Crusaders Down Wingate With 4th Quarter Comeback
Tigerville, SC – The Crusaders got back on track with a 24-14 victory over the Bulldogs of Wingate University on Saturday afternoon in Younts Stadium.
The Crusader defense started out strong, forcing Wingate to punt on their first two drives of the game. On the second drive of the contest, a 32-yad field goal from senior Justin Gravely put North Greenville ahead 3-0 just five minutes into the game.
After sophomore safety Tony Godbolt picked off a Wingate pass on the ensuing drive, the Crusaders drove 56 yards on five plays, finishing the drive off with a 25-yard touchdown run by sophomore Simeon Byrd to gain a 10-0 advantage after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter of play, Wingate took advantage of a poor punt, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Johnson to Jiwan Funderburk to cut the North Greenville lead to 10-7 just over three minutes left to play in the half. Neither team was able to gain an edge as the Crusaders took the three-point lead into the halftime break.
The Bulldogs drove 41 yards on nine plays on their opening drive of the second half to take a 14-10 lead before the Crusaders were forced to punt on their first two drives of the half.
North Greenville opened the fourth quarter in exciting fashion as redshirt freshman Roderick McCray blocked a Wingate punt that was recovered and returned 15 yards by freshman Daulton Pilgrim to give the Crusaders a 17-14 lead.
The Crusaders extended their lead to 24-14 after a 44-yard run by Byrd ended a three-play, 46-yard drive before an interception by senior Quantel Mack, his second of the day, gave the Crusaders the ball and sealed the win for North Greenville.
The Crusader offense put up 384 yards on one of the top defenses in the South Atlantic Conference, including 189 yards on the ground. Byrd led the rushing attack, totaling 104 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, while junior Trey Walker carried 13 times for 82 yards in the game.
Junior quarterback Nelson Hughes completed 16-of-31 passes for 195 yards, including five passes for 95 yards to senior receiver Thomas Weeks III.
North Greenville’s defense was once again a deciding factor in the game, intercepting three Wingate passes and totaling a season-high five sacks in the game. Sophomore Sam Houston led the unit with 14 total tackles and one tackle for loss, while junior Taylor Anderson totaled 11 tackles with three pass breakups.
Godbolt recorded 11 tackles of his own with an interception and two pass breakups, as junior Darius Custard totaled six tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. Sophomore Shaquan Burney also recorded a sack among his five tackles, while Cejay Thomas and Anthony Blair also recorded a sack in the game.
The Crusaders (5-4) will travel to Salisbury, NC next week for a matchup with Catawba College at 1:30 p.m.