Tigerville, SC – DaRante Hunter passed for 160 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead #11 University of Charleston (W. VA) to a 34-7 victory over North Greenville at Younts Stadium.
Charleston scored first when Aaron Higdon dashed around end on a 53-yard run to put the Golden Eagles ahead. Wes Sherrill’s extra point made it 7-0 at the 12:18 mark. The Eagles scored again with 8:39 remaining in the first half when Andre Higgins caught a 76 yard touchdown pass from Hunter. North Greenville, which had its best offensive game of the year against the 8-0 Eagles, got a 24 yard run from junior receiver Marcus Middleton with 4:56 left in the first half. After Zach Sears’ extra point, the Crusaders pulled to within 14-7. However, after a short kickoff which gave Charleston the ball at the NGU 43 yard line, the Golden Eagles drove down the field and Justin Nelson caught a four yard touchdown pass from Hunter to give Charleston a 21-7 halftime lead. Charleston had 429 yards of total offense to 250 for North Greenville. Montez Hatten led the Crusaders with 73 yards rushing, Middle had 63, and Nic Williams rushed for 31 yards. After NGU and Charleston scoreless in the third quarter, the Golden Eagles put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter when Hunter drove them down the field for a quick touchdown with only 20 seconds gone in the period. Aaron Higdon added another score at 9:02 with a 31 yard run. North Greenville, which had plenty of opportunities to score against the highly ranked Eagles, went 0-3 in the red zone and threw three interceptions and lost one fumble. The NGU defense played a solid game against the Eagles. The Crusaders Nathan Batchelor picked off a pass in the third quarter and NGU also forced two UC fumbles that were recovered by Nick Rosamonda and Johnell Bell. “We went toe to toe with the #11 team in the country, and if we could have scored in the second period or made the field goal, we might have had a chance to do something,” NGU Coach Jamey Chadwell said. “We can’t beat good team when you turn the ball over and throw three interceptions. We have played a very tough schedule, and if this would have been any team besides one of the best, we could have won. The off week really helped give our offense some confidence, and I thought we executed very well. We moved the ball very well all afternoon, but we couldn’t get it in the end zone. “ “One thing I’m very proud of is that our seniors and our team could have given up long ago,” he added. “However, they know what we’re trying to build here, and they have kept playing hard. We just needed one big play to make a difference, but we didn’t get it. Our wide receivers did a great job blocking off the ball and carrying well. Marcus Middle and Nic Williams had big games for us, but when it was 14-7 and we missed the field goal and then didn’t get a touchdown, that kind of took the wind out of our sails.” “I’ve seen a lot of improvement from game one until now. We played a very difficult schedule and it’s tough to get victories. UC is a very good team and they will be in the Division II playoffs. We put a lot of pressure on them defensively, but as a coach, you want to have a win to show for it.” North Greenville will be off next weekend before returning to action on the road at Clark Atlanta Oct. 31. Their final game of the year will be at home against UNC Pembroke on Saturday, Nov. 7 with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m.