Trailing by 11 at the half and staring at a possible fifth-straight setback, Faulkner head coach Gregg Baker looked to his record-setting quarterback Josh Hollingsworth to turn the tide. And the sophomore did just that, teaming with senior wideout Courtney Pete to spark a second-have explosion that resulted in a 59-49 Eagles' victory over Campbellsville here Saturday afternoon at Cramton Bowl.
Hollingsworth passed for 569 yards and six touchdowns, three of which went to Pete, who had 10 catches for 231 yards and three scores. Both players' yardage numbers are program highs, as are the six scoring tosses.
The Eagles (2-5) trailed 28-17 at the half in the Mid-South Conference cross-divisional battle, but the dynamic duo caught fire in the final two quarters, with Pete catching two of Hollingsworth's five second-half touchdown passes.
"Josh is really good at giving the receivers a great chance to make plays," said Pete, a senior, who had eight of his catches on Faulkner scoring drives. "Today we made them, and it helped earn a great win for our team. We battled back from behind and showed our character. We didn't give up on this game, just like we haven't given up on our season. Now we need to build on this."
For Baker, the victory over the Tigers (3-5), and how his Eagles went about it, was no surprise. A mid-week challenge to his team was received just as he thought it would be - with a positive approach.
"I know what this team is about, and even when we were behind we still believed we'd start making the plays we needed to win this game," Baker said. "Josh and Courtney were incredible today, but I thought a lot of players on both sides of the ball did things that greatly impacted this win. I'm very proud of this football team, and we're looking forward to another opportunity to grow and get better next week."
Nine different Faulkner receivers caught passes, with junior Chris Kordakis supporting Pete's huge game with seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Kameron Clay added five catches for 51 yards and a pair of scores. The Eagles amassed 656 yards of offense, which also is school record.
After Campbellsville scored twice in the final three minutes of the first half to build its 11-point advantage at intermission, Faulkner used the third quarter to draw closer, trailing by only 35-31 heading to the fourth quarter, due in part to a pair of Hollingsworth touchdown strikes. The fourth quarter was a wild one, with three lead changes and 42 total points scored. A Hollingsworth-to-Clay connection gave Faulkner the lead with 12:44 left, but the Tigers answered quickly. Tailback Wayne Coffee, who had 149 yards rushing, scored his fourth touchdown of the day to put Campbellsville back on top with just under eight minutes to play.
It took only four plays for Faulkner to regain the lead, with Hollingsworth and Kordakis hooking up on back-to-back plays, the final one resulting in a 2-yard touchdown pass that gave the Eagles the lead for good with 6:34 left in the game. The Eagles stopped a fake-punt attempt on the Tigers' next possession, getting the ball at the Campbellsville 44-yard line. Five plays later Ricky Barr rambled 29 yards on a toss sweep and the Eagles seemed safe, building the lead to 52-42 with 2:55 on the clock.
Campbellsville's Gerwan Brewer kept the Tigers' hopes alive, however, returning the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to trim the margin back to three points. After an onsides kick try bounded out of bounds before either team could possess it, Faulkner slammed the door with a 38-yard march for the game-clinching score, with Hollingsworth and Pete connecting on a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Faulkner travels to McKenzie, Tenn., next Saturday night to take on 14th-ranked Bethel. The game kicks off at 7.