Jeter surpasses 3,000 rushing yards as Tornados fall to Wingate

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – Despite the best performance of the year from the Brevard defense, the Tornados were unable to come away with their first win of the season as Wingate took a 43-21 decision at Memorial Stadium, continuing the Bulldogs’ run of perfection against the Tornados since Brevard attained full NCAA membership in 2008.

The Tornados (0-7, 0-4 SAC) allowed Wingate (5-2, 2-2 SAC) 388 yards of total offense, the fewest yards an opponent has gained all season. Brevard was especially tough in the first quarter, allowing Wingate just 53 yards on 13 offensive snaps. But the opportunistic Bulldogs capitalized on their opportunities, forcing four turnovers, including a 20-yard first-quarter scoop-and-score by Cornel Cheron, and limiting Brevard to its second-lowest offensive output of the season at 293 yards. Brevard was able to muster 255 yards on the ground, 83 yards below its rushing average that ranked fifth in Division II entering Saturday’s game.

Slot back Kelvin Jeter led the Tornados’ rushing attack with 110 yards on just 11 carries. In the first quarter, Jeter took a pitch from quarterback Tanner Wright and raced around the left side of the line and down the near sideline for a 76-yard touchdown, the second-longest run of his career. The two-play scoring drive represented Brevard’s shortest scoring drive of the season in both plays and time of possession at just 55 seconds.

Jeter also became the first Brevard player since the program’s reinstatement in 2006 to top 3,000 career rushing yards. The senior from Gastonia, North Carolina now has 3,011 career rushing yards and 4,279 all-purpose yards in a Brevard uniform, topping the record book in both categories.

The first quarter became a high-scoring affair for both teams. Brevard opened the game with a 14-play, 72-yard scoring drive that concluded with Jordan Ollis’s first of two one-yard touchdown runs on the day, making him the first Brevard player to record 30 career touchdowns. Wingate answered with a 10-play drive that covered 55 yards after starting with good field position from a long kickoff return by Jalen Gavin.

The Wingate defense would make its presence felt on the ensuing Brevard drive. Nortavius Otis and Jon Jiminez combined to stop Ollis for a two-yard loss on the first play of the drive before a mishandled pitch led to Cheron’s fumble return for a touchdown, giving the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead. Brevard would waste no time in answering, however, as Jeter’s 76-yard sprint two plays later put the Tornados back on top 14-13. The teams combined for 20 points in a five-play flurry that took less than two minutes.

Wingate doubled their point total in the second quarter, however, scoring an early touchdown on a four-play drive that was set up by a strip and sack of Wright by reigning AstroTurf SAC Defensive Player of the Week Nick Napolitano. The Bulldogs forced Brevard into another three-and-out on their next possession before an 8-play, 71-yard drive pushed the advantage to 26-14.

Brevard looked to be moving the ball well on its next drive, starting at the 10-yard line and driving near midfield, before the Bulldogs forced their third turnover in 16 minutes of game time to snuff out the Tornados’ opportunity to cut into the lead before the half.

The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 33-14 after both defenses forced three-and-outs on the opening possessions of the third quarter. Wingate was pinned deep inside its own territory following a 47-yard Garrett Nestor punt and a holding penalty, but the Bulldogs marched 92 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Johnson to Patrick Derenda. The conference’s second-leading passer finished the day 14-of-20 through the air for 179 yards and one touchdown apiece to Derenda, Jiwan Funderburk, and Brandon Ellington.

Although Jordan Ollis capped an 84-yard drive with his second one-yard touchdown of the afternoon, the Tornados were limited to just 23 yards in the fourth quarter as Wingate outscored Brevard 10-0 over the final 15 minutes of play.

For the first time this season, Brevard finished the game with less time of possession than its opponent. The Tornados held the ball for 29:43, well short of its nation-leading average of 36:52 per contest.

Marcus Lunsford led the Tornados in tackles for the first time this season with 10 stops on the day, including five solo tackles. Career tackles leader Michael Gruber pitched in nine stops, making him the first Brevard player to top 350 tackles. Sean Lee also registered a breakout day, totaling two tackles for loss, including a sack, among his six tackles. Jason Nieradka, Modzelle Atkins, and Jack Woerner also registered tackles for loss on the afternoon.

The Tornados travel to face Catawba in Salisbury, North Carolina next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Featured image courtesy of Tommy Moss.

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