Brevard, N.C.- The Brevard College football team lost their South Atlantic Conference home opener 43-12 to the Wingate Bulldogs at Brevard Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
The Tornados offense was crippled by turnovers, losing five fumbles which the Wingate offense then converted into 26 points. Wingate quarterback Robbie Nallenweg went 21-for-35 for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
The two teams traded field goals in the first quarter, starting with Wingate's kicker Matthew Sierk nailing a 45-yard field goal at the 10:20 mark for the game's first points. Brevard's Ben Noboa answered at 6:34 with 27-yard field goal after Rufus Jenkins recovered an Anthony Chambers muffed punt at the Wingate 12-yard line.
The Bulldogs drove 66 yards on four plays on their next possession, completed with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Nallenweg to Tim Nalesnik. The pair combined for 53 yards on the drive, and Nalesnik finished with three catches for 57 yards.
With the Bulldogs leading 10-3 in the second quarter, the Tornados drove the ball deep into Wingate territory for a chance to tie the game. On third and goal at the Wingate one-yard line, Derek Church lost a fumble that was recovered by Wingate's Richie Kazazian and returned 94 yards to the Brevard five-yard line. The turnover stifled BC's scoring chance and left the Bulldogs in prime scoring position.
A tackle for a one-yard loss by Billy Muscatello and a pass break up in the end zone by Phillip Curcio forced Wingate to a field goal, which made it a 13-3 game.
The Brevard defense came up big again on the Bulldogs next drive. On 2nd and 10 from the BC 20, linebacker Michael Gruber intercepted a Nallenweg pass in the end zone for a touchback. Gruber later picked off Nallenweg in the third quarter for his second interception of the game.
BC pieced together a 55-yard drive with time winding down in the second quarter, culminating with a Noboa 23-yard field goal as time expired. The game went into halftime with the Bulldogs leading 13-6, but Wingate outscored Brevard 30-6 after the break to produce the 43-12 final.
Modzelle Atkins led the BC ground attack, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Atkins found the endzone for BC's only touchdown on a 15-yard rush at the 1:42 mark in the third quarter. Brevard attempted a two-point conversion that was unsuccessful, making the score 23 -12.
The Tornados kickoff on the road next Saturday, September 29th in South Atlantic Conference action against Tusculum at Pioneer Field at 2 p.m.