Mars Hill, N.C. – The Brevard College men’s football team traveled just 50 miles northwest on Saturday afternoon, as Coach Hamilton’s squad gave the Mars Hill Lions all that they could handle before ultimately falling 28-14 at Meares Stadium.
The loss drops the Tornados to 1-6 and 0-4 in the SAC, while Mars Hill improved to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
The Tornados shocked the Lions on their opening offensive possession, as sophomore quarterback Trey Wilborn helped guide the BC offense down the field, 66-yards on five-plays, which was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back John Taylor. After sophomore kicker Chase Henry made good on the PAT, the Tornados had quieted the Meares Stadium by going up 7-0 with only 2:29 ticked off the clock.
Yet the Lions answered on their opening offensive series as quarterback Ricky Spradling connected with running back George Stripling at of the backfield on an 18-yard touchdown pass, which topped off an 11-play, 63-yard drive. The extra point attempt would fail as the holder miss handled the snap, leaving the Tornados ahead by one at 7-6.
The Lions would find the end zone again midway through the second quarter, as tailback George Washington scored on a 5-yard touchdown off the right-side of the offensive line to give Mars Hill their first lead of the game at 13-7.
The two-teams would go scoreless for the remaining 13:40 to play in the first half, with each team’s offense unable to move the ball both effectively and efficiently for most of the quarter, leaving the score at 13-7 at intermission.
In the third quarter, the Tornados scored first, as junior Matthew Gaines, who played at the slot back position for the game, took a pitch from Wilborn on an option play from 4-yards out and ran into the end zone to put the Tornados back on top at 14-13 with 6:35 to play in the third quarter.
Yet Mars Hill again had an answer, as the Lions drove down the field on their next offensive series, as Washington scored on a 22-yard draw play up the middle to put the Lions back on top 19-14. Mars Hill elected to go for a two-point conversion, in which Spradling hit Elroy Harris in left side of the end zone to put the Lions up by one-touchdown at 21-14.
Mars Hill added an insurance score with 8:14 remaining in the game, as wide receiver Tyrea Allen scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Spradling to put the Lions up for good at 28-14.
The Tornados had two more chances to score but ultimately good not get the offense going as the Mars Hill defense showed their depth down the stretch to force the Tornados to punt and turnover the ball on downs in their final two possessions.
Brevard had 186 total yards of offense, all of which came on the ground, as Wilborn was 0-for-4 through the air on the day. The Lions had 358 total yards, with 213 coming on the ground by way of a number of rushers.
Wilborn led the attack for BC, as he had 90 yards on 16 rushing attempts. Gaines had eight carries for 48 yards and a score, while Taylor had 13 carries for 32 rushing yards and a touchdown.
For Mars Hill, Spradling was 13-of-18 for 145 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while also rushing six times for 38 yards. Washington led the way with 92 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, while Stripling had 73 yards on 12 rushing attempts. Allen had six catches for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, senior safety Joshua Durm led the Tornados with 8 total tackles, 5 of which were solo tackles. Junior linebacker Brandon Rawls had 7 total tackles, 3 solo and one sack for the game. Freshman cornerback Chase Waldo had 6 total tackles and an interception.
Safety Keadran Pinckney led the way for Mars Hill with 7 total tackles, while defensive lineman Jeff Pell had 6 tackles and one sack to go along with a forced fumble.
The Tornados will return home for their next game, as BC will play host to Carson-Newman College on Homecoming Weekend, Saturday, October 25 at 2 p.m. The Lions will play at Lenoir-Rhyne next Saturday night at 7 p.m.