Asheville, N.C. - The Tornados broke the school record for rushing yards in a game for the second time this season, improving their mark to 412 yards on the ground, pounding Southern Virginia with the NCAA Division II’s best rushing attack on their way to a 42-7 victory.
With the win, Brevard moves to 4-0 on the season, increasing their modern school record winning streak to four games, while the Knights move to 0-4.
Lawrence Martin broke out with a big game against the Knights, carrying the ball nine times for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and hauling in two passes for another 36 yards and a score. Neville Bryce contributed a combined 107 yards rushing and receiving and a touchdown, and quarterback Matthew Gaines went 5-11 in the air with a pair of touchdown passes.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brandon Rawls led the team with 13 tackles, with three going for a loss. He were joined by a pair of sophomores as Prince Simunyu had 11 tackles from his outside linebacker position, including a diving interception on a fourth down play to go with half a sack, and Preseason All-SAC 2nd team defensive back Michael Gist had a pair of interceptions, returning one 87 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown as the Tornados held the Knights to 295 total yards, with most coming after the game was no longer in doubt.
Sam Trulock led the Knights offense, passing the ball 35 times, completing 19 for 170 yards. Quinton Garrus handled the bulk of the carries for the spread offense, moving 53 yards on 17 carries. Brad Schultz was Trulock’s favorite target out in the flats, pulling in eight catches for 79 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Vernon Joines led the team with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Devin Huch picked off a pass from Michael Crumbaker to lead the Knights secondary, while Clark Steele recorded the lone sack for Coach Fitzgerald’s team.
The Tornados marched down the field on their opening possession, helped by a pair of lucky bounces as they went eight plays and 70 yards for their first score of the afternoon. Martin took the pitch on the first play of the game, racing around the right end before being chased down by Joiner, who punched the ball out of the BC ball carrier’s grasp. The ball sat on the turf at Asheville High School Memorial Stadium for a brief second before being kicked out of bounds for the Tornados to retain possession.
Martin recovered from this brief relapse as he carried the ball in from 28 yards out six plays later to put Brevard up 7-0.
After the Tornados defense forced a turnover on downs on the Knights first offensive possession, Brevard’s offense again marched down the field, consuming up 4:29 off the clock on a nine play-61 yard drive as the Martin scored his second touchdown of the day from eight yards out with 2:18 left in the first quarter to give the Tornados the 14-0 lead.
On the Tornados third offensive possession, a miscommunication between Crumbaker and fullback Derek Church led to a turnover which was recovered by SVU’s Steele to provide prime field position at the Brevard 45-yard line at the beginning of the second quarter.
The Knights moved the ball to the Brevard 21, but after Simunyu forced a loss on a swing pass, Trulock’s pass up the middle on fourth down was tipped up in the air by Gist, bounced off the hands of the SVU receiver, before Simunyu was able to corral it in inches from the field turf on the Tornados eight-yard line.
11 plays and 92 yards later, Bryce displayed soft hands coming out of the backfield, setting in a zone on the left side and catching the pass from Gaines before rumbling his way into the end zone to put Brevard up 21-0 with 6:10 left in the opening half.
The score would remain the same until Brevard’s first possession of the second half as the Tornados rode Bryce on an eight-play, 53-yard drive where the 6-0 junior from Cades, S.C. carried the ball four times for 25 yards before turning it over to Justin Fleming who took a pitch and sprinted past the defense to the left pylon as Brevard went up 28-0.
Southern Virginia put together a drive of their own on the next possession, moving the ball 46 yards on ten plays behind the arm of Trulock. On second down and 12 from the Tornados 34, the senior quarterback lofted a pass to the end zone which was batted away by cornerback Austin Williams before settling in the arms of Gist coming over in support as Brevard again denied the Knights quest to put point on the board.
Southern Virginia would cross the goal line on their first drive in the fourth quarter as Trulock lowered his shoulder and sneaked it across with 9:55 left in the game, capping off a 12-play, 66-yard drive.
Martin and Gaines responded on the Tornados next drive, hooking up for a 31-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch after Gaines spun away from a pair of would-be tacklers to put the lead back at 28, as Brevard went up 35-7.
Southern Virginia again moved the ball against the Tornados defense, as Schultz out-jumped the cornerback on the visitors’ sideline for a 43-yard reception to the Tornados 19-yard line. After a five-yard rush by Garrus, Trulock again targeted his favorite receiver out in the right flat, but Gist, anticipating the play, stepped in front of the ball, returning it untouched up the sideline for an 87-yard touchdown, the longest play on the Tornados season, and with Chase Henry’s extra point, the Tornados led 42-7.
Both teams would swap possessions the rest of the way, but neither offense was able to add anything to the scoreboard as the Tornados took home the win, 42-7.
Brevard looks to continue its four-game winning streak next weekend as the Tornados head into conference play, facing off against the Bears of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Brevard is 0-2 against the Bears since resuming play in 2006. Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.