TIGERVILLE, SC—For the third time in as many years, UVA-Wise rallies in the second half to deal North Greenville University a heartbreaking loss. Ra’Shad Morgan scored from three yards out with 22 seconds remaining in the game to give UVA-Wise the 61-55 victory Saturday night at Younts Stadium.
Football fans in Tigerville witnessed no shortage in offensive firepower as the Crusaders and the Cavaliers combined for 1,228 yards and 116 points.
The final three minutes, however, told the story of the roller coaster game. With 2:42 on the clock, QB Eric Moeller found Matt Moore on the right side for a nine-yard touchdown. Adrian Escalona’s PAT gave the Crusaders a 55-48 lead.
Eight plays later, Cavalier QB Randy Hippeard completes a 7-yard touchdown strike to Jason Lovett to pull UVA-Wise within one point. Head coach Bruce Wasem elected to attempt a 2-point conversion, but Donovan Davis intercepted Hippeard’s pass.
With an onside kick attempt certain, NGU puts out the good-hands team, but the ball bounced between several Crusaders and UVA-Wise recovered with 1:09 remaining.
After Hippeard completed three passes, Morgan ran in from three yards out with 22 seconds left to give Wise the victory. Lance Ayers’ PAT made the score its final of 61-55.
Moore led North Greenville offensively, gaining 267 yards rushing on 21 carries and scoring four touchdowns. Moeller completed 18 or 29 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Travis Talbert led NGU in receiving with 70 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.
Another bright spot for the Crusaders was freshman Curtis Dewberry’s kickoff returns. Dewberry gained 262 yards on eight returns.
Defensively, Doug Wilson led NGU with ten tackles, three of them solo. Josh Williams, who left the game in the third quarter with an injury, had nine tackles, including six solos. Freshman LB Christian Jordan also added nine tackles for the Crusaders.
Hippeard passed for a UVA-Wise school-record 564 yards, completing 32 of 48 passes. Hippeard connected in six touchdown strikes.
Three Cavalier receivers had over 100 yards receiving. Aric Evans led the group with 212 yards and three touchdowns on six catches. Matt Barbour added ten receptions for 179 yards and one touchdown, while Jason Lovett caught nine balls for 122 yards and two scores.
NGU’s defense was able to hold Morgan to 61 yards on 21 carries.
North Greenville (0-1) will travel Fairmont State University next Saturday, while Wise (2-0) travels to Concord.