Hawks stun nationally ranked Virginia Union
Published 3:03 pm Sunday, October 30, 2022
RICHMOND, VA – Offense, defense, special teams…put all three together in a single game and your chances greatly increase for a win.
Chowan did exactly that here Saturday and stunned previously unbeaten and nationally 11th ranked Virginia Union in the process.
Rashad McKee tossed a pair of scoring passes, Nic Wilson returned a block punt for a touchdown, and Kmare Carey had a “pick 6” as the Hawks upset the Panthers, 26-21. Both defensive TDs came in the fourth quarter.
Chowan (6-3 overall; 6-1 in league play) used the win, their fourth straight, to vault to the top of the CIAA’s Northern Division standings. The Hawks control their destiny to the CIAA Championship game when they host rival, Elizabeth City State, in the regular season finale Nov. 5. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at Garrison Stadium on Hall of Fame Day at Chowan.
Prior to Saturday, Chowan had never beaten Virginia Union in six previous trips to the Panthers’ home turf. It also snapped a four-year losing streak vs. Union. Chowan’s last win against the Panthers came in Murfreesboro (54-21) during the 2016 campaign.
Chowan put together an all-around performance to knock off the Panthers. McKee threw for 195 yards. Malik Tobias led the receiving corps, catching three passes for 90 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Chowan limited highly touted running back Jada Byers, who came into the contest averaging 195 yards per contest (which leads the nation at the D2 ranks), to his second lowest rushing output (108 yards) of the season. Byers was held without a touchdown for the first time this year.
Montre Moore paced the defense with 10 tackles and a sack. Jakob Streeter added eight tackles with a sack and an interception. Traevon Mitchell collected 3.5 TFLs and two sacks. For the game, Chowan recorded seven sacks for minus 41 yards. Carey and J’Vin Farmer each picked off a pass.
Chowan’s defense buckled down after surrendering a six play, 68-yard drive on the game’s first series that Virginia Union turned into a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.
The Hawks answered on their first possession, marching 73 yards in seven plays that ended when McKee found Tobias on fourth-and-four play for a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tobias even the score with 8:01 remaining.
Neither team would score again in the first half, even though Chowan came within one yard of doing so. Highlighted by a 50-yard pass from McKee to Tobias, the Hawks drove inside the redzone. Several plays later, Virginia Union’s defense came up with a big stop on a fourth-and-goal play from the one-yard line.
The Panthers used that momentum to move the ball across midfield on the game’s ensuing drive. However, Farmer picked off a pass to end the drive and the first half.
A Chowan fumble off a muffed punt gave the Panthers a golden opportunity in the third quarter as they began a drive at the Hawks 35 yardline. But Chowan’s defense rose to the challenge, only allowing two yards in three plays and then watched Virginia Union miss a 50-yard field goal.
However, it was another Chowan fumble later in the third quarter that Virginia Union cashed in as Armonii Burden scooped up that miscue and raced 65 yards to paydirt. The PAT gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead at the 5:01 mark of the period.
Chowan answered on their next drive as McKee connected with Jake Ray twice for 55 total yards followed by a 13-yard pass to Laurence King that put the Hawks in the redzone. McKee would then find Tyrek McNeil for a 10-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 14-13 as the PAT was blocked.
That score remained until just past the midway mark of the fourth quarter where Carey blocked a punt that allowed Wilson to scoop and score from 22 yards out to put the Hawks up 19-14 with 7:08 remaining.
Cameron Rampersaud, Jamae Blank, and Streeter picked up sacks on the next drive that forced a Panthers punt.
Virginia Union was forced to pass the ball down the stretch, one of which found the hands of Carey who returned it 45 yards for the game-sealing touchdown with 1:10 remaining.
The Panthers did manage a late TD on a 34-yard pass play with 33 seconds remaining. Union attempted an onsides kick that Justin Anderson recovered for the Hawks.
CIAA Football Standings
School Conf. Overall
Chowan 6-1 6-3
VA Union 6-1 8-1
VA State 5-2 6-3
Bowie St. 4-3 5-4
Eliz. City St. 2-5 2-7
Lincoln 1-5 2-6
Saturday, Oct. 29 Results
Chowan – 26
Virginia Union – 21
Bowie State – 35
Eliz. City State – 29
Virginia State – 42
Lincoln – 21
School Conf. Overall
Fayetteville St. 6-1 7-2
Win-Salem St. 3-3 3-5
Shaw 3-4 3-6
Livingstone 2-5 3-6
J.C. Smith 2-5 2-6
St. Augustine’s 1-6 1-8
Saturday, Oct. 29 Results
Fayetteville State. – 28
Shaw University – 20
Livingston – 12
St. Augustine’s – 7
Winston-Salem St. – 28
Johnson C. Smith – 7