Jacksonville, Fla. – North Greenville (1-2), powered by three Willy Korn touchdown passes in the second quarter and a dominant running game, downed Edward Waters College 44-14 to capture its first win of the season.
The Crusaders got off to a slow start in the first quarter, falling behind 14-0 after two touchdowns by EWC quarterback Brandon Turman who scored the first on a 55 yard quarterback sneak and the second on a four yard pass to Samuel Charles. However, the NGU defense ignited the rally as cornerback Jereme Green intercepted a Turman pass and freshman Marcus Wilson scampered in from 26 yards out for a NGU score on the next play. Trey Walpole’s extra point made it 14-7. Jamey Chadwell’s defense generated the energy that led to NGU’s second score as well. Tyran Melvin recovered a Turman fumble on the next series and Korn found a wide open Kamrie Connell on the first play from scrimmage from 27 yards out for the touchdown. Walpole’s extra point tied the game 14-14 with 11:29 left.
Edward Waters moved the ball on their next possession to midfield, but the Crusaders got a sack from Steffan Bynoe that forced a punt. EWC’s Joe Martin’s kick traveled only six yards and NGU had excellent field position at the 35 yard line. NGU earned two first downs on six consecutive rushes, and Korn tossed his second TD pass to Sean Wright from five yards out with 3:42 left in the half. Walpole again booted the extra point and NGU went up 21-14.
NGU’s defense stiffened again and another short punt gave the Crusaders the ball at the Tiger 39 yard line with 2:27 remaining. One area the NGU coaching staff had been adamant about improving was finishing drives and scoring before the half ended. The hard work succeeded as Korn hit freshman Freddie Martino for a 25 yard gain and a first down on a third down play. He again hit Martino two plays later from 11 yards out for yet another touchdown with 1:12 left. Walpole’s extra point was wide and the Crusaders took a 27-14 half time lead.
The Crusaders maintained their momentum from the first half as they held Edward Waters on their first possession of the half and took over at their own 23 yard line. Freshman running back Anthony Johnson popped a 60 yard rush on first down (the longest running play this season), and Martino took a handoff wide for a three yard touchdown two plays later. Walpole’s extra point gave NGU a solid 34-14 lead with 11:09 left in the third.
After yet another three and out series by the Tigers, North Greenville took over at its own 25. Chadwell inserted yet another set of freshman running backs in Eric Beeks and Kyle Peck, and sophomores Jacob Lee and Justin Bishop had key catches in the drive. Peck, a native of Lakeland, Fla., scored his first career touchdown on an eight yard dash with 2:07 left in the third period. Walpole’s point after gave NGU a solid 41-14 margin. Peck’s TD capped an 11 play 75 yard drive.
North Greenville and Edward Waters traded field position until Walpole made his second field goal of the year from 21 yards out to give the Crusaders a 44-14 margin with 7:07 left.
The Crusaders completely dominated the statistics in the game, outgaining the Tigers 461-177. The 461 yards were the most by an NGU team since piling up 527 vs. UNC-Pembroke on Nov. 10, 2007. The biggest key in the game was the running game of North Greenville. Ten different Crusaders rushed for 357 yards, led by Johnson’s 78 on five carries. Marcus Wilson had 53, Eric Beeks 52, and Kyle Peck 47. Korn finished the day at 8-14 passing with three touchdowns, 104 yards and no interceptions.
A.J. Jones had an interception for the Crusaders and Jamarius Robinson and Tyran Melvin led NGU in tackles with four apiece.
"Our guys came out a little sloppy in this game, but three straight weeks on the road might have taken a toll,” Chadwell said after the game. “We corrected our mistakes and I’m happy we were able to come away with the first victory of the season." Willy Korn, who threw the ball with precision when the NGU running game gave him plenty of time, said, “We have a great receiving crew. There is a lot of talent out there that gives us the chance to spread out and throw the ball downfield."
North Greenville will return home next Saturday night, Sept. 18 to host Lenoir Rhyne of the South Atlantic Conference at 7:00 p.m. Ironically, the Crusaders will also host Edward Waters in Tigerville on Oct. 23 to complete the home-and-home scheduling arrangement.