Mars Hill, S.C.—The North Greenville Football Team beat Mars Hill for only the second time in NGU history on Saturday in a 38-14 romp, earning the Crusaders their first road win of the 2015 season.
North Greenville totaled 568 yards of total offense while the defense held the Lions to 290-yards. Simeon Byrd had 112-yards on 12 carriers for the Crusaders while Ashton Heard totaled 26 carries for 99 yards. Byrd led the NGU rushing attack with two touchdowns followed by Trey Walker who finished with one touchdown and 18 yards. The NGU ground game accumulated 290-yards and three touchdowns, the second largest total against Mars Hill in program history.
The Crusaders were equally as dominant through the air. Nelson Hughes threw for a season high 331 yards and two scores, connecting with Ashton Heard who led all NGU receivers with 95-yards and a touchdown out of the backfield. Robbie Brown had 89-yards on six receptions, finding pay dirt once. Heard finished the game with a season high 180 all-purpose yards.
The two teams traded scoreless possessions until North Greenville finally broke through with 1:51 left in the first quarter when Nelson Hughes found Robbie Brown for a 17-yard hookup. NGU's defense would thwart a Mars Hill fourth down conversion attempt on the Lion's ensuing drive to give the ball back to the North Greenville offense. The Crusaders would capitalize on the extra possession marching 89-yards on seven plays, capped off by a Trey Walker touchdown from seven yards out, extending the lead to 14-0.
North Greenville would tack on a 24-yard field goal before the buzzer to extend the lead to 17-0. A 15 play, 79-yard touchdown by Mars Hill would cut the North Greenville lead to ten points. NGU's offense amassed 274-yards in the first half while Mars Hill was held to just 151-yards overall.
The Lions struck first in the second half after NGU failed to convert its first two drives into points. The Lions connected for a 30-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 17-14, a score, which still favored the Crusaders. The two squads then traded scoreless possessions before Hughes and company found second half pay dirt for the first time. Simeon Byrd's third rushing touchdown of the season from seven yards out would give the Crusaders a 24-14 advantage, heading into the fourth quarter.
North Greenville would use the big play in the fourth quarter to create some separation. Hughes would connect with heard for a 33-yard score before a fumble recovery by Darius Custard (forced by Sam Houston) would lead to a 51-yard touchdown from Simeon Byrd on the ground, making the score 38-14, which would stand as the final.
NGU's defense turned in one of its best performances of the season, forcing and recovering two fumbles while sacking the quarterback 3 times. Sam Houston led the charge from his middle linebacker spot with 11 total tackles (9 solo 2 assisted) while Nigel Gay finished with eight. Darius Custard and Anthony Blair both recovered fumbles while Blair, Martez Abrams, and Logan Terrell had one sack apiece.
The Crusaders improve to 3-2 on the season, putting back-to-back wins together for the first time this season. NGU will travel to Florida next Saturday to take on Ave Maria University. Kickoff is scheduled for 12pm.