Nationally-ranked Valdosta State forced to rally past Chowan

Published 4:05 pm Sunday, October 1, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – Chowan gave nationally-ranked Valdosta State a handful in Gulf South Conference football action here Saturday afternoon before falling 51-36.

The Hawks, who remain winless at 0-5 overall, led 36-31 near the midway mark of the third quarter when quarterback Rashad McKee ran eight yards for a score, capping a seven play, 90-yard drive.

But the visitors (5-0 overall and ranked #22 in the nation) rallied to score 20 unanswered points. That comeback was fueled by quarterback Sammy Edwards who tossed a pair of TD passes down the stretch. Edwards, 20-of-29 for 393 yards, finished with six touchdown passes.

Chowan led three times in the contest: 7-0 thanks to McKee’s 61-yard TD pass to Deven Franklin less than three minutes into the game; 29-24 when that same duo hooked up on a four-yard scoring pass in the second quarter; and 36-31 in the third period on McKee’s TD run.

McKee, who finished with 329 passing yards, also threw scoring passes of eight yards to Noah Toster and 75 yards to Tyree Holloway, both in the second quarter.

Franklin finished with six catches for 137 yards and two scores. Holloway had three receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Toster posted six receptions for 75 yards and a score.

Chowan dominated the time of possession, 38:43-21:17, but had three bad snaps on punts which allowed Valdosta State’s offense to start drives within Hawks territory. Valdosta State also blocked a field goal.

D’Armani Ridley led Chowan with seven tackles. Nic Wilson had six tackles and an interception.

Chowan hosts North Greenville on Saturday, Oct. 7 for Homecoming. It will be the first meeting between these two programs since the Junior College era. Kick-off is slated for 1 pm.