DURHAM – Coach Joe Kilby started his Apex tenure in winning fashion Friday night as the Cougars notched a thrilling 18-13 come-from-behind victory against Durham Riverside in non-conference action.
Apex, which trailed 13-0 at halftime, needed a late defensive stop deep in its territory to preserve the impressive comeback win.
Trailing by five points, the Pirates (0-2) drove 80 yards to the Apex 3 yard line with less than a minute left. But a personal foul penalty and a 15-yard sack by the Cougars’ Colton Rogers nullified the threat.
Riverside opened the scoring in the second quarter as quarterback Johnnie Bass reached pay dirt on an 18-yard run for a 6-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Marqualess Goldston returned a punt 16 yards for a touchdown to boost the lead to 13-0.
Apex nearly gave the game away on its next possession by fumbling on its own 9 yard line. But disaster was averted when Durham returned the favor two plays later with a fumble.
Apex got on the scoreboard with 5:09 remaining in the first half when running back Jereme Cleare scored on a 6-yard run. The PAT failed.
Cleare closed the gap to a single point on another 6-yard touchdown run with 9:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. Once again the PAT failed.
Riverside fumbled on its next possession and the Cougars wasted little time in taking advantage of the miscue.
Quarterback Jordan Betts scored on a one-yard keeper for an 18-13 lead with 7:49 left in the game.
Apex hosts Lee County on Friday at 7:30 p.m.