Fighting off a sluggish first half, North Greenville (5-3) scored 41 second half points and junior quarterback Willy Korn passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another as the Crusaders won their fourth straight game with a 55-27 triumph over LaGrange (GA) College.
North Greenville (5-3), which trailed 13-0 midway through the second quarter, poured it on in the second half, and finished with 505 yards of total offense, 261 on the ground and 273 through the air. Korn finished 12-15 for 220 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with sophomore Luis Hornedo on a 77 yard strike in the second half.
The Crusaders ran head first into an aggressive LaGrange game plan, and the Panthers scored the first two touchdowns of the game. LaGrange quarterback Drew Carter threw two TD's. The Panthers dominated the first half time of possession as NGU had the ball only four minutes. After NGU's Nick Rosamonda blocked the extra point after the second LaGrange touchdown with 12:45 left in the first half, the Crusaders awoke from their offensive slumber.
Coach Jamey Chadwell's team took over at their own 20 yard line after a LaGrange punt, and redshirt freshman Reggie Lewis went in and gave NGU a big spark. He led them on an 11 play, 80 yard drive culminated by Idris Anderson's two yard touchdown plunge with 5:12 left. Lewis hit Daniel Adderley on a third and 14 for 24 yards and converted a fourth and three with a five yard rush that kept the chains moving.
On NGU next possession, Korn returned to the lineup with 1:48 left and marched the Crusaders 76 yards in 10 plays and dashed in from 10 yards out with seven seconds left to make it 13-13. Korn completed five of eight passes in the drive. Trey Walpole's extra point put NGU up 14-13 at the half.
Once the teams returned to the playing field, it was all North Greenville in the second half. After Raheem Hughes returned the opening kickoff to the 22 yard line, Idris Anderson shook free on the first play from scrimmage and raced for a 73 yard explosion to the five yard line. Teryan Rucker then punched in a five yard run for a touchdown that made it 20-13 with 14:07 left.
Junior safety Nick Rosamonda made one of the defensive plays of the day for North Greenville as he intercepted a Drew Carter pass on the 15th play of a LaGrange drive and returned it to the 48 yard line. Lewis came back in and guided NGU down the field once again and Korn then connected with Luis Hornedo on a seven yard touchdown pass with 5:53 left.
A long LaGrange kickoff return combined with a NGU penalty gave the Panthers the ball at the NGU 23 yard line. The Crusaders' Black Swarm defense held and Drake Nohrwold's 40 yard field goal missed wide.
On the very next play, Korn connected with a streaking Luis Hornedo for a 77 yard touchdown pass. Walpole's extra point made it 34-13 with 5:07 left in the third. After a LaGrange touchdown, Korn then engineered a long scoring drive that consumed 11 plays and 79 yards at the end of the third quarter and deep into the fourth. He completed four passes and mixed the running of Anderson and Rucker. Isaiah Johnson completed the drive by catching a three yard touchdown pass with 9:35 left. Johnson scored his first offensive touchdown of the yard, but he has two others on long punt returns for TD's.
LaGrange managed another touchdown with 7:11 left, but attempted an onside kick. The Panthers were whistled for a false start and North Greenville got the ball at the LC 33 yard line. Rucker rushed four times in the ensuing drive and finished it off with a three yard touchdown run with 3:58 left.
The Panthers had the ball at the 20 for their last drive and after Carter was sacked by Michael Klein to the 10, LaGrange went for it on fourth down and NGU held and got the ball at the nine yard line. Anthony Johnson carried for seven yards and then fired in from two yards out for the Crusaders' final touchdown with 1:45 left in the game. Walpole kicked his final extra point to make the final score 55-27.
"I was very pleased that we were able to come on strong in the second half despite a sluggish start," Coach Jamey Chadwell said. "I was a bit disappointed in the first half because we told our players that we wanted to start fast and finish strong today. People only remember the strong finishes, so I'm happy about that."
"We had a well balanced offense today and I believe we scored every time in the second half. You have to give LaGrange credit though. They had a very good game plan that controlled the ball. I think we only had the ball four minutes in the first half. But, Nick Rosamonda's interception changed the momentum of the game and then we were able to get our offense going. Willy Korn also had a great game today handling the ball, and Reggie Lewis came in and gave us a spark when we needed it. Also, Daniel Adderly, Kamrie Connell and Charvis Claytor had big third down catches that kept the chains moving, so we had some big plays."
"Our goal this year is to have a winning season and we're one game closer to that goal. We're glad we'll have a chance to do that next Saturday at home in front of our home fans so we can showcase our program and especially our seniors one last time."
North Greenville will host Edward Waters (FL) next Saturday, Oct. 23 at 4:00 p.m. at Younts Stadium in Tigerville for Homecoming. The final two games will be at the College of Notre Dame Oct. 30 and at UNC Pembroke on Nov. 6.