Salisbury, NC – The North Greenville University football team earned its second win in as many weeks with a 21-14 victory over the Indians of Catawba College on Saturday afternoon.
After a scoreless first quarter of play, the Crusaders put together a 10-play, 52-yard touchdown to begin the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Nelson Hughes completed a 9-yard pass to senior Troy Jones for the first touchdown of the game. A bad snap on the extra point left North Greenville with a 6-0 lead with 11:49 remaining in the second quarter.
The Indians and Crusaders traded possessions before senior linebacker Jonathon Sharpe intercepted a pass and returned it 12 yards for his first career touchdown. Hughes and senior receiver Taylor Malphrus connected for a two-point conversion to put North Greenville ahead 14-0 with 4:21 remaining in the half.
Catawba drove down the field with a 5-play, 74-yard drive to score on a 25-yard touchdown pass as the Indians cut the lead to 14-7 in favor of North Greenville at the halftime break.
The second half began as the first half ended with Catawba using a 9-play, 99-yard drive to tie the game at 14-14 early in the half as Catawba running back Xavier Bond scored from five yards out.
On the ensuing drive, North Greenville controlled ball for 5:53 with a 12-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Malphrus to give the Crusaders a 21-14 advantage entering the fourth and final quarter of play.
Sophomore cornerback Cejay Thomas intercepted a pass and junior safety Brandon Aldridge forced a fumble that was recovered by senior lineman Stefan Bynoe as the Crusader defense stood strong in the fourth quarter to claim North Greenville’s second win in a row and third of the season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Crusaders held Catawba to 306 total yards of offense, including 67 yards on the ground. Braelen Meredith continued to be a model of consistency as he led the unit with seven tackles, two sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss. Senior corner back Isaiah Johnson recorded six tackles and one tackle for loss, while fellow senior AJ Jones totaled six tackles of his own in the contest.
Hughes led the offensive unit, completing 19-of-28 pass attempts for 136 yards and one touchdown, while freshman Darius Paulk was the team’s leading rusher, recording 96 yards on 20 carries. Junior Freddie Martino led all recievers with eight receptions in the game of 60 yards, while senior Harold Small totaled 44 yards on four receptions.
North Greenville (3-6) will return home for the final two games of the 2012 season as the Crusaders will play host to Wingate University on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1:30 p.m. in Younts Stadium.