Hickory, N.C. – North Greenville Football picked up its second win of the season on Saturday night using a 45-0 thumping of Lenoir-Rhyne to improve to 2-0 in 2016.
North Greenville threw for 210-yards in the win over the Bears led by Will Hunter who tossed the rock for 165-yards and a touchdown. Collin Sneed added 45 passing yards of his own as he connected on two of three passing attempts. Mason Sanders led all receivers with 76-yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season.
The Crusaders finished the night with 179-yards on the ground spread out among six different players. Ashton Heard led NGU with 67-yards and a touchdown while Tracy Scott set a career high with 36-yards on eight carries and a score. Collin Sneed rushed for his first collegiate touchdown while Simeon Byrd also found pay dirt with his first rushing TD of 2016. Sam Houston led the defense with 10-tackles while Johnny Birch and Anthony Blair both recorded sacks.
NGU set Saturday night’s tone on the opening kickoff as Rochar Witherspoon returned it 100-yards for the game’s first score. The return is Witherspoon’s first kickoff return for a touchdown in his career and gave the Crusaders a 6-0 lead (PAT Good from Matt Gravely).
The defenses stepped up on the next three drives as the two squads traded punts before North Greenville struck again. Ashton Heard would cap a 53-yard drive with an 11-yard rush, scoring his second touchdown of the year while earning the Crusaders a 14-0 lead after the Gravely Kick. The drive consisted of seven plays including a steady dose of Heard who ran for 32 of his 67-yards.
Lenoir-Rhyne would answer with its best drive of the game, driving the ball 33-yards before Tony Godbolt put a stop to the scoring threat with an interception. Godbolt would return the pick 40-yards, setting up the North Greenville offense on the NGU 46-yardline. North Greenville would capitalize on the turnover, driving 54-yards in nine plays. Hunter and Sanders would hook up twice for 28-yards while Tracy Scott and Simeon Byrd would run for another 36, capped by a Byrd rushing touchdown from the LR one-yard line to extend the lead to 21.
North Greenville would tack on one more score in the first half, as Hunter would find Sanders for a 12-yard scoring toss, finishing off a 10-play 68-yard drive. Matt Gravely’s point after would make the score 28-0 in favor of the Crusaders with 30-seconds remaining in the half.
Gravely would account for the first points of the second half making the score 31-0 with a field goal at the 8:06 mark of the third quarter. A Nigel Gay interception would lead to another score for the Crusaders as Scott scored his second career touchdown with just over five minutes left in the quarter.
The final score of the game would come in the opening minutes of the fourth as Collin Sneed put the finishing touch on an eight play, 64-yard drive with a six yard scamper for his first career rushing touch down.
NGU would pickup one more turnover in the final minutes of the game as Jeremiah Ferguson picked off a Lenoir-Rhyne quarterback for the third time Saturday evening, putting the exclamation point on North Greenville’s trip to Hickory.
Saturday night’s victory was the third win for North Greenville over the Bears since the series started in 2008. Saturday night’s win had some historical value however as it was North Greenville’s first win over Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory.
The Crusaders will now gear up for its second straight South Atlantic Conference opponent as Newberry College travels to Tigerville for a 7pm kickoff. The Wolves defeated North Greenville 31-6 in last season’s meeting.