Delta State rides big second half to defeat Chowan

Published 4:12 pm Sunday, September 10, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – Mother Nature and Chowan provided the early fireworks, but it was Delta State that lit the fuse late.

Deven Franklin beats his defender and hauls in a 59-yard touchdown pass to open Chowan’s scoring vs. Delta State on Saturday at Garrison Stadium. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

The nationally ninth-ranked Statesmen rallied from an 18-14 halftime deficit to defeat the upset-minded Hawks, 42-18, here Saturday in the Gulf South Conference opener for both clubs.

The game was halted with a little over four minutes remaining when a brawl erupted on the Chowan sideline. The Gulf South Conference and Chowan University issued suspensions to six football student-athletes following the incident.

The start of the game was delayed five hours due to a series of thunderstorms that rolled through the area.

The Hawks held the early momentum and scored the game’s first touchdown when Rashad McKee tossed a 59-yard scoring pass to Deven Franklin at the 9:54 mark of the opening period. The conversion pass failed, but Chowan held a 6-0 lead.

Delta State answered with a seven play, 60-yard drive capped by Patrick Shegog’s three-yard run. Nick Herber’s PAT gave the Statesmen their first lead at 7-6 with 7:22 left in the opening period.

The Hawks put together two scoring drives in the second period, both ending with touchdown runs by Jakari Norwood of one yard and four yards, staking Chowan to a surprising 18-7 lead.

Delta State pulled to within 18-14 at halftime when Shegog tossed a 34-yard scoring pass to Jaylen Green.

The Statesmen tallied three touchdowns in the third quarter, all on scoring passes from Shegog (40 yards to Green, 16 yards to Alfons Franklin, and 17 yards to Todd Lee Battle).

Shegog finished with 300 passing yards.

The visitors closed the scoring in the fourth quarter when Patric Lee Jr. returned a fumble four yards for a touchdown.

Chowan defender Dwayne Smith (right) brings down a Delta State runner, one of his nine tackles against the nationally-ranked Statesmen. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

McKee led Chowan’s offense, throwing for 231 yards. His favorite target was freshman Noah Toster who hauled in four catches for 110 yards. Franklin also had four receptions for 83 yards.

Norwood led Chowan’s rushing attack with 41 yards and two touchdowns.

Abdural Lee led the Hawks defense with 10 tackles, including a fumble recovery. Dwayne Smith added nine tackles. Traevon Mitchell and Demarcus Carroll collected 2.5 tackles for loss.

Chowan hits the road to take on Shorter University in a Gulf South Conference clash on Saturday, Sept. 16. Kick-off in Rome, Georgia is slated for 12 noon.