Brevard, N.C. - Derek Church capped on a 196 yard offensive performance with a three yard touchdown catch with 3:20 in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 35 apiece and Darren Walker picked off Keahn Wallace’s pass on third down in the first overtime period, paving way to Austin Clark’s game-winning 18 yard field goal as the Tornados survived a wild home opener with a 38-35 victory over the visiting Golden Bulls.
In their first contest back in Brevard Memorial Stadium, Brevard (1-1) and Johnson C. Smith (1-1), combined to provide a complete display off offensive prowess as the Tornados racked up 305 yards on the ground, led by Church’s 161 yards on 29 carries, while Wallace completed 25 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Bulls.
Fittingly enough though, it was a defensive stop that made the difference as Walker stepped in front of a pass from Wallace targeted for Daniel Taylor on third-and-12 in the opening possession of the first overtime period, giving the Tornados the chance to go for the win.
Fumbles marred each of the first two drives by Brevard in the game with the second one leading directly to a JCSU score as Kelvin Jeter fumbled the pitch from Aaron Reese, where it was scooped up at the BC eight yard line by Quinton Toomer. The Golden Bulls scored two plays later as Nick Mata shrugged off a Brevard defender in the end zone, hauling in the seven yard completion from Wallace at the 11:30 mark to give JCSU the 7-0 lead.
The Tornados would even the score two possessions later, following Donovan Barker’s interception at the BC 30 yard line. Brevard marched down the field in seven plays, capping off the drive as Tydrell Wright took the pitch on the reverse from Reese and weaved his way through the defense before crossing the goal line after the 32 yard carry to tie the game up at 7 with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
The Tornados would add scores in two of their next three possessions, capping off an eight-play, 91 yard drive highlighted by Church’s 64 yard run up the middle, on a Reese two yard quarterback keeper, while Eric Watts tracked down an off-target pass by Reese and turned it into a 40 yard touchdown reception to put the Tornados up 21-7 with 3:11 left in the first half.
Johnson C. Smith would take advantage of their final two possessions of the half, as Wallace hit Taylor on a fly pattern on third-and-13 and the sophomore from West Columbia, S.C. outdistanced the BC secondary in recording the 66 yard touchdown. A Reese interception set up JCSU with great field position at the Brevard 16 yard line with 1:04 left and four plays later Wallace snuck the ball into the end zone with 19 ticks left on the clock as the teams went to the locker rooms tied at 21 apiece.
The momentum shifted to the Golden Bulls as they scored on their second possession in the second half. The possession opened on William Trimble’s 32 yard punt return, setting the ball at midfield, and Wallace found Dedric Anderson in the end zone seven plays later, connecting with running back from 10 yards out to give JCSU their first lead since the opening minutes.
Brevard responded on their next drive behind their premier rushing attack as four different Tornados toted the ball in the nine-play, 60 yard drive before Jack Woerner crashed into the end zone for his first collegiate rushing touchdown, tying the game at 28 apiece with 3:44 to play in the third quarter.
A muffed reception of Clark’s kickoff gave the Golden Bulls possession on their own 11 yard line, but Wallace marched JCSU down the field, taking 3:30 to move 89 yard on 10 plays before carrying the ball in from seven yards out on a quarterback draw for his second rushing touchdown of the game to give JCSU the lead back in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
A Reese incompletion set up a Brevard field goal attempt in their next possession, but Clark was unable to connect fro m40 yards out, pulling the ball wide left to keep the score at 35-28, but the Tornados defense rose up to the challenge, forcing a three-and-out. The BC special teams got involved in the action, breaking through the line on Tyler Rabb’s ensuing punt attempt and the ball was tipped, fluttering 16 yards before being downed on the Brevard 34 yard line.
With new life, the Tornados moved the ball 66 yards on 11 plays, scoring on fourth-and-goal from the three yard line as Reese found Church all by himself in the front of the end zone with 3:20 on the close to tie the game.
The Golden Bulls had one final chance in regulation, marching down the field, but Rommie Fairchild broke through the line of scrimmage on third-and-five on the Brevard 22 yard line, sacking Wallace in the middle of the field, and during the ensuing scramble to get the JCSU field goal unit on the field and in play, Julius Wright’s 40 yard attempt was pushed wide right as time expired, sending the teams to overtime.
Johnson C. Smith took over possession first in the overtime period and after Rufus Jenkins nearly picked off Wallace’s first pass attempt, Walker stepped in front of the desperation pass into the end zone, giving the Tornados the chance to go for the win.
Brevard moved the ball down to the JCSU one yard line before bringing Clark onto the field to attempt the game-winner. After a timeout by JCSU in attempt to ice the kicker, the freshman from Grayson, Ga. calmly drilled the game-winner through the uprights, setting off a celebration in Brevard Memorial Stadium as the Tornados defeated the Golden Bulls, 38-35.
Church led the Brevard offense with 29 carries for 161 yards and added four receptions for 35 yards, including the game-tying touchdown, while Reese was seven-for-15 through the air for 100 yards and two scores. The 100 yard passing performance was the Tornados first since last September 25th when Michael Crumbaker threw for 104 yards against Southern Virginia.
Defensively the Tornados were led by Barker’s 10 tackles, while Richard Ray and Rommie Fairchild added two sacks apiece. Anthony Shakir also added an interception and a sack in the contest as the Tornados improved to 1-1.
Wallace led Johnson C. Smith both on the ground and through the air, toting the ball 20 times for 79 yards and two scores, while going 25-for-42 through the air for 325 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor was on the receiving end for the longest play of the night on his way to hauling in seven catches for 126 yards.
The Tornados remain at home next weekend as they open South Atlantic Conference play and host Family Weekend as they welcome Mars Hill College to Brevard Memorial Stadium. Kickoff between the SAC rivals is set for 2 p.m.