Lynchburg, Va. – The Brevard College Tornados Football team (0-2) saw its first action in three weeks on Saturday afternoon as the Tornados faced off with the Dragons of Virginia-Lynchburg (2-2). The NCCAA member institution pulled away from the Tornados by a final score of 16-14, as a timely field goal early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
Both sides traded short offensive possessions early in the first quarter, as neither side could muster a drive longer than three minutes. Virginia-Lynchburg finally pulled through with a 7-minute drive, however, the 12-play drive resulted in a turnover on downs.
Brevard and Virginia-Lynchburg also traded turnovers early in the contest. Freshman running back Jayveon Love was stripped on his first carry by the Dragons, resulting in a fumble lost. The Tornados would strike back, however, as safety Isaac Crisp hauled in his first career interception early in the second quarter. This play was one of four Brevard plays that were named USA South Week 4 Plays of the Week.
The Dragons struck first, as they found the end zone by way of a 31-yard run towards the end of the second quarter. As Virginia-Lynchburg held a 7-0 lead, the Dragons gained the ball back once more before halftime but were forced to punt thanks to a stout defensive stop by the Tornados. It was then that JeQwan George broke through the line and blocked Virginia-Lynchburg's punt that was recovered by Jamerial Parks, which set up Brevard with excellent field position inside the Dragon's five-yard line. The Tornados would capitalize, as Ryan Jordan would connect with tight end Blake Taylor for a three-yard touchdown. Jose Flores would attempt and make the extra point to send this contest into the second half tied.
The third quarter was another scoreless defensive struggle. The Tornados would force their second turnover of the game, as freshman defensive lineman Kaleb Woods forced a fumble that was recovered by Samuel Butikofer. Butikofer would finish the game with eight tackles to go along with 1.5 TFL and a fumble recovery.
Virginia-Lynchburg would kick an early fourth quarter field goal to regain the lead 10-7. Both sides would then trade touchdowns, as the Dragons scored to extend their lead to 16-7, followed by Brevard striking back to cut the lead to two points at 16-14. Freshman Ralph Roman III added this late score, as he hauled an 11-yard pass from Dalton Cole. This play marked the first touchdown reception of Roman's Brevard career. This score brought the Tornados within striking distance late, as the Dragon's lead was cut to 16-14 with 3:08 to play in the game. The Tornados would get the ball back once more and put together a solid drive, but could not capitalize on a game-winning field goal opportunity, and fell to the Dragons by a final score of 16-14.
Inside the box score: Several Brevard Tornados enjoyed fantastic performances against Virginia-Lynchburg. Senior Axel Easter enjoyed a night with plenty of new career highs for himself. Easter racked up four sacks along with nine tackles, 6.5 of which were for a loss. These numbers, along with a forced fumble, were all single-game career highs for the Graham, N.C. native. Freshman Dante Anderson tallied nine tackles as well, which tied Easter for the team lead. Samuel Butikofer finished with eight tackles and 1.5 TFL to go alongside his fumble recovery. Freshman Isaac Crisp recorded his first career interception to add on to the defensive showcase put on by Brevard.
Defensive Turnover Title Belt: Defensive Coordinator Kurt Gouvea introduced the world to the "Defensive Turnover Title Belt" on Saturday. This belt is given on the sidelines to any Brevard player who records a turnover. Two Tornados received this belt on Saturday, as Isaac Crisp and Samuel Butikofer anchored a stout defensive performance, forcing two turnovers in the process.
Coach Bill Khayat on "Tornado Talk": Brevard College Tornados Head Football Coach Bill Khayat made an appearance on the inaugural 2018-19 episode of Tornado Talk, a weekly show detailing the happenings of Brevard College Athletics. Khayat discussed the game against Virginia-Lynchburg, the season-opening match against Davidson, and what the team's plans are moving forward. You can rewatch Episode 1 of Tornado Talk by clicking here. To catch Coach Khayat and the rest of the Brevard College Athletics happenings, you can tune in to Tornado Talk every Monday at 7 p.m. The show is located inside of Dugan's Pub in Brevard, N.C. Fans are encouraged to stop by or stream the show live on the official Facebook page of Brevard Tornados Athletics.
Back in Action: Brevard's Football team saw their first action in three weeks on Saturday, as they had their scheduled bye week followed by a Hurricane Florence influenced schedule change. The Tornados return to action as they open up USA South Conference play against Maryville College. Brevard will make the trip to Maryville Tenn. on September 29, as kickoff is set for 2 p.m. It will be the first time that the two programs have ever met, as Brevard wasn't able to face Maryville last season due to a scheduling conflict as a result of its Division III transition.
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