SHALLOTTE — West Brunswick put together the first scoring run and the last scoring spurt Friday night. The Trojans needed both of those things – and some timely defensive stops in the final four minutes – to top Corinth Holders 44-37 in the first round of the 3AA NCHSAA football playoffs.
Corinth Holders completes its season with a 7-5 record. West Brunswick (4-7) travels to Wilson Hunt (9-3) in the second round.
The Pirates went up 37-30 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Butler Collins with 1:03 to play in the third quarter, completing a 14-0 scoring run.
West was backed up on a third-and-22 from its own 30 on the next drive when Darguzas broke out of the arms of a would be sacker, scrambled and found Dillon Howard wide open for a 40-yard gain. Four plays later, on fourth-and-6 Darguzas hit Hunter Ashburn on a 26-yard TD pass up the seam to tie the game at 37.
The Pirates tried to convert on fourth-and-2 from their own 42-yard-line but were stopped a yard short, giving the ball back to the Trojans. Five plays later, Darguzas – who had a hand on every offensive TD of the night scored by West – scrambled around the right side then cut up the middle on a 24-yard touchdown run for a 44-37 lead with 1:28 to play.
“It was a game of spurts,” said Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt. “They had their spurts, we had ours. I really thought we were on the right track in the third quarter but we gave up a couple of big plays and it all turned around. The completion on the long third down hurt us on a long touchdown drive, then they caught us in a stunt on the last touchdown.”
The Pirates didn’t go away, however. Hampton Smith returned the ensuing kick off 45 yards to the West Brunswick 45. After the Trojans sacked Corinth Holders quarterback Cole Sawoski on first down, he came right back on a 38-yard connection with Tony Kirkwood to move the ball to the 13-yard-line. Kirkwood appeared to run out of bounds after the catch but officials ruled him down inbounds and the clock continued to roll forcing the Pirates to use a time out with 30 seconds to play.
A short pass moved the ball to the 11 before Sawoski tried to connect with Dymon Walker in the corner of the end zone but West cornerback Devontae Hewett got between Walker and the ball in the back of the end zone for an interception that sealed the Trojans’ victory.
“We came right back, though, got a great kick off return and moved the ball where we could score,” Honeycutt said. “We just didn’t get a couple of breaks. I thought our guy was clearly out of bounds on the long completion and then there was a lot of contact on the last play, but you’ve got to battle through those things.”
Sawoski threw for 235 yards and ran for another 66 in the loss. Walker caught two TD passes and totaled 102 yards receiving.
The first half featured the two teams trading scoring runs four times. West Brunswick went up 10-0 only to see Corinth Holders bounce back and go up 14-10. West scored the game’s next two TDs to go up 23-14. The Pirates came back with two scores in the final three minutes of the half to pull event 23 just 22.6 seconds before the half on Daniel Farmer’s 33-yard field goal.
Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest