Clinton, SC –
Prior to the start of the North Greenville – Presbyterian football game at Bailey Memorial Stadium, the inflatable tunnel the Blue Hose were preparing to run out of blew over. It was probably an gloomy omen for the host team as the visiting Division II Crusaders forced four PC turnovers and outrushed their Division I opponents 283-126 to capture a satisfying 34-17 win.
NGU won its first game against Presbyterian in five tries in the series dating back to 2001.
North Greenville (2-3) got two rushing touchdowns by freshman Idris Anderson and Willy Korn (Lyman, SC) threw two touchdown passes on only nine attempts to lead the Crusaders. Korn was 5-9 for 114 yards. NGU also completely controlled the football as they led in time of possession 36 minutes to 24 for PC. Anderson (Dallas, GA) ran for 117 yards on 13 carries to pace the grinding NGU ground attack. The Crusaders rushed the ball 52 times.
The Crusaders got to the end zone first after long snapper Jack Dalton (Valdosta, GA) recovered a fumble by PC’s Michael Ruff at the 40 yard after Isaiah Johnson’s first career punt. Korn salvaged a nine play, 64 yard drive with a key third down connection to Sean Wright and a quarterback keeper that kept the drive going. Anderson broke free up middle for a big 36 yard gain to the three yard line, and then sprinted up the middle untouched on the next play for the NGU touchdown. Trey Walpole’s extra point gave NGU a 7-0 lead with 7:56 left in the first.
Coach Jamey Chadwell played gunslinger on the kickoff, as Danny Prestwood (Greenville, SC) booted an onside kick that the Crusaders barely missed recovering. PC used the good field position at the NGU 41 and Blue Hose quarterback Brandon Miley tossed a touchdown to Patrick McKoy from 12 yards out. PC tied the score at 7-7 with 5:58 left.
NGU junior quarterback Jamarius Robinson (Edgemoor, SC) thwarted another Presbyterian drive with a leaping interception with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
After the Crusaders took over at the eight yard line, on the fourth play from scrimmage, Korn used a perfect ball fake and found a wide open Freddie Martino down the field for an 82 yard touchdown. Martino’s dash was the longest touchdown reception from scrimmage since the 2006 season. Walpole’s point after gave NGU a 14-7 lead with 13:12 left in the second quarter.
Presbyterian’s offense, harassed the entire day by the ‘swarming’ NGU defense, was stymied yet again when cornerback Quantel Mack (Williston, SC) picked off Miley again with 10:58 left. After exchanging punts, PC moved to the 16 yard line when the drive stalled, and Kam Miller booted a 26 yard field goal to make it 14-10, the halftime score.
NGU could have extended its lead before intermission as Anderson burst out for another 30 yard run to the PC 20 yard line. However, Chadwell went for another score with 1:47 left and Korn’s fourth down pass to Daniel Adderly was high and PC ended the Crusader threat and headed to the locker room
Presbyterian’s attempts to get back in the game were thwarted by Chadwell’s ball control offense. Korn led NGU on another clock consuming drive culminated by his five yard touchdown pass to Sean Wright, who made a diving one handed catch on a flare pattern to the left corner of the end zone. NGU went 59 yards on 11 plays and ate up 6:57 off the clock. Walpole’s extra point put NGU up 21-10 with 8:03 left.
Two series later, North Greenville saw freshman Tyran Rucker dash in for a touchdown from three yards out with 3:41 left. Walpole’s extra point was blocked, but the Crusaders took a commanding 27-10 lead.
Presbyterian, a member of the Division I FCS Big South Conference, had some life left as Miley threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a seven yarder to Jeremy Cole with 8:18 left in the game. The extra point made it 27-17 Crusaders.
The battle worthy Crusaders responded immediately as Korn guided NGU on yet another long scoring drive, this time an eight play drive finished off by Anderson’s six yard scoring dash to finish off the Blue Hose. Walpole’s PAT made is 34-17 with 3:30 left in the game.
NGU freshman Michael Klein (Mt. Pleasant, SC) pounced on Miley’s fumble with 1:47 left and NGU ran out to the clock to secure the victory.
“A lot of people wrote us off after our close loss to Lenoir Rhyne last week, but our guys still believed,” Chadwell said. “You could see it in their eyes all week; they were angry about last week’s loss and they were ready against PC. We dominated on both sides of the ball when we needed to. We were able to run the ball effectively all afternoon, and our offensive line played pretty darn good.”
“Our defense also had a great game forcing three turnovers and two sacks, and they made big plays all day,” he added. “It was a good first win over a Division I program and I’m extremely proud of our team for hanging in there despite our record.”
“I just think it was a blessing from God,” he added. “We’ve been patient and have gotten better and better each week, and we were able to enjoy a pretty good win today.”
North Greenville will now be at home for two straight weeks for the first time since the 2006 season. The Crusaders will host Ohio State Newark Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2:00 p.m. and then have a quick turnaround to host Wright State (OH) on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7:00 p.m.