RALEIGH — After Holly Springs dominated Athens Drive with a series of big plays en route to its third straight victory with a 48-12 win Friday night over Athens Drive on the Jaguars’ field, it seems a fair question.
How did the Golden Hawks managed to start out 0-3?
“The mindset of this team has changed under this coaching staff,” said quarterback Will Forrestal, referring to head coach Will Orbin. “This coaching staff has taught us how to work hard and how to win. They kept us positive. The players have stayed positive. A lot of it is coming from the coaches.”
Holly Springs’ third straight win evened its overall record at 3-3 while remaining atop the SWAC with a 2-0 conference mark. Athens Drive dropped to 2-3 and 1-2 in conference play.
The Golden Hawks spread the yardage among players. Trey Staten carried 21 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns, Kelvin Wilson ran 16 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns and Jordan Kornegay caught five balls for 166 yards and one TD.
“The running game really allowed us to open up the passing game,” Forrestal said. “Early in the year we had a lot of guys in new positions and other guys injured. Now everything is coming together.”
Holly Springs jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter by breaking of big plays on their first three possessions that came after Athens Drive punts.
Staten ran 65 yards for a touchdown on the Golden Hawks’ third play of the game. On the Holly Springs’ second possession, Kornegay broke off a 45-yard run to set up a 1-yard touchdown dive by Forrestal. On the third possession, Forrestal connected on a 47-yard pass to Kornegay and a 20-yard toss to Staten before Wilson scored on a 5-yard run for a 20-0 lead.
Athens Drive trimmed the halftime deficit when Jackson Wetherby returned a kickoff 76 yards to the 17-yard line. Brandon Farley came in as a replacement at quarterback and connected with Scott Baird for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
One problem Holly Springs does need to fix is penalties. The Hawks were flagged 11 times for 125 yards.
But not even 30 yards in penalties kept the Golden Hawks from opening the third quarter with a touchdown drive D.J. Cornish finished with an 11-yard TD run for a 27-6 lead. Officially, Holly Springs drove 13 plays and 75 yards, but add in 30 yards of penalties and the Hawks had to gain 105 yards to find the end zone.