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Chowan tops Builders in four OTs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – It took four overtimes.

It took a 28-point rally.

But, it was worth it.

Chowan University’s football team came back from a 28-0 halftime deficit to defeat Newport News Apprentice School 61-55 in the fourth overtime Saturday afternoon in the 58th annual Oyster Bowl.

“We just kept fighting, kept climbing that hill,” third-year coach Lorick Atkinson said. “I am so proud of the players and the coaching staff. We left everything we had on the field and, wow, the team really earned it today.”

Trailing 28-0, Chowan finally got on the board with 2:54 to play in the third quarter when senior quarterback Josh Floyd connected with Louis Williams on an 80-yard paydirt strike. Cory Cline added the point after and the Hawks trimmed the deficit to 28-7.

Just moments later, the Hawks got the ball back again and Floyd found Williams another time, this time on a 46-yard touchdown pass. With Cline’s PAT, the score was 28-14 in favor of the Builders.

The comeback seemed to be falling short when Newport News scored almost four minutes later on a 24-yard pass from Kyle Franklin to Travis Reid. The Matt Edelen kick gave the Builders a 35-14 lead.

Chowan still didn’t quit, however, as the Hawks scored 21 points in the final 9:37 to send the game into overtime.

The first score came with 9:37 to play when Floyd capped a four-play, 63-yard drive on a one-yard plunge. Cline’s kick got the Hawks to 35-21.

CU got into the endzone again when Floyd scored on a three-yard run after a 10-play, 50-yard drive that took 3:16 off the clock. Cline’s kick made it 35-28.

Chowan still wasn’t finished as Floyd connected with C’Darris Wright on an 11-yard score with 19 ticks left on the clock. Cline connected on the PAT to deadlock the score at 35-all.

The Hawks got into the endzone first in the initial overtime session, scoring on a four-yard Floyd run. Cline’s kick gave CU the 42-35 lead.

Newport News answered with a one-yard run from Sam Arnold and an Edelen kick to force a second OT.

The Builders then took the first advantage in the second overtime when Reid caught a 12-yard pass from Franklin and Edelen added the PAT as Newport News led 49-42.

Chowan deadlocked the score again when Wright scored on a three-yard run and Cline added the PAT.

The Hawks got the ball first in the third overtime and scored on a Jake Thorne one-yard plunge. The conversion pass failed and Chowan led 55-49.

Newport News scored on a three-yard run by Arnold. The Builders’ conversion pass also failed and the score stayed tied at 55-all.

The Hawks got the game-winning score when Floyd connected with James Fox on a 12-yard pass. The conversion also failed, but Chowan’s defense held the Builders out of the endzone and preserved the win.

Floyd was named Most Valuable Player of the 58th Oyster Bowl after leading his team to the win. The senior quarterback finished the contest with 228 yards passing on a 10-of-24 day and added 78 rushing yards on 18 carries.

“Josh came out a little flat in the first half,” Atkinson said. “But, what a way to go out. He really played hard in the second half.

In total, Chowan gained 388 yards of total offense led by Williams’ 186 yards receiving. He also added two touchdowns in his six receptions.

Fox had 45 yards receiving on three catches with one touchdown.

Senior Gabe White and sophomores Kurt Carlson and Anthony Hinton led the Hawks’ defense with 11 tackles while Aaron Hawks and Jomo Brown had 10 each.

“What a great way to go out this season,” Atkinson said. “This win carries momentum into the off season and on the recruiting trail.”