Football 2014 Season Review

BREVARD, N.C. – Although its final record left something to be desired, the Brevard College football team can celebrate a bevy of accomplishments in the 2014 season.

The Tornados finished the year with a 1-10 overall record and went winless in South Atlantic Conference play. But the season ended on a high note as the Tornados set a new school record by racking up 562 rushing yards in a 66-0 win over College of Faith, representing the second-most points scored in school history and the second-most prolific rushing output of any Division II team this season.

The single-game rushing mark was far from the only record-setting performance the Tornados accomplished this season. Brevard set or extended an eye-popping 41 individual school records and rewrote 17 team records, bringing the total number of new entries in the Brevard NCAA-era record book to 58.

The staggering number of records this season is a testament to Brevard’s prolific rushing offense. The Tornados set school highs with 3,538 rushing yards and 321.6 rushing yards per game, a figure that ranked sixth in Division II this season. The Tornados also set a school record with 5.1 yards per carry and fell one touchdown shy of setting a new scoring record with 38 scores on the ground.

The Brevard offensive line is to be commended for its outstanding efforts on the year. No contributions were bigger than those of freshman left tackle Josh Turner, who was named to the all-conference first team.

Jordan Ollis, a senior fullback from Columbus, North Carolina, played a major role in helping Brevard’s ground game attain new heights. Ollis set a new school record with 1,224 rushing yards this year, eclipsing a mark set by fellow senior Kelvin Jeter in 2010. Ollis scored a BC record 16 rushing touchdowns on the season, which tied him for the SAC lead and was 14th nationally, and set single-game records with 38 carries and 228 yards on the ground against North Greenville on September 27. His exploits earned him second team honors from the conference’s head coaches.

Jeter had the second-best year of his career in 2014, rushing for 838 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He will depart Brevard as the school’s all-time leading rusher (3,358 yards), is second in rushing touchdowns (21) and rushing yards per game (74.6), and tops the Brevard record books with 4,626 all-purpose yards, the 11th-highest total among active Division II players.

The second team all-conference selection concludes his career ranked seventh in Division II and 16th across all NCAA classifications with 6.6 yards per carry, ranking ahead of notable names like Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon, and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah.

Division II’s 12th-ranked player in career all-purpose yardage, just 19 yards shy of Jeter’s school record, is Tryon, North Carolina’s Andre Overholt. The senior slot back, who became Brevard’s first-ever Academic All-District selection two weeks ago and is eligible for Academic All-America honors, tops the Brevard record books with 2,545 kick return yards and accumulated 4,607 all-purpose yards in his career. His 1,268 rushing yards rank third all-time in Brevard history, and he is second in school history in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

A semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and National Scholar-Athlete Award, Overholt is viewed as a leader on campus and was named AstroTurf SAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts on September 13 vs. Division I Liberty.

While he doesn’t hold the same number of records as many of his counterparts, quarterback Tanner Wright wrapped up a jack of all trades-type career with his final performance against College of Faith. Wright began his career as a defensive back and has also seen significant time as a punter before becoming Brevard’s primary signal-caller during each of the last two seasons.

Wright, who hails from Clayton, Georgia, is eighth all-time in rushing yards, third in passing yards, fourth in completions, third in both rushing and passing touchdowns, and fourth in total points scored on the offensive side of the ball. He is still third in interception return yards and fourth in punting average from his time at various other positions.

Brevard’s defense spent much of the season unable to match the prowess of the Tornados’ high-powered rushing attack, but the most significant bright spot on the unit was inside linebacker Michael Gruber. The first team all-conference linebacker and Harlon Hill Trophy candidate broke the school’s tackles record in the third game of the season and added nearly 100 more to his total.

The Walterboro, South Carolina native ends his career with 392 career tackles, 98 clear of his next-closest competitor, and is second among active Division II players in the category. He owns three of the top four tackling seasons in school history and added an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery to his exploits this season.

Second team all-conference placekicker Alex Noboa rounds out Brevard’s list of honorees at the conference level this season. Noboa was 42-of-43 on point after touchdown attempts this season and connected on seven of eight field goal tries, setting records for total PATs, PAT efficiency, and field goal efficiency. He was named AstroTurf SAC Special Teams Player of the Week after setting a Brevard record with 12 points scored by kicking in the season finale.

The Tornados also found team success on several other fronts. Brevard boasted the nation’s best red zone offense, scoring on 93.2 percent of its trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. The Tornados were among the nation’s 10 best teams in fourth down conversions, yards per completion, and time of possession. Continuing a trend under head coach Paul Hamilton, Brevard was also among the most disciplined teams in the nation, finishing the year as the eight-least penalized team in Division II.

While its final record leaves something to be desired, Brevard’s season can be considered successful in many aspects. The 2015 Tornados will benefit from a solid stable of backs, a significantly more experienced defense, and a game-tested quarterback under center, and will look to improve upon the foundation laid by this year’s team and become a contender in the South Atlantic Conference.

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