Oct 25, 2008
CARY — With two seconds on the clock at Cooper Field, Apex running back Kevin Fogg walked down his sideline, shaking his head in disbelief and exhaling massive sighs of relief.
The Cougars scored two touchdowns in the final 2:30, including Brandon Carr’s 23-yard game-winning reception with 11 seconds to play, and Apex escaped Cary with a 24-17 win.
“I told them if you’re going to be a good football team, you’ve got to have some wins like this, when you don’t play particularly well but you win it at the end. I’m just really proud of them,” said Apex coach Bob Wolfe. “They did a super job to come back and not quit.”
Apex quarterback Houston Hawley overcame three interceptions to lead Cougars on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and finish 18-of 31 for 298 yards.
“The team showed a lot of resiliency,” Hawley said. “We came together. Even after all those picks, the team backed me up. They wouldn’t let me keep my head down. That’s why we came back and won. Nobody doubted me. I knew I could do it, but I needed their help to get me to realize that everything was going to be fine. We had to come together as a team and it all worked out.”
Down 17-10 with 6:03 to play, Hawley guided the Cougars on a 12-play, 47-yard drive that ended with Fogg’s three-yard touchdown run with 2:30 to play. After Cary jumped offside on the extra point try, Wolfe called a timeout to discuss going for two and the lead. He chose to go for the tie, and placekicker Lee Drago split the uprights to even the game 17-17.
After the Apex defense held Cary to three-and-out on its next series, the Cougars took over at their own 47 with 1:23 to play.
Hawley completed a 17-yard pass to Fogg, then a seven-yard pass to Parker Harrell, before lofting a 23-yard pass to Carr in the front corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score. Earlier in the drive, Apex ran the same play, but Hawley overthrew Carr.
“Houston threw me the first pass, I didn’t actually know it was coming,” said Carr, who had four catches for 78 yards. “It kind of slipped off my hand. After that, I was like, they’ve got to call the same play. Just throw it to me, and I’ve got it. He threw it to me, and I got a good push off and I found it in my hands in scored.”
The last-minute heroics brought to a close a dominant second half for Apex. The Cougars held a nearly six-minute advantage in time of possession, and their defense held the Imps to 28 yards of total offense and no first downs.
Cary could’ve broken the game open in the first half had it taken advantage of its field position. The Imps started four of their five first-half possessions in Apex territory, including two after Bryan Wilson recovered onside kicks.
“I’m proud of the way our guys played,” said Cary coach Ben Kolstad. “They fought hard and came up on the short end, but they played their hearts out. We didn’t make the plays we needed to, and they did. That was the difference.”
Apex struck quickly for the game-opening score. On the first play from scrimmage, Hawley hit tight end Rob Fronk over the middle, and Fronk spun away from two would-be tacklers and raced to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown.
But Cary came right back. Bryan Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Apex 25-yard line. Three players later, Ralph Champan scored on a 17-yard run to tie the game 7-7 with 9:58 to play in the first quarter.
Later in the first, Cary’s Dujuan Chambers intercepted a Hawley pass at midfield and returned it to the Apex 9. Three plays later, Cary quarterback Daniel Steed plowed into the end zone from a yard out to give the Imps a 14-7 lead.
Cary’s Will Gilfillan and Apex’s Drago traded field goals from 20 and 27 yards respectively in the second quarter, which gave the Imps a 17-10 lead at the break.
Contact Tim Candon at 821-8697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.