Washington shines in Senior Day finale vs. Mars Hill

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – Meeting their ancient rivals for the 24th time on the gridiron, Brevard completed its season with a 27-7 loss to Mars Hill despite career days from Anthony Washington and T.J. Lett.

Washington rushed for a career-high 91 yards, the highest total from a Brevard (0-11, 0-7 SAC) individual this season. He eclipsed Tyler Gregory’s total from Brevard’s Oct. 3 clash with Tusculum by a single yard, averaging 4.8 yards on his 19 carries in his final game in a Brevard uniform.

T.J. Lett, who came into the season without a catch in his career, caught his second touchdown of the season on a 32-yard strike from Gregory midway through the fourth quarter. It was one of three completions on the day for Gregory, whose 59 yards through the air also represented his career high. C.T. Frederick’s 23-yard catch-and-run down the far sideline matched the longest catch of his young career as well.

Saturday night marked the 24th meeting between the Tornados and Lions (6-5, 5-2 SAC) in a series that dates back to Brevard’s first season of football in 1934. Mars Hill leads the series 13-8-3 and has won four of the last five contests, snapping a three-game winning streak by the home team. The Lions also ended a Tornados’ five-game unbeaten streak when the teams meet in November that dated back to 1947.

Brevard set a season high with 274 total yards in the contest, accumulating a season high in passing yardage and its second-highest rushing total of the season with 215 yards on the ground. The defense also played well, allowing the Mars Hill offense to gain just 353 yards, the second-lowest total for a Brevard opponent this season and 61 yards below its season average.

The Tornados’ defenders did their best work following Mars Hill’s second scoring drive of the evening. The Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first two possessions, traveling 168 yards in 17 plays to build the 13-0 lead after Larry Cann blocked an extra point attempt. But Mars Hill’s offense mustered just 185 yards over the final 43 minutes of the game, punted five times, had a turnover on downs, and had four drives end without picking up a first down.

The Brevard defense allowed only seven points after falling behind early, with Mars Hill’s other touchdown coming on an 11-yard fumble return early in the third quarter. The Lions were held to four third down conversions on 10 opportunities and were 0-for-1 on fourth down.

Linebackers Josh Allman and Ty’Reik Faulks each finished with a career-high seven tackles, while Faulks added 2.0 tackles for loss to his total. Jason Nieradka was the team’s leading tackler for the fifth time this season after accumulating eight stops. His 85 tackles on the season rank fourth in the South Atlantic Conference, 12 behind Mars Hill’s Trey Clark for the league lead.

The Lions’ offense was paced by the tandem of Shaikel Davis and Jamel Harbison, who rushed for 162 and 92 yards, respectively, repeatedly getting to the second and third levels of the Tornados’ defense. Quarterback Matt Layman came into the contest averaging 189.0 yards per game through the air, but completed seven of his 18 attempts for 81 yards after the Mars Hill rushing attack proved effective early in the contest.

Harbison opened the scoring with a 1-yard run seven minutes into the contest, and Gilbert Johnson capped Mars Hill’s next drive with a 13-yard catch early in the second quarter. Following Chris Moseley’s fumble return, Lett’s touchdown cut Brevard’s deficit to 20-7 with 8:49 to play. Mars Hill’s Davis scored the final points of the evening on a 6-yard scamper with just over two minutes remaining.

Mars Hill finishes its season tied with Carson-Newman for second place in the conference standings. The Lions entered the day with a chance to share the league crown, but Catawba clinched the undisputed title with a 28-14 victory at Lenoir-Rhyne Saturday afternoon.

Saturday night marked the end of several notable Brevard careers. Marcus Lunsford departs as Brevard’s seventh-leading NCAA-era tackler with 189 career stops. Kicker Alex Noboa tops the record books by making 98.2 percent of his career point after touchdown attempts, and Modzelle Atkins ranks second with four forced fumbles.

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Featured image courtesy of Tommy Moss.

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