Bronco-busters again

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE – Three-for-three.

Chowan’s Jordan Watkins’ 15-of-22 passing Saturday accounted for nearly half the Hawks’ offense in their 14-13 season-opening win over Fayetteville State. | Next Level Photos / Charles Revelle

Chowan’s Jordan Watkins’ 15-of-22 passing Saturday accounted for nearly half the Hawks’ offense in their 14-13 season-opening win over Fayetteville State. | Next Level Photos / Charles Revelle

For three straight seasons, Chowan University has opened the football season playing Fayetteville State University, and each opener has produced a win.

The latest came Saturday when the Hawks survived a late rally by FSU in Nick Jeralds Stadium and secured a 14-13 victory over the Broncos, improving the Hawks to 4-3 in the series between the two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) rivals.

The Hawks’ defense is still a work-in-progress on the young season, as the Broncos rolled up 322 yards of total offense – most coming in the second half – and with 204 yards gained on the ground while holding the Hawks to 102 offensive yards over the course of the contest.

Jordan Watkins completed 15-22 pass attempts for 105 yards with one touchdown while newcomer Edwin Thomas – subbing for All-CIAA selection Tyree Lee, who sat out the opener – recorded 20 carries for 52 yards throughout the evening. Thomas also hauled in seven passes for 31 yards and one touchdown. Herman Dupas and Tyrone Carter followed with three receptions for 29 and 26 yards, respectively.

Stevie Green led the way for Fayetteville State with 19 carries for 136 yards. DeMarius Davis completed 11-21 passes for 118 yards with former Northeastern High player Gedari Liverman accounting for seven receptions for 91 yards.

Defensively, Dakota Baer led all players in the game with nine tackles (seven solo, two assisted) with 1.5 tackles for loss (six yards), one interception (21 yards) and one sack (three yards). Nate Wyche notched four sacks in the win while Vicente’ Stafford added eight solo tackles in the victory.

Seth Johnson paced the Broncos on defense with eight tackles (four solo, four assisted).

After a scoreless first quarter, Chowan took advantage of a Fayetteville State fumble, setting up a touchdown drive midway through the second quarter. Watkins connected with Thomas on a three-yard pass, and his tumble into the end zone capped an eight-play, 30 yard drive resulting in a 6-0 lead. Connor Killeen made good on the point after attempt to push the Hawks ahead 7-0.

The Hawks’ defense kept the Broncos off the board in the remainder of the quarter, most spectacularly with a stop on a first-and-10 from the Chowan 11, Chowan defensive back Aaron Matthews picked off a Davis pass in the end zone allowing Chowan to take a 7-0 lead into halftime.

On Chowan’s second drive of the third quarter, Killeen missed his second field goal of the game – a 39-yard attempt that would have put Chowan ahead by ten. However, the Hawks got a gift when Davis threw a pass to a Bronco receiver in the flats. The pass fell incomplete, but officials ruled it a lateral, allowing pre-season All-CIAA performer, linebacker Demetrius Newberry to recover what was ruled a Bronco fumble, and return it 15 yards for a touchdown to solidify the Hawks’ momentum. Killeen’s point after attempt was good, extending Chowan’s lead 14-0.

The Broncos answered back in the fourth quarter, as a shotgun snap got past Watkins, allowing FSU’s Darius Darden to fall on it in the end zone for a touchdown and breathe new life into the Broncos. Matthew Trau’s point after attempt was good to cut Chowan’s lead in half with 12:59 remaining in the game. After a Thomas fumble on the Hawks’ 11-yard line, Davis’ six-yard touchdown run left Chowan clinging to a 14-13 lead. After a missed point-after attempt by the Broncos’ David Lamb, the Hawks buckled down defensively and closed out the game for the narrow win.

The Hawks return to action Saturday Sept. 10 as Chowan hosts Campbell University in their home opener at Garrison Stadium. Kick-off is slated for 6 p.m.