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Chowan prepares for home opener

MURFREESBORO – When fans rise to their feet to welcome the Chowan University football team they will be doing so for the first time.

Not only will the Hawks be home for the first time during the 2008 campaign, it will be a different Chowan team that takes the field. Under the leadership of first-year Head Football Coach Tim Place, the Hawks are also in their inaugural season as members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Saturday they will step out of league play when they welcome South Atlantic Conference member Brevard College to James G. Garrison Stadium.

The game’s kickoff is set for 12 noon and will feature the induction of three new members to the Chowan University Hall of Fame. Ricky Locklear, Dock Kelly III and Richard Conway will become the Class of 2008 during the halftime ceremonies.

The Hawks enter the game still looking for a scoring offense, having scored just three points in their first two CIAA contests – losses to Elizabeth City State University and St. Paul’s College.

The offense has, however, been able to move the football. In two games the Hawks have gained 334 yards rushing while surrendering 332. They have also moved the football through the air with 224 yards of passing offense.

Quarterback C.J. Westler has led the Hawks in both areas, picking up 152 yards on the ground while passing for 202. Second in rushing is Brandon Myrick who has 16 attempts and 82 yards. J.J. Spates has attempted 20 carries and picked up 52 yards.

Westler has completed 22 of 71 passes and has been picked off five times. He has a long of 21 yards for the season. Marcus Brown has completed three of 13 passes in his backup role and has 22 yards in completions.

James Fox leads all receivers with eight grabs for 114 yards while Eddie Coard has seven catches for 55 yards. Tim Watson has five receptions for 39 yards.

Junior kicker Corey Cline has been the only person to score for Chowan, booting a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Elizabeth City State game to account for the team’s only score.

Defensively Jomo Brown has led Chowan, recording 12 tackles, eight of which have been solo. Quinten Ladson and Jeremy Bednarz-Gray have each made 10 tackles, nine of which have been solo. Ladson has added five tackles for loss, two sacks and two quarterback hurries while Bednarz-Gray has two tackles for loss, one breakup and one quarterback hurry to go along with one fumble recovery.

Those who have five or more tackles include Marcus Johnson, Phil Koch, Jaron Thorpe, Greg Palmer, Josh Barrett and Mickey Jenkins.

Running back John Taylor leads Brevard into the contest. He has gained 186 yards on 39 carries during the Tornadoes opening two contests – a win over Pikeville College and a loss to UNC-Pembroke. He is followed by Donald Hudson who has gained 50 yards on just eight carries as well as Desmond Wilson who has gained 33 yards on 11 carries.

Kyle Hamilton leads the quarterback brigade for Brevard, having completed 20 of 38 passes for 151 yards thus far this season. Matthew Gaines, the backup quarterback for the Tornadoes, has completed his only pass of the year for seven yards.

Hudson is the leading receiver, having grabbed five balls for 67 yards while Taylor has four catches for 52 yards. Kyle Irby has three catches for 18 yards.

Defensively, the Tornadoes are led by Joshua Durm, the senior safety, who has 9.5 tackles and has a fumble recovery. Inside linebacker Stanley Jones has the same 9.5 tackles and a pass breakup. Shorick Johnson, the sophomore cornerback, has recorded nine tackles. Trey Wilbon his next with 7.5 and Zac McAlister has seven tackles.