ATHENS — For fans of explosive offense, the game Saturday night at Callaghan Stadium would definitely be to their liking. The Concord University Mountain Lions and the Knights of Lenior-Rhyne combined for 97 points and 1,104 yards of total offense in the Mountain Lions’ 52-45 overtime victory.

The scoring started with each team’s first possession, as Concord opened the ballgame with an 11-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 12-yard connection from Zach Grossi to Thomas Mayo to make the score 8-0 Concord (Alex Wilson two-point conversion run) with 10:27 left in the first quarter. The drive saw Grossi connections of 11 yards to Andre Coleman, 12 yards to Mayo and 10 yards to Nathan Tanner, plus a 13-yard run by Grossi as key plays.

L-R didn’t waste any time in responding, as quarterback Justin Sanders ran the ball 76 yards on the first play from scrimmage to make the score 8-7 (Colin Corpe kick) with 10:10 left in the first.

Concord then responded again with another 11-play drive, this one for 76 yards, as Brian Kennedy ran the ball in from 14 yards with 5:54 left in the first to make the score 14-7 Concord (kick was blocked). The key play on the drive was a 10-yard run by Grossi.

The third Concord possession of the quarter saw Grossi open it by hitting Jared Brown with an 18-yard pass. Three plays later, Grossi hit Mayo with a 47-yard pass to set up first-and goal from the three-yard line. Two plays after that, Dennis Cole made it 21-7 (Brandon Strupp kick) with 29.2 left in the quarter with a two-yard run. The drive took six plays and 85 yards.

The second Knights score was set up by a fumble recovery and 38-yard return by L-R free safety Marcus Shuford to the Concord 25-yard line. Wide receiver Artis Gilmore ran a reverse 12 yards to make it 21-14 Concord (Corpe kick) with 31.6 left in the first half, ending the five-play, 25-yard drive.

The second half saw the two teams trade scoring possessions and tie the game up five times. The first tie saw Lenior-Rhyne, after a 48-yard kick-off return by Gilmore, make the score 21-all (Corpe kick) in seven plays and 50 yards as Jasper Thomas ran the ball in from 17 yards out,. Andrew Corman had a 14-yard run on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going three plays earlier.

Concord’s next scoring drive was set up by a Rod Harrington recovery of a fumble and a nine-yard run. Thirteen plays and 65 yards later, Grossi hit Rashid Baker with a seven-yard scoring pass with 2:18 left in the third quarter, making it 28-14 (Strupp kick). Key plays in the drive were an 18-yard Grossi to Mayo pass and a 14-yard run by Kennedy.

Thirteen seconds later, on the kick-off, Jamont Jones made it 28-all (Corpe kick) as he returned the ball 90 yards for a score.

Concord made it 35-28 (Strupp kick) on a six-play, 59-yard drive with 14:53 left in regulation as Grossi-hit Mayo with a 28-yard scoring pass for their second touchdown of the day. Three plays earlier, Grossi hit Mayo with a 13-yard pass to keep the drive alive.

The Knights re-tied the game 35-all (Corpe kick) on their next drive as Antwain Ross ran it in from eight yards out with 13:23 left. Two penalties totaling 30 yards on Concord helped the Knights’ cause on the four-play, 52-yard drive. Thomas had an 11-yard run on the second play of the drive.

L-R took its first lead of the game 42-35 (Corpe kick) as Kai Oliveira scored on a one-yard plunge following a Sanders to Justin McCombs 62-yard pass connection with 9:10 left in regulation.

Four plays and 60 yards later, Kennedy, who opened the drive with a 13-yard run, scored on a 24-yard run to make the game 42-all (Strupp kick) with 7:58 left in regulation. Grossi also hit Tanner for 11 yards and Cole ran for 12 yards during the drive.

Corpe ended the next drive with a 33-yard field goal with 4:06 left in regulation to make it 45-42 L-R. The nine-play, 60-yard drive saw a 15-yard penalty on the first play, a 16-yard run by Sanders on the third play, and a 16-yard by Ross on the fifth play.

With 24.1 left in regulation, Strupp ended a seven-play, 38-yard drive with a 35-yard field goal, making it 45-all. Grossi hit Mayo for 15 yards and Baker for 23 yards during the drive.

In overtime, Concord won the toss and elected to go on offense. Kennedy opened the extra session with a 10-yard run. Four plays later on fourth-and-1, Grossi hit Mayo with a six yard scoring pass making the score 52-45 (Strupp kick). L-R failed to answer and the game ended after one overtime period.

Concord (2-0) was led by Grossi who went 29 of 47 for 371 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Kennedy rushed for 131 yards on 18 attempts with two scores. Mayo caught a record 16 passes for a record 253 yards and three touchdowns. Tony Keiling, Jr. had 7.5 tackles (seven unassisted) to lead the defense. Mayo, Cole and Kennedy had 253, 211 and 139 yards, respectively, on total offense.

Lenior-Rhyne was led by Sanders with 4 for 9 passing for 79 yards and 163 yards rushing and a touchdown in 14 attempts. McCombs caught two passes for 63 yards. Shuford had eight tackles, seven unassisted. Jones had 168 yards and Sanders 163, respectively, on total offense.

Concord plays WVIAC rival West Virginia Wesleyan at Hunnicutt Stadium in Princeton tomorrow for the first Rotary Bowl. Game time is 6 p.m. and the Concord Alumni Association will have a tailgater starting at 4 p.m.

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



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