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Chowan’s tank runs dry

MURFREESBORO – The tank simply ran dry.

Despite a valiant effort, Chowan College came up short in their home opener Saturday, falling to Ferrum for the 14th consecutive time by a final of 43-26.

The Braves, who led 19-14 at intermission, ran out of gas and depth as the Panthers rallied for victory.

&uot;We ran out of gas,&uot; first-year coach Lorick Atkinson. &uot;The kids played hard all day, but we ran out of gas. They had more depth and it took its toll late in the game.&uot;

The Braves missed starting quarterback Taylor Furlough, starting center Jordan Toombs and a handful of defensive starters, including top tackler Shatae McEachin, at points during the second half.

With Toombs’ absence, the Braves went to a freshman center which led to a tough adjustment for the quarterbacks.

&uot;We lost our starting center and had to go to a freshman,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;It’s going to take time to get our depth in here.&uot;

Despite falling late in the contest, the Braves moved the ball well on offense during the first half. In fact, three different quarterbacks led Chowan to the endzone.

Ferrum led 7-0 after scoring on the first drive. The Panthers used a 59-yard scoring pass Jermaine Pitts to Chris Silk to take the early lead. Michae Torbert’s kick accounted for the other scoring.

The Braves were able to answer on their next drive.

With Kevin Helmlinger at the helm because of an injury to Furlough, Chowan marched 65 yards on 11 plays to deadlock the score. The big play on the drive came when Helmlinger found Josh Floyd for 42 yards to move the ball to the Panthers 22-yardline. Three plays later, Helmlinger went 10 yards on the ground for the score which, coupled with Nick Alejandro’s kick, made it 7-all.

Both teams struggled offensively for the next few drives until Chowan moved Floyd to quarterback. The junior connected with James Fox on the first play from scrimmage and the wide receiver scampered the 36 yards to paydirt. The conversion failed, leaving Chowan with a 13-7 advantage.

Two drives later, the Panthers pulled back ahead. Following a Chowan punt, Ferrum used two plays to score with the paydirt play coming on a Terrel Mulford pass to Carlton Hughes for 30 yards. Torbert hit the PAT to give Ferrum a 14-13 lead.

The Braves again answered quickly, scoring on their next possession.

With Furlough in at quarterback, he completed a 44-yard strike to Floyd who scored with 1:09 to play in the first half. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Braves ahead 19-14.

Chowan took the opening kickoff of the second half and started a drive, but got a holding penalty and were forced to punt. Glenn Williams’ punt was blocked by Kenny Jones, giving the Panthers the ball at the Chowan 43-yardline.

It took nine plays for Ferrum to reach the endzone, but they were able to score on a five-yard run by Jacob Hawkins. The two-point conversion pass from Pitts to Mulford made it 22-19 in favor of Ferrum.

As they had all day, the Braves answered on their next drive.

After moving backwards nine yards on the first two plays, Furlough found Floyd again and the junior scampered 68 yards to paydirt. Alejandro’s kick was good and the Braves led 26-22 with 10:01 to play in the third quarter.

The score remained that way until the fourth quarter when Ferrum scored on a Mulford two-yard rush. Torbert added the PAT as Ferrum led 29-26.

Chowan again appeared ready to answer, driving from their own 26-yardline to the Ferrum 43. The drive came to an end when Nick Cordero recovered a Furlough fumble.

The Panthers took four plays to punch it in, scoring on a seven-yard run from Hawkins. Torbert’s extra point made it 36-26.

Chowan again set up shop at their own 25-yardline and started a drive. On fourth-and-two from the 33-yardline, the Braves rolled the dice with only 6:12 to play but came up short on the conversion.

Ferrum punched in a meaningless score with 4:45 to play when Mulford went 20 yards to round out the 43-26 win.

&uot;We moved the ball extremely well, especially in the first half,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;As I said during our press conference Tuesday, we had to stop their quarterback and we didn’t get it done.

&uot;Last year they beat us 44-0, so I think we’re a lot better,&uot; he added. &uot;The great thing about college football is that we get to play again next week.&uot;

The Braves will indeed play again Saturday where they host Newport News Apprentice in the second game of a three-week home stand. Game time is 1 p.m.