Turnovers prove costly as Hawks fall to Broncos

Published 3:25 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

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FAYETTEVILLE – Chowan committed five turnovers and missed two field goals as the Hawks dropped their first CIAA contest of the year to Fayetteville State 13-10 here Thursday night.

Chowan outgained Fayetteville State, 413-181, as the Hawks had 186 yards on the ground and 227 yards through the air. The defense forced Fayetteville State to 1-of-13 on third down.

Nijere Peoples went over 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season on 23 carries for 111 yards. Tyrek McNeil tallied 78 yards receiving and 57 yards rushing in the contest. Malik Tobias hauled in four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Nic Wilson returned a fumbled snap on a PAT for a defensive two-point conversion, trekking 87 yards. Raydarius Freeman led the Hawks with six tackles. Montre Moore and Burnico Perofeta tallied five tackles each.

For the first time in program history, the Hawks scored an offensive and defensive two-point conversion in the same game.

Chowan found itself in an early 7-0 hole when they turned the ball over on their first snap of the game. That set-up a short, two-play drive for FSU who scored to take a quick 7-0 lead.

Caleb Pierce started the next drive with a completion to McNeil before Peoples picked up a first down on a tough run. A pair of negative plays and a strip-sack gave the Broncos the ball in the redzone.

The Chowan defense would hold for a field goal attempt. Caleb Hester would partially block the attempt to keep the score at 7-0.

Thanks to the hard running of Peoples and McNeil, the Hawks took the game’s ensuing possession and drove to the FSU 14 yardline. The drive would stall and a 29-yard attempt would be missed.

The second quarter saw changes of possession by both teams before the Hawks used a punt return by Demetrius Moore to start a drive at midfield. EJ Gatling took the jet sweep for a 17 yard scamper before Pierce found Laurence King for a 23 yard completion into the redzone. Peoples moved the ball to the FSU 5 on three strong runs, but the turnover bug would bite again as a fumble would allow the Broncos to preserve their 7-0 lead at halftime.

That advantage grew to 13-0 on a 52-yard touchdown pass. In the third quarter. The snap on the PAT was fumbled, allowing Wilson to scoop up the ball and follow the convoy for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 13-2.

Later in the period, Pierce connected on a 28-yard completion to McNeil to move the ball to the FSU 37. McNeil picked up five yards on the ground. On fourth down, Pierce found Tobias on the tunnel screen before scampering untouched for 30 yards and the touchdown. The Hawks would convert the two-point conversion to close the gap to 13-10.

Chowan had a chance to tie the game in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Pierce connected with Tobias for a 15-yard completion before McNeil ripped off a 20 yard run to move the ball to the FSU 28. McNeil tallied nine more yards on the ground before giving way to Peoples for an eight yard carry to the FSU 11. Peoples added a six-yard rush before a penalty stalled the drive at the FSU 14. From there a 31-yard field goal attempt would be missed to the left.

Turnovers would hurt the Hawks down the stretch as Chowan had a fumble and an interception, both inside FSU territory.

Chowan, who fell to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play, will travel to Lincoln to start CIAA Northern Division action on Saturday, Oct. 8.