High School Sports

WF-R roughs up Apex, 35-7, moves on to East final

Posted November 28, 2008
Updated December 1, 2008

WAKE FOREST — Asked after Friday’s 35-7 win over Apex how it felt to be taking Wake Forest-Rolesville to next week’s 4-AA East Regional final, WF-R coach Earl Smith paused for a moment, as if not sure how to answer the question.

But Smith needed that moment since he’s never gotten to answer that particular query. Next Friday’s visit to Fayetteville Britt will be the first time Smith and the Cougars will play in a regional final.

“Great,” Smith said. “It took me 32 years, but here we are. It’s great for the program. How far we’ve come in five years is just amazing.”

The Cougars are here after a dominating performance against Apex at Trentini Stadium on Friday. WF-R forced five turnovers and held Apex to 239 yards of total offense.

After Apex marched down the field on the game’s opening drive, WF-R didn’t let them near the end zone again. On its next two red zone possessions, Apex came away with no points and two turnovers.

“We missed opportunities on scoring some, but some of that was due to them and some of that was due to us,” said Apex coach Bob Wolfe. “They’re a super football team.”

Offensively, the Cougars rolled up 305 rushing yards and four of their five touchdowns were on the ground. WF-R did that against a defense that had allowed 232 rushing yards and no TDs in its previous two playoff games.

“The offensive line did what they’ve done every week, they blocked great,” said WF-R’s Trea Jones, who ran for a team-high 137 yards and a touchdown. “If you can get around the line, and you’ve got a hole, that’s easy. And they were opening up the holes. All we had to do was cut up field.”

Though the WF-R rolled to a 28-point win, it was not a perfect showing. Quarterback Tim Hartman was intercepted twice, once by Josh Powell in the second quarter and once by Bo Ogunnowo in the third, and Apex nose tackle Lewis McAlister jumped on a fumble in the third.

But after each of those turnovers, WF-R’s defense had an answer. WF-R held Apex to three-and-out after the first two turnovers. After the fumble, Apex drove to the WF-R 9-yard line, only to have Logan Welsh intercept a pass in the end zone. Welsh also recovered a fumble earlier in the game.

But Apex was sharp from the outset. Quarterback Houston Hawley guided his team on an eight-play 69-yard drive to the end zone. Hawley was 5-for-5 for 42 yards on the drive, including a five-yard TD pass to tight end Rob Fronk, who finished the night with seven catches for 131 yards.

But that was as successful as the Apex offense got. On its next possession, WF-R linebacker Taylor Jenks hit Hawley as he got rid of the ball on an incomplete pass. On the next play, defensive end Keaton Epps nearly intercepted a screen pass. On the punt, WF-R’s Marcus Jones nearly blocked it. And that set the tone for the remainder of the game.

“Defense, they turned it around,” Jones said. “They turn it up like that, it helps the offense.”

Sparked by their defense, WF-R’s offense turned around and went 45 yards in eight plays, with Brexton Young (16 carries, 106 yards) scoring on a two-yard run.

WF-R took the lead for good early in the second quarter when Hartman tossed an eight-yard TD pass to Torrey White.

Apex had a chance to tie the game before the end of the first half, but came up short. The Cougars marched inside the WF-R 10-yard line in 11 plays, but the drive stalled at the 5-yard line. On fourth and 1, Wolfe chose to go for the first down, and WF-R’s Epps stuffed Rob Conolty at the line of scrimmage for no gain and a turnover on downs.

WF-R went up 21-7 after driving 62 yards in eight plays to open the third quarter. Jones scored on a one-yard run.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Darren Kirby intercepted Hawley near midfield and returned it to the Apex four-yard line. Four plays later, Hartman plowed into the end zone from a yard out, putting the Cougars up 28-7 with 5:38 to play.

James Harris tacked on the final score with 1:47 to play on a 31-yard run, where he broke away from three would-be tacklers in the backfield, then got a huge block from Hartman to spring him free to the end zone.

Contact Tim Candon at 821-8697 or tcandon@wral.com.


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  • honkodeler Nov 30, 2008

    theres gonna be alot of colleges missing out on k-fogg and rob fronk if they dont get some offers soon..

  • jrcostilow Nov 29, 2008

    yeah I mean he lost like 10 yards on that run at first, three of our guys hit him good but nobody wrapped up and he just ran right away from them. It seemed like our guys played hard the whole game, things just didn't work out for us when we needed them. I thought our special teams didn't not play very well, but the main problem was turning the ball over when we were in scoring position, just like in the Millbrook game, and Fuquay. I don't know what the problem was for us all year, we just had a hard time getting the ball in the end zone after putting together a nice drive. Hated to see those seniors go out like that, especially Rob after working so hard in that game. Oh well, good season.

  • honkodeler Nov 29, 2008

    yeah i agree jrcostilow...wfr's backs definitly had something different about them, its the only time i've seen our defense struggle to tackle a whole team that badly...especially that last TD run that 3 people missed one of their guys in the backfield..ugh.

  • dfmlythr Nov 29, 2008

    WFR is going to the bone yard next week good luck!?!?!

  • mccraywesley Nov 29, 2008

    Ha....Haha. Looks like Nick was right all along for all of those people who complained about his top ten all year. WFR is simply the best team the triangle has to offer. Big ups to WFR.

  • Cheermom Nov 29, 2008

    A great effort by Apex...they scared the heck out of us in the opening drive. WFR had to turn it up and did. Thanks for an awesome game.

  • jrcostilow Nov 29, 2008

    Looked like our defense forgot how to tackle somewhere between Wilmington and Wake Forest. Wake Forest - Rolesville was too big and too fast, and we squandered too many great opportunities. They were the better team and they flat out beat us. This was an absolute embarrassment. It was 21-7 with i think about 5 minutes and some change to go, that would have been a somewhat respectable loss I think. But to give up those last two touchdowns the way we did was absolutely embarrassing and gave me a sick feeling as I watched the wheels come off. But anyway, at least we had our first 10 win season since 2004. Hats off to Wake Forest - Rolesville.

  • honkodeler Nov 29, 2008

    definitly not the way i wanted our season to end, obviously...
    i feel like the game might've turned out differently had we scored that one time in the red zone to tie it up. with that said, wfr won and definitly deserved to...they just straight up outplayed us, and thats pretty tough for me to say