Brevard, N.C. - The town of Brevard, N.C. and Brevard College open the gates this weekend for Family Weekend as the Tornados faithful descend upon Brevard Memorial Stadium for this week’s South Atlantic Conference home opener between the Tornados of Brevard College and the Lions of Mars Hill College.
The last time these two teams met on the field, the Tornados defense took control of the game behind Prince Simunyu and Michael Gist as Brevard broke up eight passes, forced three fumbles and had two interceptions, with Gist sealing the Tornados 35-28 victory with an interception in the end zone as Brevard ended the 2011 season with a victory.
Both teams come into today’s contest with matching 1-1 records, with Brevard entering the contest with a loss to FCS opponent Gardner-Webb in the season opener, before rallying to defeat Johnson C. Smith University in overtime last weekend in Brevard Memorial Stadium behind Austin Clark’s 18 yard field goal winner. Mars Hill also comes in with a loss to an FCS opponent, when they fell this past weekend to Western Carolina University 52-31, but offset the loss with a 27-7 victory over Charleston (W. Va.) in the season opener.
Both teams enter the game relying heavily on their rushing attacks, as the multi-faceted Brevard run game has seen both Aaron Reese and Derek Church break the 100-yard rushing mark in the 2011 season. The Tornados average 275.0 yards per game on the ground, led by Church’s 129 yards per game, but Mars Hill counters with three-time preseason All-American running back Jonas Randolph, who enters the contest with 185.0 yards per game on the ground. Church and Randolph are currently one and two in the SAC rankings for rushing yards per contest.
The Lions hold the 6-10-2 all-time edge in the series against the Tornados.
Brevard Players to Watch:
Aaron Reese - The Brevard College signal caller paid his dues last season learning under all-time leading BC passer Michael Crumbaker. This season, with the team under his leadership, Brevard opened the year battling Gardner-Webb to a stand-still, and the senior saved his best performance in the come-from-behind overtime victory over Johnson C. Smith in which he threw for 100 yards and the game-tying touchdown to Derek Church with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter. Reese, also a member of the BC baseball team, possesses a strong right arm and gives the Tornados the opportunity to gain some yards through the air, while still possessing the quickness and acumen to run the option, having picked up 111 yards rushing in the first game of the season.
C.J. Wilson - The Tornados leading tackler in the 2011 season was anointed one of the heir-apparents to Brevard College All-American linebacker Stanley Jones when he first stepped on campus. After a sophomore campaign when he finished fourth overall on the team with 60 tackles and two tackles for loss, everything is clicking for the middle linebacker as he has added an improved nose for the ball to his sure-handed tackling ability this season. Wilson is currently tied for first in the SAC in averaging 10.0 tackles per game, and after three pass deflections last contest, is also tied for third overall in the SAC with 1.5 passes defensed per game. Wilson will play a key role in Brevard’s attempt to stop Jonas Randolph and the Mars Hill run attack in the contest.
Mars Hill Players to Watch
Jonas Randolph - Randolph, a three-time preseason All-American running back, comes into today’s game sitting in the top 10 all-time among the South Atlantic Conference running backs and is the Mars Hill all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and points scored. A dual purpose threat, Randolph already has won the SAC Offensive Player of the Week award for his week one performance in which he picked up 163 yards on 27 carries, while catching two balls for 41 yards. He added another 175 yards and a pair of scores last week against Western Carolina. Last season against the Tornados, Randolph accumulated 103 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards, plus a touchdown, and figures to carry the bulk of the load against the Tornados defense, which comes into the game 107th in the NCAA in allowing 169.0 rushing yards per game.
Rudy Cabral - A native of Asheville, N.C. and A.C. Reynolds High School, Cabral is no stranger to the South Atlantic Conference or the battle between the Tornados and the Lions of supremacy of Western North Carolina. The 2010 SAC leading tackler averaged 9.5 tackles per game and has been on a rampage through offenses in the Lions first two contests of the season. A preseason All-SAC First Team linebacker, the 6-3, 230 pound junior is leading the way for the Lions with 18 tackles on the season and one tackle for a loss, and is coming off a game in which he recorded two solo tackles and six assisted in Mars Hill’s 52-31 loss to Western Carolina. He looks to continue his success against the Tornados after finishing the game with nine tackles last season.
Kickoff for the 2011 Brevard College Fooball SAC Home Opener against Mars Hill is set for 2 p.m. at Brevard Memorial Stadium in Brevard, N.C.
Fans who are unable to attend the game, can listen live through the broadcast brought to you by the "Voice of the Tornados" Dwayne Summers over the radio at WSQL Radio 1240 AM, or over the internet at www.wsqlradio.com.
Brevard Football Game Information
Mars Hill Game Notes
Brevard College vs Mars Hill LiveStats
Brevard College vs Mars Hill Radio Broadcast
Directions to Brevard Memorial Stadium