quarterback, Sammy Gray. Gray also ran in the two-point conversion to close to within one touchdown, 21-14 at halftime.
There was only one more score the rest of the way, and McNeil got it for the Bengals. The senior added a rushing touchdown on a 3-yard run, then found the end zone again for the two-point conversion.
The Bengals entered the playoffs following a bye week. Fuquay coach Ryan Habich said he was worried, about the time off, but his team had a good week of practice.
We challenged our guys all week about being Fuquay tough and matching their toughness, he said.