Brevard, NC (NGU Release) - The Crusaders used a career-best performance from sophomore quarterback Nelson Hughes to defeat the Tornados of Brevard College 41-28 on Saturday night.
After Brevard scored a touchdown on its first drive of the game, junior kicker Justin Gravely put the Crusaders on the board with a 24-yard field goal with 3:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Crusaders scored again minutes later as Hughes a senior receiver Freddie Martino connected on a 66-yard touchdown pass to give North Greenville a 10-7 lead that it would never relinquish.
North Greenville's defense forced the Tornados to punt on the following drive as the Crusaders used a 5-play, 56-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard pass from Hughes to Martino, the pair's second of the day to gain a 10-point advantage.
Freshman running back Simeon Byrd did the damage for North Greenville to close out the first half, scoring once on an 11-yard run and again on a 15-yard pass from Hughes as North Greenville carried a 31-7 lead into intermission.
The momentum carried over into the second half for North Greenville as Hughes and running back Trey Walker dialed in a 36-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the half to go ahead 38-7 before Brevard scored on a 3-yard run on the ensuing drive to cut into the Crusader lead.
Hughes and Martino would hook up once more, this time on an 8-yard touchdown pass, to score the Crusaders' final point of the night as Brevard recorded two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give North Greenville its fourth straight victory to open the 2013 season.
The Crusader offense totaled 503 yards in the game, headlined by Hughes who completed 27-of32 pass attempts for a school-record 385 yards and four touchdowns. Martino tied a school record with three touchdowns among his 11 receptions for 167 yards, while DeVontez Rouse caught seven passes for 62 yards as Hughes completed a pass to eight different receivers.
Senior linebacker Braelen Meredith led the Crusader defense with 12 total tackles, including one tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery, while Reubyn Walker (11 tackles) and Nick Rodgers (10 tackles) also finished atop the defensive stat sheet.
The Crusaders (4-0) will travel to Charleston, SC next Saturday, Oct. 5 for a matchup with former head coach Jamey Chadwell and Charleston Southern University at 11 a.m.