Wingate, NC (North Greenville University) - The Crusader offense scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and the defense intercepted a pass with 23 seconds remaining as North Greenville defeated Wingate University 38-34 on Saturday afternoon.
Wingate got on the board early in the first quarter, using a 10-yard rush on the first drive of the game to gain a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 14-0 with a 30-yard pass to Jordan Berry with 12:46 remaining in the first half of play.
Junior Justin Gravely put the Crusaders on the board with a 45-yard field goal with just over three minutes remaining before freshman running back Trey Walker scored from 38 yards out to make the halftime score 17-10 in favor of Wingate.
After the Crusaders blocked a Wingate punt on their first drive of the second half, sophomore quarterback Nelson Hughes connected with fellow sophomore tight end on a one-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17-17 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.
A 38-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead before Wingate used two big plays, a 73-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard touchdown pass gave them a 34-17 lead heading into the final quarter of the game.
In the fourth quarter, North Greenville came alive, scoring 21 unanswered points and holding Wingate to just 74 yards and forced an interception in the comeback.
The Crusaders and Bulldogs traded possessions to open the quarter before North Greenville's Simeon Byrd ended a 13-play, 63-yard drive with a three-yard score to cut the deficit to 10 points with just over seven minute left to play.
On the team's next drive, Hughes and freshman wide receiver Tyrecous Garrett got the ball in the end zone on a seven-yard touchdown pass to cut the Wingate lead to 34-31 with 3:39 remaining in the game.
The defense forced Wingate to punt on the next drive, giving the Crusaders the ball inside the Bulldog 25 yard line with 2:40 on the clock. Hughes completed a 16-yard pass to freshman Robbie Brown to gain the first down, followed by a six-yard rush and nine-yard completion to Freddie Martino to put North Greenville inside the 10-yard line. T. Walker finished the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to give the Crusaders a four-point lead with a minute left in the game.
Wingate began the ensuing drive on their own 18-yard line and drove down the field with two passes over 15 yards before freshman Tony Godbolt intercepted a Bulldog pass with 23 second on the clock at the North Greenville 11-yard line to secure the 38-34 road victory.
The Crusader offense totaled 460 total yards as Hughes completed 37-of-59 pass attempts for 354 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Martino led all receivers with 17 receptions for 185 yards, while Brown recorded three catches for 43 yards. T. Walker totaled 87 yards on the ground with two touchdowns and S. Byrd scored a touchdown of his own for the North Greenville running game.
The North Greenville defense was led by senior Braelen Meredith who finished with 11 total tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack, while sophomore lineman Antonio Barron totaled 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the game.
The Crusaders (5-4) take on Catawba College next Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. in Tigerville, SC.
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