Crusaders Open 2014 In Winning Fashion
Tigerville, SC – The North Greenville University football team opened the 2014 season on a high-note Thursday evening with a 45-21 victory over the Gyrenes of Ave Maria University in Younts Stadium.
On just the second drive of the game, the Crusaders jumped on the board with a four-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from junior Nelson Hughes to sophomore Robbie Brown with 10:16 left in the opening quarter.
The Gyrenes and Crusaders traded possessions before Ave Maria tied the game at 7-7 with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clayton Ueker to receiver Dan Mervos with under two minutes remaining in the quarter. However, North Greenville junior Trey Walker would score on the team’s next drive with a 49-yard touchdown rush as the first quarter came to a close to give the Crusaders a 14-7 lead.
Junior Darius Custard blocked an Ave Maria punt to open the second quarter as sophomore Ashton Heard converted the turnover into a 26-yard touchdown to give the Crusaders a 21-7 advantage.
North Greenville would extend its lead to 28-7 with a 68-yard touchown pass from Hughes to Brown, before a 25-yard field goal from senior Justin Gravely put the Crusaders ahead 31-7 going into the halftime break.
Ave Maria used an 83-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half to cut the Crusader lead to 31-14 before Heard scored his second touchdown of the game, a four-yard run with 9:08 remaining in the third, to make the score 38-14 with just over a quarter to play.
Hughes and Brown would connect once again, this time on a 49-yard score near the end of the quarter to give North Greenville a 45-14 edge on the scoreboard.
The Gyrenes would score the final touchdown of the game, a 36-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Bob Orban to fullback Caine Foster with just under four minutes to play as the Crusader offense ran out the game clock to secure the win.
The Crusaders put up an astonishing 639 total yards of offense, as Hughes finished the game 15-fr-25 with 324 yards and three touchdowns. Backup Mike Calabro also got in on the action, completing all five pass attempts for 44 yards, while also rushing four times for 67 yards on the ground.
Walker went over the century mark on the ground, recording 131 yards on 12 carries with a score, while Heard totaled 11 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Brown was the leading receiver with seven catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Brock Frisbee was the team’s second leading receiver, catching two passes for 53 yards as 10 different Crusaders caught a pass in the game.
On defense, North Greenville limited Ave Maria to just 59 yards on the ground as sophomore KJ McDonald led the charge with nine tackles and two tackles for loss. Sophomore Nigel Gay recorded six tackles in the contest, as fellow sophomore Sam Houston also totaled six tackles with a forced fumble.
North Greenville (1-0) will travel to Spartanburg, SC on Saturday Sept. 13 for a matchup with Division I FCS Wofford College at 7 p.m.