Braves come back
ASHLAND, Va. – There’s no quit in them Braves.
Trailing 13-0 in the third quarter, Chowan College rallied to a 16-13 win over Randolph-Macon here Saturday afternoon. In the process, the Braves gave first-year skipper Lorick Atkinson his first win as a college head coach.
Despite getting his first win, the coach said he was most pleased for his team and coaching staff.
&uot;I’m so pleased for the kids,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;Some of them had lost eight straight games so it had been a while since they tasted victory.
&uot;They fought back and won the thing,&uot; he added. &uot;They deserve it.&uot;
The Braves had to fight back after struggling on offense in the first half. Chowan had just 57 yards of total offense in the first 30 minutes and trailed 7-0 at the break.
At the intermission, the Braves’ staff continued to press their mantra of &uot;play all 60 minutes.&uot;
&uot;We talked to them at the half and told them to keep fighting,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;We made a few adjustments and came back.&uot;
Randolph-Macon had a chance to possibly put the game away early in the second half, but the Chowan defense stiffened after giving up 67 yards on a drive. The Yellow Jackets marched from their own 32-yardline to the Chowan one-yardline.
At that point, Braves’ junior Outside Linebacker Kyshawn Randall drug Dre McLaughin down five yards behind the line of scrimmage and forced a 23-yard field goal from Reggie Moore to push the lead instead to 10-0.
Moore added another field goal when Chowan senior Taylor Furlough was intercepted on the next drive and Randolph-Macon couldn’t move the ball. Moore’s 33-yard field goal made it 13-0 with 1:36 to play in the third quarter.
If the Braves had wanted to quit, it would have been a good opportunity, but Chowan responded on the next drive.
Facing a third-and-13, Furlough hooked up with Josh Floyd for a 37-yard pickup that moved the ball to the Randolph-Macon 31-yardline.
On the next play, Floyd took the handoff and roared 14 yards for another first down. Jack Ross then picked up 12 yards to move the ball to the five-yardline and give the Braves a first-and-goal.
Ross’s next carry moved the ball to the one, but the drive stalled and Nick Alejandro came in and gave the Braves their first points of the year with a 24-yard field goal which cut the lead to 13-3.
The next big play for the Braves came early in the fourth quarter when Dustin Kunasek blocked a Yellow Jacket punt to give the Braves the ball on the Randolph-Macon 30-yardline.
On the first play after the block, Furlough ran a bootleg and picked up 27 yards, moving the ball to the three where it was first-and-goal. Following a penalty, Jack Ross went two yards for the score which, when coupled with Alejandro’s extra point, cut the lead to 13-10.
The game stayed that way as the team’s exchanged scoreless drives until late in the contest. With the Yellow Jackets driving, Donald Cuff intercepted a Tyler Ball pass to give the Braves the ball with 5:45 to play in the contest.
Facing a third-and-eight, Chowan Offensive Coordinator David Earp went to the air, but the pass was dropped making it fourth-and-eight with four minutes to play.
&uot;I told them let’s go win the game,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;Sometimes you have to roll the dice and this time it paid off.&uot;
On fourth down Earp called the same play and Furlough connected with Brandon Myrick on an 18-yard pickup that moved the ball to the Randolph-Macon 35-yardline.
After Ross gained four yards on the next play, Furlough found James Fox on a 21-yard completion to give Chowan the ball at the Randolph-Macon 10-yardline. Ross picked up one yard on the next play.
Floyd then headed for the endzone, stopping at the one-yardline and flipping over two defenders to score what would the game-winning touchdown.
Randolph-Macon did drive to midfield as time expired, but Randall sacked Ball as time expired to preserve the win.
&uot;Obviously this is the first win as a Division II program and the first win for a team that was 1-9 last year,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;Hats off to Randolph-Macon. They had their kids prepared. Any time you can come back from 13 down, obviously you get a great effort.&uot;
Randolph-Macon’s first score came with no time remaining on the first quarter clock.
McLaughlin went 13 yards for the score on fourth down to cap an 18-play, 86-yard drive. Moore’s PAT made it 7-0 for the Yellow Jackets.
Leading the way offensively for Chowan was Furlough who was 9-for-20 for 134 yards passing and added 19 yards on the ground. Ross led the rushing attack with 41 yards while Floyd added 36.
Defensively, Shatae McEachin had seven solo tackles with 12 total, including three for a loss. Ysidro Wilks and Brett McTheny had nine tackles each while Sean Baldwin and Randall had seven each.