by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
HOLLY SPRINGS— Despite 68 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense combined, it was the Wakefield defense that may have made the difference in the Wolverine’s 40-28 win against Holly Springs Friday night.
Wakefield was able to get a key stop on the Golden Hawks with a little more than one minute remaining in the game.
The Golden Hawks, behind 28-33, were threatening with a fourth-and-three situation on the Wolverine’s 5-yard line when junior linebacker Marcus Spell read the play differently.
Spell made a huge stop keeping Holly Springs out of the end zone and any chance the home team had of gaining a lead.
“Marcus was a junior varsity defensive lineman that we moved to linebacker in the offseason,” said Wakefield coach Rod Sink. “He is a young man that plays with passion and heart that inspires his teammates.”
Wakefield took over on their own 12-yard line and following two timeouts sealed the win when running back Kelton Whitehead raced 88 yards for his second touchdown. He led the Wolverine’s rushing attack with 183 yards on 14 carries.
“My teammates opened a big hole for me and I was just able to score,” said Whitehead, who is not fully recovered from knee surgery this summer. “I’m not in great shape, but I’m feeling good.”
It also didn’t hurt that senior Wolverine quarterback Evan Brabrand had a magical night behind center for the first time since his junior varsity days.
Showing an array of skill, Brabrand completed 21 of 35 pass attempts to nine different receivers, compiling 300 yards in the air and tossing four touchdown passes.
“All the receivers have worked hard to get open, which made my job pretty easy,” Brabrand said. “We knew Holly Springs is a big physical team and I knew we had to fight to grab the lead.”
Brabrand, a linebacker for most of his varsity career, said it was a little different not going on out on the field with his defensive team.
“It felt strange when the defense started out and I was on the sidelines, but I was more excited than anything else,” he said. “I felt pretty comfortable because we had a good week of preparation so I felt we were ready.”
When Brabrand needed to complete short throws, he threw over the middle of the field to his running backs David Chavis, Lucas Tine and Whitehead.
Then he spread the field, throwing to the outside for large gains to receivers Jake Butler, Mike Shelton, Josh Lowery, Omari Williams, Tim Adams and Marius Cooper to keep the chains moving.
“Evan looked good,” Sink said, “especially since he has not played quarterback in a while. I was very pleased with his performance.”
Sink said his plan going into the game was to find out who his team was going to be that night. “If we were more successful running the ball, then we’d run,” he said. “If our passing game was working, we’d pass more.”
“Offensively, we had and still have a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Sink went on to say. “On Friday, we saw that it is going to take an overall team effort for us to be successful.”
Holly Springs lost their opener to Heritage while Wakefield was playing its first game of the season, making the game significant for both sides.
“I expected a good fight from Holly Springs after their loss to Heritage,” Sink said. “They played hard and we expected that from them.”
The Golden Hawks saw offensive efforts from running backs Trey Staten and Kelvin Wilson, who chalked up 195 and 92 yards, respectively.
Holly Springs finished with 514 yards while the Wolverines had 543 total yards.
The Wolverines will host a 0-2 Northern Durham team in a non-conference game tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m.
“We’re looking for them to give us their best shot,” Sink said. “Northern Durham is a program with a rich tradition of good football teams.”
“Being that it is still early in the season, I am sure their coaches and players are working to find ways to improve and right their season,” Sink added.