By DAVE MALENICK
APEX – Apex rolled up 353 yards on the ground en route to a dominating 34-7 victory over Tri-Nine rival Holly Springs on Homecoming night Friday.
Apex (2-6 overall, 1-4 conference) claimed its first conference victory of the year and remains alive to reach the postseason. The Golden Hawks (1-8, 0-6), who won their season opener against Southeast Raleigh, have dropped eight consecutive games.
The Cougars scored 21 points in the opening period.
Apex senior Adam Nelson tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Knox for the Cougars first score.
Holly Springs tied the contest 7-7 following K.J. Herndon’s three-yard run.
From that point it was all Apex. Quincy Mangum scored the first of his two touchdowns on a nine-yard run, and then Nelson raced 52 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the quarter.
The Cougars led 31-7 at halftime, as Mangum added a 31-yard touchdown run and kicker Alex Calogero booted a 42-yard field goal in the second period.
Calogero connected on a 37-yarder on Apex first possession of the second half to end the scoring.
“This is a really great win for the team and our kids,” said Apex head coach Bob Wolfe. “We have not run the ball as well this year but this week we spent more time on the option and went back to basic fundamentals. Our O-line blocked much better tonight.”
The Cougar offensive line paved the way for both Knox and Mangum to rush for 83 yards apiece. Nelson led Apex with 14 carries for 136 yards. Wolfe praised his senior QB for making great reads on the option.
Wolfe was also very pleased with the Cougar defense, which forced two turnovers and limited the Hawks attack. The first turnover was on the game’s second play, setting the tone for the game.
“That opening set the tempo,” Wolfe said. “I was just excited about our team being so excited to play. It was fun to see.”
Apex plays at winless Green Hope next Friday.