After leading 31-28 late in the fourth quarter, North Greenville (0-2) could not stop Wingate running back Nelson Wood who scored on a four-yard touchdown run with 5:55 left to guide the Bulldogs (2-0) to a thrilling 35-31 victory over the Crusaders in front of a near capacity crowd of 4,123.
NGU senior running back Rashad Cummings, who rushed for 150 yards in the game, broke a tackle on a first down play and dashed for a 91 yard touchdown toput NGU up 31-28 with 14:35 left in the game. Following Cummings’ touchdown, Wingate punter Jake Hardy pinned the Crusaders on the five yard line with 12:31 left. They then held and forced NGU to punt. Wingate took over on their own 43 and drove down the field behind Woods’ stellar running. He amassed 147 yards in the game, 142 in the second half.
The crowd, spurred on by the second annual Coach Joe’s Low Country Boil prior to the game, saw a gem. NGU led 17-7 at halftime behind two Matt Moore touchdown’s inside the last four minutes of the half.
Sophomore quarterback Richard Harb had another solid game, going 20-34 for 161 yards. The Crusaders mixed the rush and pass effectively and had a shot to win the game.
“The difference in the game was our kicking game,” NGU Head Coach Mike Taylor said. “We just couldn’t cover kicks. We gave them a short field all night and sooner or later, they’re going to beat you with it. And that’s what happened. We’ve just got to do a better job covering kicks.” NGU gave up 224 yards off kickoff returns and 60 on punt returns.
“We were playing with some injuries tonight and we had to play four true freshmen on defense and three on offense,”
“I thought we started out pretty slow, but we had a good comeback. We couldn’t get going early in the game, but we changed our snap count and were able to break some big runs. I didn’t see Rashad’s big run, but he just willed himself to score. He really wanted it and he gave us the lead.”
“We didn’t have any turnovers and Richard Harb showed a lot of poise,”
Next up for the Crusaders is a Thursday night game at #21 NCAA II Newberry College at 7:00 p.m. in Newberry.