Tigerville, SC – It was a tale of two halves for the North Greenville football team as the Indians of Catawba College used 17 unanswered points to earn a 20-17 victory over the Crusaders on Saturday in Younts Stadium.
North Greenville received the ball to start the game and immediately began clicking on offense, using a six-play, 59-yard drive to earn the early lead after sophomore quarterback Nelson Hughes connected with senior Freddie Martino on a 16-yard touchdown pass just over two minutes in to the game.
The Indians responded with a 36-yard field goal on their first drive of the game, before junior Justin Gravely knocked in a 27-yard field goal late in the quarter to give North Greenville a 10-3 lead after 15 minutes of play.
Hughes, Martino and running back Trey Walker were instrumental in putting together a 10-play, 47-yard drive at the close of the second half that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Walker to give the Crusaders a 17-3 lead at the half.
After intermission, the Crusaders and Indians traded possessions before Catawba intercepted a tipped pass and returned the ball 38 yards for a score to close within one touchdown at the end of the third quarter of play.
Catawba evened the score at 17-17 on their first drive of the second half when running back Cary Littlejohn scored from one-yard out for the Indians.
On the ensuing drive, the Crusaders drove 54 yards on 13 plays but the Indian defense received some help in stopping Hughes on the one-yard line with 5:39 remaining on the clock.
The teams traded possessions before Catawba began its final drive with just over a minute left in regulation. Four plays of over 10 yards put the Indians deep in Crusader territory with seven seconds remaining before the Indians were rewarded a controversial fourth timeout of the half, allowing for Chad Hollandsworth to set up and kick a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired to claim the three-point victory.
The Crusader offense out-gained Catawba, amassing 379 total yards on 74 plays from scrimmage. T. Walker led the way with a career-high 134 rushing yards on 26 carries with one touchdown, while Hughes finished the game 25-for-34 for 220 yards and a touchdown. Martino led all receivers with 13 receptions for 130 yards and a score as senior Mychal Cannon recorded two catches for 27 yards of his own.
On defense, the Crusaders held the Indians to just 334 total yards as sophomore Antonio Barron led the way for North Greenville with 11 tackles and two tackles for a loss. Junior Nick Rodgers was also in double digits with 10 total tackles, while senior Braelen Meredith and freshmen Nigel Gay and Sam Houston each finished with nine tackles apiece.
The Crusaders (5-5) will concluded the 2013 season next Saturday, Nov. 16 with a road game in Newberry, SC against the Wolves of Newberry College at 1 p.m.