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Chowan opens CIAA action with win at St. Aug’s

RALEIGH – Senior quarterback Bryce Witt accounted for eight total touchdowns while Chowan’s defense registered eight sacks as the Hawks remained unbeaten with a 59-12 CIAA road win here Saturday at St. Augustine’s University.

The 4-0 start by Chowan football is a feat that has not been done since the 1984 season.

Witt – the D2Football.com national Offensive Player of the Week last week – tossed four touchdown passes on Saturday and also ran for four scores.

Tyrek McNeil rushed for a career-high 179 yards on 19 carries as the Hawks unleashed a ground attack that produced 310 yards.

Laurence King hauled in eight receptions for 62 yards and three touchdowns. Imeek Watkins had six receptions and one touchdown.

The Chowan defense was stout as St. Augustine’s went backwards (-16 net rushing yards on 29 attempts). Most of that was due to the eight sacks on the day led by Isaac Anderson with 2.0 sacks. Gilberto Ortiz and Jamae Blank each notched 1.5 sacks.

J’Vin Farmer recorded an interception for 46 yards and recovered a fumble. Connor O’Brien forced a fumble.

Chowan set the tone early by scoring on their first two possessions.

The Hawks started the contest on an 11 play, 74 yard drive. McNeil got that drive moving with a pair of first down runs for a total of 33 yards. Witt connected with King for 14 yards before finding Watkins for 15 yards. Witt would call his own number from one-yard out to lead 7-0.

Farmer would pick off the Falcons quarterback on the third play of their opening drive and return it 46 yards into the redzone. Two snaps later, Witt found Watkins on a four-yard touchdown pass as the Chowan lead increased to 14-0.

St. Augustine’s would get on the board on their next drive as a screen pass went 92 yards for a touchdown despite a first down sack by Rafiq Abdul-Wahid and Ortiz. Abdul-Wahid would bust through the middle and block the PAT.

The Falcons’ defense would pick off a tipped pass and have good field position at the Chowan 35. The Chowan defense had SAU going backwards on the drive, forcing a punt, but the home team benefitted from a mistake as the Falcons recovered the muffed punt in the endzone to cut the deficit to 14-12.

That’s as close as it got as Chowan scored three touchdowns in both the second and third quarters to blow the game wide open.

On their second drive of the second period, McNeil did the bulk of the running, picking up 44 yards on four carries. Watkins rushed for 16 yards to put the Hawks at the SAU 2 before Witt took it himself to lead 21-12.

The Chowan defense continued to play big as O’Brien forced a fumble after a completed catch near midfield that allowed Farmer to pick up the loose ball. The Hawks made quick work as Witt found King for a 25 yard reception and JaQuan Albright for a 17 yard reception. Witt connected with Imeek Watkins down to the SAU 3 before punching it in for the touchdown.

On the next drive, Witt made connections with Samuel Dunn and McNeil through the air before finding King for a five yard touchdown to lead 35-12.

St. Augustine’s couldn’t move the ball to open the third quarter as Anderson registered a sack. That led to a Falcons punt, one that traveled only 13 yards. Chowan took advantage of the great field position as Witt capped off a five play, 40 yard drive with a 21-yard run to paydirt.

The Witt-to-King connection accounted for Chowan’s final two touchdowns as those scoring passes covered 5 and 24 yards as the Hawks padded their lead to 56-12.

The fourth quarter saw Chowan’s second unit on the field. Quarterback Cade Cradlebaugh orchestrated an 11 play, 56 yard drive that resulted in a 27 yard field goal by Jude McAtamney that accounted for the final score.

Chowan will continue with CIAA cross-divisional action this Saturday (Oct. 2) when the Hawks host Winston-Salem State under the lights. Kick-off is slated for 6 pm at James G. Garrison Stadium.