Crusaders Comeback Stopped By Mars Hill
Tigerville, SC – On a day in which North Greenville celebrated its annual homecoming, the Crusaders were knocked off by the Lions of Mars Hill University 30-27 in Younts Stadium.
Both team stalled on their first drives of the game, being forced to punt by the opposing defense before the Crusaders broke through for a 3-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal from senior Justin Gravely midway through the 1st quarter.
The Lions would tie the game at 3-3 with a 35-yard field goal by Tyler Stewart, before the ensuing drive for both North Greenville and Mars Hill were unsuccessful.
The Crusaders began the 2nd quarter of play with a nine-play, 70-yard drive that ended on a bizarre scoring play. After driving down the field, a pass by quarterback Nelson Hughes was batted down into the quarterback’s own hands, leading Hughes to escape from the pocket and elude defenders on the way to a 47-yard touchdown reception and pass all in the same instance. The touchdown put North Greenville ahead 10-3 with just over 10 minute to play in the half.
Mars Hill’s next drive would end with 24-yard pass from quarterback Trent Miller to Dimitri Holmes, as North Greenville freshman Delton Bradford blocked the extra point attempt to keep the Crusaders ahead 10-9 with 5:51 to play.
A 25-yard field goal on the next drive from Gravely extended the Crusader lead before defensive lineman Anthony Blair forced a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by fellow lineman Johnny Burch to give North Greenville a 20-9 advantage.
The Lions ended the half with a one-yard touchdown run by Miller, however, a failed two-point conversion kept North Greenville ahead 20-15 at intermission.
Neither team was able to gain an edge for much of the 3rd quarter until the Lions used a seven-play, 95-yard drive to take the lead on a six-yard run by Jamel Harbison and a successful two-point conversion gave Mars Hill a 23-20 advantage at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Mars Hill began the final quarter with a four-yard touchdown run by Foluke Gordon-Lamar to gain a 10-point advantage before the Crusaders cut into the lead with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Hughes to junior Tyrell Hillary to trail by just three points with 9:46 left to play.
On the Lions' ensuing drive, sophomore defensive back Rochar Witherspoon intercepted a pass in the endzone to give the Crusaders a fighting chance before the Lion defense stopped North Greenville no fourth down. Mars Hill offense would run the clock down to secure the 30-27 victory.
North Greenville’s offense was once again over the 400-yard mark, finishing with 426 yards in the contest. Hughes led the Crusaders, completing 17-of-32 pass attempts for 240 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 11 times for 85 yards on the ground and catching one pass for 47 yards and a score.
Junior Trey Walker recorded 17 carries for 72 yards in his second game back from injury, as senior Thomas Weeks III led the receiving corps with six catches for 90 yards.
On defense, sophomore Sam Houston again led the way with 13 total tackles, as fellow sophomore Tony Godbolt was close behind with 12 stops of his own and two pass break ups. Sophomore Quan Weeks also totaled 12 tackles in the game, while junior Taylor Anderson finished with 11 tackles and one tackle for loss.
The Crusaders (4-3) will look to get back on the winning side of things when they travel to Jefferson City, TN on Oct. 25 for a matchup with South Atlantic Conference member Carson Newman University at 3 p.m.