Tigerville, SC - The Crusaders secured a winning record in the regular season for the first time since 2011 with a convincing 34-14 victory over in-state rival Newberry College on Saturday afternoon in Younts Stadium.
After forcing the Wolves to punt on their opening possession, the Crusader offense drove 80 yards on just nine plays for take a 7-0 lead after a one-yard rush by junior quarterback Nelson Hughes early in the first quarter.
North Greenville extended its lead to 10-0 on a 26-yard field goal by senior Justin Gravely with 9:31 left in the second quarter of play. The Crusader lead would reach 17-0 on the next series as a 14-yard rush by junior Trey Walker ended a five-play, 56-yard drive.
Sophomore safety Roderick McCray intercepted a Newberry pass on the first play of the ensuing drive to give North Greenville the ball on the Wolves' 27-yard line after a 25-yard return.
Hughes would complete a two-yard pass to sophomore Tyrecous Garrett just four plays later for a 24-0 advantage. Gravely converted a 42-yard field goal with just over two minutes left to carry a 27-0 lead into the halftime break.
After intermission, the Crusaders extended their lead to 34-0 after a five-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Hughes to sophomore Robbie Brown on the first series of the second half.
The Wolves used a six-yard touchdown run by Braxton Ivery and a 52-yard fumble recovery by Terrance Salley late in the fourth quarter to get on the scoreboard, giving the Crusaders the 20-point victory at home.
The Crusader offense was led by Hughes who completed 15-of-24 pass attempts for 194 yards and two touchdowns, while also scoring once on the ground. Sophomore Simeon Byrd totaled 71yards on 11 rush attempts, while Walker totaled 59 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. Ro. Brown led all receivers with six receptions for 94 yards and a score.
North Greenville's defense held the Wolves to just 267 total yards, while forcing three turnovers on the day. Junior Taylor Anderson recorded a game-high 14 tackles, while 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while Sophomore Quan Weeks followed close behind with 11 total tackles.
Junior Darius Custard filled up the stat sheet, recording seven total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Freshman Tyler Hickson also recorded seven tackles in his first career start as McCray and sophomore Nigel Gay each recorded an interception in the contest.
The Crusaders (6-5) will now await to hear their fate as they are in the discussion to take part in the Victory Bowl, a postseason matchup of the top two teams in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association on Nov. 22 in Rome, GA.