Braves drop opener

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

MURFREESBORO – Randolph-Macon used a late surge to down Chowan College 20-10 here Saturday in the season-opener for both clubs.

Despite playing even much of the way, the Yellow Jackets tallied 10 points in the final quarter to break open a 10-3 contest and avenge last year’s victory by the Braves.

The Braves had 187 yards of total offense with 173 of that coming through the airways where quarterback Taylor Furlough was 9-of-31 passing.

The Yellow Jackets were clinging to a 10-3 advantage as the fourth quarter began, but backup signal-caller Heath Brownlee led his team on an eight-play, 72-yard drive that pushed the advantage to 14 points.

Brownlee found Casey Maher in the endzone from 19 yards out with 11:52 to play in the fourth on the score. David Ping added the PAT to give Randoph-Macon a 17-3 advantage.

Anyone who counted the Braves out certainly didn’t talk to Braves’ Offensive Coordinator Bill Holt and his squad.

On the first play from scrimmage after the Yellow Jacket touchdown, Furlough connected with wide receiver Tyvonne Johnson after the freshman stayed with the ball when it bounced off a Randolph-Macon defender. The completion covered 60 yards and gave Chowan the ball on the visiting team’s 15-yardline.

Holt wasted no time calling for the next play to go into the endzone as Furlough found Donta Myrick for the touchdown with 11:06 to go in the game. The Zach Paulk extra point cut the lead to 17-10.

The ensuing kickoff saw Tyler Ball return Paulk’s kick to the Chowan 33-yardline from where the Yellow Jackets set up shop.

After picking up a first down, Randolph-Macon had to settle for a Ping 37-yard field goal that gave them a 20-10 advantage.

Chowan got the ball back with 8:23 to go in the game.

Despite a holding penalty that set up first and 20, the Braves used a pair of pass completions from Furlough to Johnson and a one-yard run by the quarterback to move the ball to near midfield. Four straight incompletions ended the drive and gave Randolph-Macon the ball.

Despite forcing third and long three times, the Braves couldn’t get the stop until there were only 39 seconds to play in the contest, allowing the Yellow Jackets to claim the victory.

The first half was basically uneventful as neither team could get anywhere with the football. The only score of the half came when Ping made a 22-yard field goal as time expired to give Randolph-Macon a 3-0 lead.

After forcing a Chowan punt to start the second half, Randolph-Macon capitalized on their first possession.

The Yellow Jackets marched 70 yards on six plays, capped by a Daniel Bowles’ pass to Casey Maher for a touchdown with 10:24 to play in the third quarter. Ping made the PAT to give Randolph-Macon a 10-0 advantage.

Chowan scored their only points of the first three quarters with 1:23 to play in the third. Paulk connected on a 37-yard field goal to cut the lead to 10-3.

Overall, the Braves had 52 offensive plays while Randolph-Macon had 70. The offensive total of 187 yards (including only 14 yards rushing) was misleading as a bad snap and a big loss on a sack cost the Braves 20-plus yards.

The Braves did have four sacks on the day for a total loss of 21 yards.

The next three weeks will find the Braves on the road as they travel to Greensboro College next Saturday followed by trips to Ferrum College and Newport News Apprentice.

They return to the friendly confines of Garrison Stadium on October 2 when they host North Carolina Wesleyan as part of their annual Homecoming festivities.