Princeton Times

Sports

September 7, 2012

Mountain Lions record 24-21 win over Bears

ATHENS — There were three chapters in the “book” that was the story of the Concord University Mountain Lions’ 24-21 victory over the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears Saturday in the Mountain Lions’ season opener at James H. Callaghan Stadium.

The first chapter had nothing to do with the efforts of either team, as a lightning strike near the stadium forced Concord officials to delay the game’s start from 7 p.m. to 7:55 p.m. and to request that spectators either go to their cars or to the Carter Center until further notice. Later, a rain storm soaked both teams, starting in the second quarter.

The second chapter spotlighted the performance of the visitors from Hickory, N.C., in the first half as they dominated play for the most part en route to jumping out to a 21-0 lead.

On the Bears’ (0-1) third offensive possession, quarterback Reuben Haynes, rushing the ball on his third consecutive play, scored from 42 yards out with 6:20 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 L-R lead (Zach Neumann kick). The five-play, 84-yard drive saw Haynes rush for 25 yards to set up his score and Corron Boston rush for 12 yards.

The L-R special teams were responsible for the next Bears’ score as Greg Baker blocked a punt by Concord’s Brad Cox and returned it 20 yards with :07 left in the first to make the score 14-0 L-R (Neumann kick).

The Bears made it 21-0 (Neumann kick) with 2:00 left in the first half as Chris Robinson scored from two yards out to cap off an eight-play, 50-yard drive. The drive saw runs of 26 yards by Graham Duncan and 16 yards by Jarrod Spears.

As the rain started pouring in the second quarter, the Concord defense was the first Mountain Lion unit to score as Davon Marion, in his first game back after a year’s absence, forced a Boston fumble, then returned it eight yards to make the score 21-7 L-R (Andy Ellington kick) with :55 left in the first half.

Despite the rain, the Concord passing attack led by Zach Grossi asserted itself in the second half, starting with the first possession in the third quarter. A 12-play, 79-yard drive saw Grossi hit passes of 22 and 13 yards to Deron Williams; 17 yards to Randall Hawkins and 13 yards to Ansel Ponder, before scoring on a one-yard plunge to make the score 21-14 L-R (Ellington kick) with 6:32 left in the third quarter.

Their last possession of the third quarter saw Concord tie the score 21-21 (Ellington kick) as Grossi hit Ponder with a 17-yard score with 1:04 left to cap off a seven-play, 54-yard drive. The score was set up by Grossi passes of  18 yards to Williams and 13 yards to Hawkins.

The final scoring of the game saw Ellington hit a 41-yard field goal to make the score 24-21 Concord with 11:14 left in the fourth quarter. The seven-play, 16-yard drive was set up by a fumble by L-R’s Isaiah Whittaker recovered by Concord’s Gary Saylor at the L-R 40-yard line.

From there, the Mountain Lions defense stiffened, forcing a punt, then an interception of a Brett Boyles pass by Jake Lilly, then another Boyles interception by Marion to clinch the game.

L-R was led in rushing by Haynes with 101 yards and a touchdown in 19 attempts before leaving the game due to an injury. Boyles went 3-8 passing for 36 yards and two interceptions. Greyson Wells caught two balls for 31 yards. O’neil Blake had nine tackles, seven solo, and an interception.

For Concord (1-0), Chris Rodriquez rushed 10 times for 88 yards. Grossi went 24 for 41 for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Hawkins caught 10 passes for 104 yards. Spenser Jordan had 11 tackles, eight solo, three for loss, while Marion had 10 tackles, seven solo, two for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Grossi moved into 13th place all-time in the WVIAC in career passing yards and into a tie for 12th all-time, with former CU standout Mike Lazo, for career touchdown passes.

Concord will host  Winston-Salem State tomorrow. Game time is 1 p.m.

— Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com or jharvey1@frontiernet.net.

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