Sep 8, 2012
Pardon Wake Forest-Rolesville if they savor this one a little bit.
Even if it’s just for one night.
The Cougars (4-0) dominated in all facets of the game Friday night against Southeast Raleigh, slamming the Bulldogs on their home turf 34-7 to end non-conference play.
“It’s almost like you enjoy this briefly, and then you think about the Cap 8 and what we are about to go into,” Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Reggie Lucas said. “We regroup, hopefully we get a little healthier and we know we have an uphill battle in our conference.”
In dismantling the Bulldogs (3-1), Lucas’ squad held Southeast to minus-26 yards rushing, 68 yards passing and blocked a punt. The only blemish was a 66-yard kickoff return by Sandy Chapman in the third quarter which set up the Bulldogs’ only score a play later – a 25-yard pass from DeMontae Spence to Ezra Jeffers that make it 18-7.
But the hope for the home team was short-lived.
“We didn’t want to give them hope, but we gave them hope,” Cougars linebacker Ben Fingers said. “We came back all talking to each other to end that hope and to come back and dominate the next series.”
Fingers was a big part of that. After his team went up 21-7 on a 22-yard field goal by Drew Alvarez, the senior defender forced a fumble from Southeast’s Brandon Flint. That turnover – one of four on the night by the Bulldogs – resulted in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Fray to Sam Newhouse to make it 27-7 with 2:11 left in the third. Fray finished 6 of 12 passing for 126 yards with one TD and one interception.
In the fourth, Fingers would step in front of a Spence pass for an interception and return it 27 yards for the game’s final score with 8:51 remaining. On the play, Fingers was corralled by two Southeast defenders, but somehow popped out of the tackle backwards and to the left, where he sprinted home for the TD.
“I had so many thoughts running through my head I didn’t even know I scored,” Fingers said. “I just kept trucking, kept trucking through, but could feel my teammates keep pushing me through and somehow I busted free and I was the little engine that could and just kept piling through.”
Southeast Raleigh coach Marvin Burke was blunt in describing his team’s performance.
“We got our butts whipped,” he said pausing before continuing. “And hopefully we will learn from this to move into conference. But Wake Forest-Rolesville came on our field and whipped our butts. Point blank. Bottom line. That’s it.”
And it could have been worse.
On their first drive of the game, Newhouse dropped a wide-open pass deep in Bulldogs’ territory that would have been six. Instead, the Cougars punted.
The next Wake Forest-Rolesville drive got down to the Bulldogs’ 5, but running back Devante Reynolds fumbled.
After a Southeast fumble – recovered by Fingers – the Cougs were only 27 yards from pay dirt, but Fray was intercepted by Southeast’s Jaquell Taylor.
The Cougars also had a field goal blocked in the second quarter.
“I’ll tell you what, thinking back on the first half, we really missed some opportunities down in the red zone,” Lucas said. “We got a couple of things we need to clean up on.”
Fingers said his team knows it can’t rest on its unbeaten record. Wake Forest-Rolesville hosts Heritage (2-2), a 48-16 loser to Cleveland, in its conference opener next Friday.
“Nonconference is a whole different season,” he said. “Conference now we have a whole new approach. We have to go game by game, breaking down film like we have been. Reading our keys, learning our keys and executing our keys – that’s our big deal.”
Southeast didn’t make it any easier on itself by having a punt blocked, a punt go 3 yards and having two bad snaps from center cause losses of over 20 yards each in the first half.
“We treated this like a playoff game and we did not play like a playoff team,” Burke said. “And we are going to use this game as a learning experience, so when we go into our conference we don’t make the same mistakes we made tonight.
“Hats off to Wake Forest-Rolesville for executing and really showing us that we need to raise our level of play every game.”
The Bulldogs open up Greater Neuse River Conference play Friday at Harnett Central (2-2). The Trojans are coming off a 58-0 loss to Overhills.
Notes: The game was delayed nearly 20 minutes just two plays in after Wake Forest-Rolesville receiver Dequan Ingram was injured. Ingram was taken to a nearby hospital with a possible dislocated elbow. … The Cougars also played without injured tailback Chris Love. … Cougars’ running back Petey Williams had 90 yards on 10 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.