Brevard, N.C. - Saturday’s game will feature plenty of hard hits and battles in the trenches as the Brevard College football team welcomes Lenoir-Rhyne University to Asheville High School this weekend in a showdown between the top two rushing offenses in both the South Atlantic Conference and the NCAA Division II.
The Tornados (3-3, 0-2 SAC) return home after a 31-21 defeat last weekend against Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., where the Tornados held the lead for the first 55 minutes of the game before the Indians broke through with a pair of late scores to take the victory. Redshirt senior fullback Derek Church led the Tornados offense on the afternoon with 92 yards on 23 carries, finding the end zone once from four yards out, while quarterback Michael Crumbaker hooked up with Eric Watts for a 57 yard touchdown pass at the end of the first half to give the Tornados the lead, however, Catawba, led by quarterback Patrick Dennis, came back in the end as Dennis found an open Josh Wright in the end zone for a score to give the Indians the victory.
Lenoir-Rhyne (3-3, 0-2 SAC) comes into the game with an identical record to Brevard, having fallen in conference matchups against Newberry and Mars Hill. This past weekend, at home against the Lions, the Bears accumulated 228 yards on the ground led by fullback Le’Quan McCorkle to go up 17-7 on the Lions, but Mars Hill battled back, taking the lead on a 50 yard touchdown reception by Jonas Randolph to go up 24-20. The Bears had one final drive in the game as quarterback Major Herron led the L-R offense to the Lions 21 yard line, but his desperation pass into the end zone was intercepted to end the contest.
This will be the fifth meeting all-time between the teams and fourth game since the Tornados football program was reinstated in 2006, with Lenoir-Rhyne holding the 3-1 edge over Brevard. Since 2007, the Bears won the first matchup between the teams, defeating Brevard in Hickory, 23-12. The Bears took the second contest between the teams in 2008, winning in Brevard Memorial Stadium, 40-14.
Last season, with most of the attention on both teams’ ground games, it was three passing plays which provided the majority of the scoring in the game. The Tornados struck first on a 73 yard touchdown pass from Crumbaker to Lawrence Martin to put Brevard up 7-0, while Michael Gist returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter to put Brevard up 14-0. Lenoir-Rhyne’s first points in the contest came on their next drive on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Justin Sanders to Devan Pointer. A Colin Corpe field goal closed out the scoring as the Tornados recorded their first win against the Bears on September 26th, winning 14-9 in Shuford Memorial Stadium for Brevard’s first South Atlantic Conference victory in program history.
Brevard comes into the game, again possessing the leading rushing attack in the NCAA, averaging 320.7 yards per game on the ground, led by the South Atlantic Conference’s leading rusher in Kelvin Jeter. The freshman slot has accumulated 664 yards on the ground this season on 70 carries, averaging 9.5 yards per carry and has five touchdowns to his credit. He is joined in the backfield by Thadus Benton III, Neville Bryce, Michael Crumbaker and Derek Church. Every member of the quartet averages over 35 yards per game on the ground and they have combined for 17 rushing touchdowns to pace the SAC’s fourth-highest scoring offense as the Tornados average 33.2 points per game.
When Crumbaker drops back to pass, he is 19 of 44 for 386 yards, with three touchdowns, including a season-long 57 yard pass to Watts last week for a touchdown. Watts has been the favorite target on the season for BC quarterbacks, catching 10 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Justin Fleming has three catches for 73 yards as the deep threat for the Tornados.
Defensively, Brevard is led by Trey Jenkins, as the junior linebacker has 43 tackles on the season and is among the team leaders with 2.5 tackles for loss on the year. Cornerback Salonik Amos is also among the team leaders with 36 tackles, while also being among the leaders in the conference in pass breakups with seven on the year, including an interception. Preseason All-SAC selections Michael Gist and Prince Simunyu are also among the team leaders as Gist has 31 tackles and five pass breakups, while Simunyu is the team leader with four tackles for loss and two sacks.
Lenoir-Rhyne is coming off a season in which the Bears went 5-6 overall, 2-5 in South Atlantic Conference play, gaining 294.3 yards per game on the ground last year on their way to outscoring their opponents 293-241. Currently this season, the Bears are second in the NCAA and the SAC in averaging 311.5 rushing yards per game in their Bear Bone offense, and outscoring opponents 193-126.
Junior quarterback Herron leads the Bears offense in both rushing and passing on the season, accumulating 475 yards on the ground and nine rushing touchdowns, while completing 38 of 79 attempts for 484 yards and one touchdown on the season. McCorkle and James Pone are also among the team rushing leaders with McCorkle having 337 yards and three rushing touchdowns on the season, while Pone has contributed 278 yards and four touchdowns. Nick Stutts and Artis Gilmore are the team leaders through the air, with Stutts being Herron’s favorite target, catching 23 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown.
Preseason All-SAC selection Marcus Shuford leads the Bears defensive efforts with 47 tackles and two interceptions on the season, playing free safety for Lenoir-Rhyne. Demetrius Green is the team leader with 4.5 tackles for loss to go with 37 tackles, while Nelson Bullard and Brandon Martin lead the team with three sacks apiece.
Kickoff for the game between the Tornados and the Bears at Asheville High School Memorial Stadium is set for Saturday, October 16th, at 2 p.m.
A fan bus will be provided for all BC fans wishing to catch a ride to the Tornados game and will leave Boshamer Gymnasium at noon.
You can catch the game via live broadcast brought to you by the "Voice of the Tornados" Dwayne Summers over the radio at WSQL 1240 AM or over the Internet at www.wsqlradio.com. You may also visit the Brevard College Athletics website at www.BCTornados.com.
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