Tigerville – North Greenville’s season ended in heartbreak on Saturday afternoon with a 17-14 loss to Florida Tech in double-overtime.
North Greenville grabbed some early momentum in the first quarter but a fumble inside Florida Tech territory turned it back over the Panthers. They capitalized, driving 61-yards to put up the first points of the game. A 13-yard pass from Mike Diliello to Derrick Wright made it 7-0 after the extra point.
The Panthers added another score in the second quarter on a 10-yard rush from Daniel Richardson which extended the lead to 14-0. The lead held for the next half of a quarter before the Crusaders nabbed the momentum. The game shifted in favor of the Crusaders on the Panthers’ first drive of the second half when quarterback mike Diliello coughed up the back, turning it over to NGU.
Chauncy Haney caused the fumble which was picked up by Dantevia Byrd on Florida Tech’s own 17-yard line where the North Greenville offense took over. Haney finished the game with seven tackles including a pair of tackles for a loss and a sack and 1.5-sacks. Dantevian Byrd also had seven tackles and led the Crusaders with 2.5-tackles for a loss and the fumble recovery.
North Greenville quickly made good on the free possession, leaning on senior quarterback Donny Baker. A third and six completion from Baker to Lucas Catalfomo earned NGU its first points of the game and cut the Florida Tech lead to seven following the Gravely field goal. The pass covered 13-yards and was the third consecutive scoring grab for Catalfomo.
North Greenville’s next offensive drive would come up empty but the special teams would come up with the next big play. Dantevian Byrd single-handedly evened the score, blocking a field goal, returning it 73-yards for a touchdown. It was Byrd’s first career blocked kick and first career touchdown made it 14-14 with five minutes left in the third.
Both teams were scoreless in the final 20-minutes, leading to the first overtime game for North Greenville since the 2017-season. A defensive stand by North Greenville on the first possession for the Panthers gave North Greenville control and a chance to win. The FIT drive came to an end when Johnny Worthy picked off a pass in the end-zone. The Crusaders failed to capitalize on the opportunity though as the possible winning field goal sailed left.
Tech’s defense kept North Greenville from scoring on the ensuing drive, setting the Panthers up for their first opportunity to win it on the final play. The Panthers connected on a 23-yard boot to win the game.
Semaj Lakin led North Greenville’s rushing attack with 91-yards on 21-carries while Baker finished with 192-yards on 14-completions and a score. Jordan Helms led NGU’s receivers with 46-yards while Lucas Catalfomo finished with a touchdown and 40-yards. Brandon Burger led North Greenville’s defense with 13-tackles including one for a loss.
The Crusaders finish the season with a 3-7 record including a 2-6 mark in league play.