BREVARD, N.C. – Emory & Henry capitalized on a balanced offense attack to score 28 unanswered points in the second half and break away from Brevard as it earned a 48-13 victory on Saturday afternoon at Brevard Memorial Stadium.
Despite a solid performance by Brevard's linebacking corp of Jinsly Jhon and Jason Nieradka, who combined for 28 tackles, the Wasps tallied 332 yards on the ground and 203 through the air. Jhon came through with 15 total tackles (five solo), while Nieradka added 13 tackles (five solo), to lead the way for a defensive unit that recorded 109 tackles, six for loss.
The Tornado (0-2) offense was highlighted by the trio of Jarkevius Hopkins, O'Shay Carter and Bubba Craven. Hopkins led Brevard in rushing with 79 yards as he carried the ball 13 times over the course of the contest.
Carter, making his first start under center, ended the game completing 16-of-35 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Craven hauled in six catches for 71 yards to lead all Tornado receivers.
"I was really thrilled to see the way that Hopkins ran hard today," said head coach Bill Khayat. "He did a phenomenal job against this team last year, so we wanted to go in there and do some things that would utilize him. The other key is that the defense started out strong, much like we did against Davidson a week ago, it is just that once things started to get away from us then they can't be out there and get worn down. Without the depth that we need to survive it's just going to be that way throughout the season until we get that rectified.
"The defense knows that the offense is going to have to go out there and perform," added Khayat. "If they don't perform then the defense knows that they are going to have to do better each time. Everyone understands that, as we have said over the past few weeks, that we have five offensive linemen who have limited collegiate experience. Obviously communication is key component to the game, but one place that it is really highlighted is on the offensive line because of all the different calls that are made among five people. Everyone can handle it, it is just a matter of getting the communication down and that is where we are lacking. That is what forces a number of three-and-outs and puts the defense back out on the field."
The two teams battled throughout the opening quarter with Emory & Henry grabbing an early 3-0 advantage on a 27-yard field goal by Matt Sears. The Tornados answered on the ensuing possession, marching 65 yards in 12 plays to knot the game on a 41-yard conversion by Joseph Calhoun.
"I am extremely proud of our special teams today as well, in particular Joseph Calhoun," said Khayat. "He connected on a number of critical field goals that really gave us some momentum."
Taking over in Brevard territory deep in the first quarter, the Wasps scored the first touchdown of the game on an 18-yard pass from Dominic Dunnaville to Derrick Yates as they assumed a 10-3 advantage.
The Tornados went to work in their first drive of the second quarter as Carter hit an open Craven for gains of 11 and 16 yards to move the ball near midfield. A 13-yard gain by Hopkins put the ball deep into the Emory & Henry territory. Carter capped off the eight-play, 75-yard drive, with a 25-yard strike to Xavier Brown, who managed to shed two Wasp defenders as he scored the tying touchdown.
Emory & Henry countered with a 20-yard field goal by Sears and an 11-yard scamper by Sam Wagner to move in front 20-10 with less than a minute left before the intermission. However, Brevard's hurry-up offense marched 54 yards on eight plays, taking 43 second off the clock, as Calhoun converted a 40-yard field goal to make for a 20-13 halftime margin.
The Wasps began to set the tone for the game in the third quarter, scoring their third touchdown of the afternoon when Kevin Saxton found Derrick Yates in the endzone on a 10-yard pass as they forged ahead 27-13.
Emory & Henry tacked on three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, amassing 128 yards of offense all on the ground. The first touchdown of the fourth came via a four-yard scamper by Sam Wagner. That was followed by a two-yard strike by Brady Justice and a 41-yard touchdown run by Mikel Gamble that made for the 48-13 final.
The Tornados return to action in one week when they head to the Gate City to take on Greensboro College at 1 p.m.