Wingate, N.C. - Eric Watts became the first BC wide receiver to break the 100 yard receiving mark since the 2008 season and Kelvin Jeter became the Tornados all-time leading rusher, but the Wingate Bulldogs came back to crash the Brevard celebration, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter as the Tornados fell in Irwin Belk Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 35-31.
Watts hauled in five catches for 114 yards and three touchdowns, while Rodney Donald led the Tornados (1-3, 0-2 SAC) rushing attack with 11 carries for 77 yards, but three BC turnovers allowed Wingate (2-2, 1-0 SAC) to stay in the contest and Cody Haffly delivered, going 25-for-32 for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Bryan Caffrey was the main target, going for nine catches and 91 yards and a score, and Josh Covington added 10 carries for 80 yards and rushing touchdown as the Bulldogs overcame a halftime deficit for the second straight season in their come-from-behind victory over the Tornados.
A BC fumble and a Wingate punt ended the first drives for both teams in the game, but the Tornados found the scoreboard on their second possession after starting their drive on the Brevard 20 yard line. Donald broke through up the middle for 25 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Jeter followed with a 13 yard rush moving the ball into Wingate territory as the Tornados moved the ball inside the Wingate 30. However, the drive stalled and Brevard turned to freshman kicker Austin Clark, who put the Tornados on the scoreboard with a 43 yard field goal with 4:44 to play in the first quarter. The 43 yard field goal was the longest made field goal attempt by a Tornados kicker in BC history.
A turnover on downs, a fumble and a punt ended the next three possession in the game before the Tornados moved down the field again, moving inside the Wingate 20 yard line on a 17 yard carry by Andre Overholt. After Aaron Reese was stopped on a quarterback keeper on second-and-8, the senior quarterback slipped to the outside and targeted Watts in the back of the end zone, connecting with the 6-4 tight end for the 17 yard touchdown reception to give BC the 10-0 lead with 6:17 to play in the first half.
The Bulldogs wasted zero time in responding as Ben Pinkard fielded Clark’s kickoff at the Wingate goal line and weaved his way up the field, juking the BC kicker at the 50 yard line and coasted his way into the end zone for the 100 yard kickoff return touchdown to put the score at 10-7.
Brevard found the end zone one final time before the half as Reese and Watts again hooked up on third down, this time on third-and-8 on the Wingate 30 yard line as Reese stepped up in the pocket and delivered the strike to Watts and the receiver shrugged off a tackler as he stepped into the end zone to give BC the 17-7 lead as the teams went into the locker room.
The momentum was still in Brevard’s favor at the start of the second half as Haffly dropped back to pass on the first play from scrimmage and was pulled down by Rufus Jenkins. The ball popped loose and in the ensuing scramble Christian Lumbu came out of the pile with the ball, giving the Tornados the ball on the WU 13 yard line. Five plays later, Donald went into the middle of the pile, across the goal line from one yard out to put the score at 24-7 with 12:28 on the clock in the third quarter.
Haffly directed Wingate for their first offensive touchdown of the game with 5:04 left in the third quarter, capping off a 10 play, 85 yard drive as he found Caffrey in the end zone for the 14 yard scoring strike, but the Tornados again answered as Reese found Watts for his third touchdown of the day, this one from 63 yards out as the teams headed into the fourth quarter with Brevard up 31-14.
The Bulldogs scored on the first play of the final quarter as Haffly capped off a six play, 52 yard drive by hitting Ellington for an eight yard touchdown to bring the Bulldogs back to within 10 points at the 14:54 mark.
The Wingate defense forced the Tornados to a three-and-out on the next possession and on the ensuing punt attempt, Pinkard fielded the ball at the Wingate 43 yard line and a block sprung him free down the sideline before Trey Bray chased him down at the Brevard eight yard line. A sideline infraction gave Wingate the ball on the BC 4 yard line and the Bulldogs scored on the first play from scrimmage as Covington carried over the goal line to put the score within three at 31-28 with 12:14 left in the game.
Reese was intercepted on the next BC drive and Haffly took over on the BC 34 yard line, moving the Bulldogs down the field on nine plays before Andrew Nallenweg gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game with a one yard plunge up the middle with 6:57 on the clock and Matthew Sierk’s extra point put Wingate up 35-31.
Brevard was unable to answer on their final possession and the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock as the Tornados fell on the road in Irwin Belk Stadium, 35-31.
Lumbu became Brevard’s all-time sack leader in the game, bringing down Haffly twice in the contest and Jenkins also contributed a pair of sacks, while Prince Simunyu led the Tornados with 12 tackles in the game.
Timmy Rogers led the Wingate defense with 12 tackles in the contest, while Jack Taylor and Lamont Floyd recorded a sacks and Warren Brown had an interception as the Bulldogs proved victories in their first South Atlantic Conference game of the season.
Brevard returns home to Brevard Memorial Stadium next weekend for their first night contest in Brevard, N.C. next season as they welcome Tusculum College on Saturday, October 1st. Kickoff between the Tornados and the Pioneers is set for 6 p.m.