Hawks rout Livingstone
Published 3:01 pm Friday, September 2, 2011
MURFREESBORO – It’s Electric!
While it’s unfortunate that some residents of the area remain without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, there was no power shortage at James G. Garrison Stadium Thursday night as Chowan won its first football season-opener in six years.
The Hawks (1-0) muscled their way to a 43-7 win over Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe (CIAA) Livingstone College (0-1) racking up 452 total yards, the most they’d rang up on an opponent since tallying 562 against Elizabeth City State in the 2009 Down East Classic.
The action was “here, there, & everywhere” as the Chowan defense limited the Blue Bears to just 12 yards of total offense.
For their own offense, Hawks’ redshirt freshman quarterback Cameron Stover – playing in his first game since suffering a concussion nearly 11 months ago to the date – passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns.
Chowan balanced that air assault with the two-pronged ground attack of running backs Elliot Smalls and J.R. Williams. Smalls finished with 86 yards rushing, edging out Williams who finished one yard shy of his running mate with 85.
All-CIAA receiver Robert Holland finished with 80 yards on six catches and a touchdown and Kevin Hodrick – who missed all of last season, but led the CIAA in touchdowns in 2009 with 10 – had 67 yards on seven grabs with a pair of touchdowns.
Still, as the team gathered at midfield following the game, not to do the Electric Slide, but to reflect on this win fourth-year coach Tim Place was philosophical.
“It’s just one game,” he shrugged almost matter-of-factly before refocusing. “Anytime you have an opportunity to win 43-to-7 to open the season it feels good, but at the same time we understand there’s a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he added, “we’ve got a lot of improvement to be made, and we’ve got to get better because we’re facing a playoff team next week.”
Instead it was the Hawks looking like a playoff team as they scored on five of their 10 possessions in the first half tallying 310 yards. But on the flip-side of that, they ended three of those drives with turnovers, including a late second quarter pick-six touchdown interception that prevented the shutout.
Chowan started the game by going 79 yards in 15 plays on their opening drive capped by Stover hitting Hodrick for the tandem’s first scoring catch. The extra point attempt was botched so the lead was just 6-0.
After the Chowan defense stopped Livingstone on three-and-out, the Hawks fumbled the ensuring punt, but Livingstone couldn’t capitalize.
Then, on the next possession, Chowan fumbled it away again.
“We had those two turnovers in the first quarter that hurt us,” said Place, “and we had too many foolish penalties that hurt us.”
But three minutes into the second quarter the Hawks got it in gear. First, they went 43 yards in 10 plays for a Ryan Murphy field goal to make it, 9-0.
Then, after Livingstone fumbled the kickoff at their own 21 yard line, it took just two plays before Adrian Ferns bulled his way in for a score and with the point-after a 16-0 Chowan lead.
The Hawks tacked on two more scores in the quarter on a Michael Satterwhite catch of a toss from Stover and on the next drive Simpson broke free from 13 yards out and with just over two minutes until halftime it was 29-0, Chowan.
Livingstone got some life with time winding down as Chowan’s final drive of the half ended with the Blue Bears’ Justin Avery picking off Stover at the three-yard line and returning it 97 yards for Livingstone’s only score of the game. Still, Chowan led, 29-7, at the break.
Chowan closed out the scoring in the third quarter as Holland got his first score of the season with a touchdown catch and Hodrick hauled in his second of the game to up the lead to 43-7.
Meanwhile, the Chowan defense continued to dominate the Blue Bears offense, forcing three punts and getting the second interception of the evening. The Hawks would finish the game with 10 three-and-outs defensively.
Then, in the fourth quarter, as the game was well in hand the defensive unit held Livingstone to negative nine offensive yards in the final frame.
“I just felt too comfortable,” said Stover after the game. “My line was giving me plenty of time and with the great receivers I have I had no worries. I was just back there playing my game.”
“We work hard on our chemistry,” said Hodrick, “getting our passing routes down and you saw the results.”
“Everybody’s jelling more,” echoed Holland, “and our running game is spreading teams out more.”
“We were trying to see who could have the most yards rushing,” said the smiling Smalls. “We worked hard on the running game in the off-season and we know with balance we can be unstoppable.”
“Our linemen keep us humble,” said Williams. “We just stick to the plays and the coaches tell us to just ‘see green and go’.”
Chowan now gets nine days off before traveling to UNC-Pembroke for their next game on September 10.
They will return to Garrison Stadium on September 17 for another evening contest, a 6 p.m. kickoff versus CIAA foe, Winston-Salem State.