Tigerville, SC -- With University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt in the stands and a record crowd of almost 5,000 fans on hand, Jonas Randolph rushed for 181 yards and Richt’s son Jon threw two touchdowns, and 24th ranked (NCAA II) Mars Hill edged past host North Greenville 28-0 at Younts Stadium.
North Greenville, under first year head coach Jamey Chadwell, played even with Mars Hill through the first quarter. Richt, a transfer from Clemson, entered the game and threw a 61 yard touchdown pass to Alex Rose to put the Lions up 7-0. The Crusaders had the ball on the 28 yard line with 2:16 left in the first half and drove to the one yard line, but could not get off a play as time expired.
Mars Hill made several adjustments at halftime to counter NGU’s five man defensive front and Randolph exploded for a 10 yard touchdown with 12:44 left in the third quarter to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. Coach Tim Clifton’s team added another touchdown when Frankie Waters collected a touchdown pass from Luis Cruz with 1:49 left to garner a 21-0 lead.
The Lions completed the scoring when Chad Fekany hauled in Richt’s second touchdown pass from 15 yards out with 7:25 remaining the game to make it 28-0.
Mars Hill dominated on the offensive side of the ball, gaining 401 total yards to only 153 for NGU. “We didn’t know much about NGU going into the game, but they have an excellent football team,” Clifton said. “They’re a young team with a lot of good players and they will continue to improve. Once we figured out how to attack their defensive front, we made some things happen.”
“We were in the red zone four times in the game and we didn’t get any points, and that made a major difference in the game, Coach Chadwell said. The first year coach got a tremendous effort from his defense, but could not punch any points in despite three times in side the zone on offense and a missed field goal. “I was pleased that we kept playing until the end. The effort was there. We did not give up and kept after it. The defense kept us in early, but we needed to score. We felt like if we could get a few points, we might have a chance. Their running back (Randolph) is a good player and that made a difference.”
Richt finished the game with 5-14 with 116 yards and two touchdowns. Richard Harb was 10-29 passing, and freshman running back Montez Hatten had 62 yards in his first game for NGU. Doug Wilson had a 50 yard interception return for the Crusaders in the fourth quarter.
The Crusaders will travel to Wingate (NC) next Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. contest.