The North Greenville College Crusaders exploded into the 2005 football season. On the first play from scrimmage, wide receiver Bobby Pittman ran a reverse for 39 yards. On the second play, running back Travis Mosely went 26 yards for the score. After only 45 seconds of play, the Crusaders led 7-0 after an Adrian Escalona extra-point. The announced crowd of 3,225 in the brand new Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium roared with excitement. They hoped to usher in a new era of North Greenville football with a victory over the Virginia-Wise Cavaliers, but fell short by a score of 27-26.
Virginia-Wise would tie the ballgame in the middle of the first quarter on an 10 yard pass from Randy Hippeard to Blake Owens. Mosley, the team's leading rusher from a year ago, scored twice more in the first quarter. He capped off a 65 yard drive with an 11 yard touchdown, and then scored on an explosive 46 yard score with 4 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Crusaders made it a 24-7 lead with seven minutes into the second quarter on an Escalona field goal from 31 yards. Unfortunatley for the Crusaders, that was all the scoring the offense could produce. Virginia-Wise found a way to stop the running attack that earned the Crusaders an early lead, and then used a ground assault of their own to win the ballgame. Cavalier freshman Hakeem Abdul-Saboor rushed a touchdown in each of the final three quarters. He finished with a game-high 189 yards on 21 carries.
"We had a hard time stopping the run. We couldn't stop the run so they were able to stretch us both ways," said North Greenville head coach Mile Taylor. Although dissapointed with the loss, Taylor was pleased with the performance of Mosley. "He showed today that he was the best player on the field," said Taylor. "Our goal coming in was to win, but it is only one game. We have ten more to play."
The only scoring the Crusaders did in the second half was a safety following a bad snap on a punt by the Cavaliers. Hippeard completed 14 of 30 for 184 yards with one interception. Crusader quarterback Eric Moeller finished 12 of 25 for 109 yards with one interception. Joseph Rowe had six catches for 81 yards to lead the Crusaders and Ronrico Jones made the lone Crusader interception.
Although North Greenville fell in its season opener, it was an exciting day as today marked the first on-campus football game in school history. The new athletic complex was dedicated to building Godly and moral character in a pre-game ceremony in which all the donors who made the complex a reality were honored.