Pembroke, N.C. –North Greenville dropped its second consecutive game on Saturday as UNC Pembroke outlasted the visiting Crusaders 49-35.
The Braves struck first, scoring on a 16-yard pass from Patrick O’Brien to Jonathan Allen. The drive for Pembroke lasted just over four minutes as the Braves capitalized on a three-and-out on North Greenville’s first drive. The Braves used nine plays and drove 87-yards to take the game’s first lead.
The Crusaders would not be far behind in the scoring as Tracy Scott raced in from 43-yards out to even the score. The rushing score was Scott’s fifth of the season and capped a six play, 76-yard march for Crusaders.
Scott’s long touchdown run would be the only good news of the half for the visiting NGU team as Pembroke’s offense clicked on all cylinders. The Braves tacked on three more touchdowns in the opening 30-minutes including a 59-yard passing touchdown from O’Brien to Tra Chandler with earned the Braves a 14-7 advantage.
A rushing touchdown from O’Brien and another score through the air gave the Braves a 28-7 lead at the end of the first half. Pembroke outgained North Greenville 287 to 137 in the first half, 251 of which came through the air for the Braves. North Greenville threw for just 83-yards and ran for another 54.
The Crusaders inched closer to Pembroke in the opening minutes of the third quarter with another long touchdown scamper. Simeon Byrd would cut the deficit in half with his longest scoring run of the season as he found the end zone from 33-yards out to cut the score to 28-14.
The Crusaders would outscore the Braves 28-21 in the second half, but the NGU defense struggled to get key stops as the Braves did just enough to stay out in front. Pembroke answered each North Greenville touchdown with a touchdown of its own to preserve the win over its fellow independent North Greenville.
Tracy Scott would finish the night with a career-high, three touchdowns on 81-yards rushing. Scott’s final two touchdowns came in the second half. Simeon Byrd added another 84-yards of rushing to the NGU offensive totals to go along with one touchdown. Mason Sanders would be the recipient of Will Hunter’s only touchdown pass as the two connected from 32-yards out. Hunter threw for a season and career high 314-yards and a touchdown, 124 of those yards went to Mason Sanders.
Defensively, Quan Weeks led the charge with eight tackles (five solo) and a sack. Eddie Studyvance and Roderick McCray also had sacks for the Crusaders. The Crusaders forced five fumbles on defense, two of which were recovered. Nigel Gay led NGU with two forced fumbles while Weeks and Dalton Pilgrim had recoveries.
North Greenville proved to be its own worst enemy, committing 15 penalties which resulted in 129-yards. The Braves benefitted with six first downs on North Greenville violations. Pembroke was assessed just eight penalties for 60-yards.
The loss to the Braves is the second straight for North Greenville, dropping the Crusaders to 2-2 on the season while Pembroke improves to 4-0. NGU will return home next week to take on Mars Hill University in Younts Stadium. The game between the Crusaders and Lions will be televised by My-40 WMYA out of Ashville, North Carolina. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.