Fuquay-Varina waited 665 days to return to its renovated stadium on its essentially new campus off Highway 55.
The Bengals rewarded what coach Jeb Hall called an “electric” and “amazing” crowd with a 17-10 win over rival Holly Springs, their first win at their traditional home in nearly two full calendar years.
Before Friday, Fuquay-Varina’s most recent home win was a 28-26 victory over Middle Creek, another nearby rival, on Nov. 8, 2019. The Bengals spent last spring’s abbreviated campaign on the campus of the new Willow Springs High School.
Fuquay-Varina (3-0) appeared to be on pace for overtime for a second consecutive time at “home,” though the previous home game was at Willow Springs. The Bengals were unable to capitalize on an early fourth-quarter interception that set their possession at Holly Springs’ 28 yard line with the score tied at 10.
Connor Scherpereel made certain Bengals partisans who attended the early season happy homecoming could get home before 10. Scherpereel rushed 10 times for 60 yards on the game winning drive that began near the fourth quarter’s 6:30 mark. Fuquay-Varina used approximately six minutes of the game clock before the big fullback dove left of center and into the end zone for the game winning touchdown with 31.7 seconds to play.
“Connor was amazing on that drive,” Hall said. “He wanted it. I told him big time players step up in big time situations, and he did it.”
Scherpereel converted a fourth-and-one from the four-yard line for three yards with 1:07 to play. He had preceding runs of 19 and 12 yards on his team’s final drive.
Bengals kicker Matt Jones — whose 22-yard field goal knotted the score at 10 with 11:54 to play — cemented the final score after Scherpereel’s dive.
Holly Springs (1-2) had won three straight meetings over Fuquay-Varina before Friday. The Bengals remain unbeaten. They were new to the Triangle area Sweet 16 this past week at No. 12 after being unranked in Week 1.