Tornados finish season on the road against Newberry
Brevard needs one more win to tie record set in 1935
Brevard, N.C. - The Tornados make the trip down to Newberry, S.C. and Setzler Field for the final game of what has been a breakout season for Brevard, who have clinched a winning season for the first time in modern program history. Coach Paul Hamilton’s squad has also won their first SAC game, their first SAC home game and sealed their first home winning season this year among their record-breaking accomplishments.
One more win for the Tornados will tie the most wins in program history, going all the way back to 1935 when Brevard, coached by Ralph James went 8-1-1.
This Tornados squad seems primed to accomplish this task, averaging 24 points per game this season, having won in both high-scoring affairs and close squeakers. Of the victories, none was closer than last week’s 7-6 affair against Catawba in which a Richard Ray blocked punt and return for a touchdown with 5:33 left in the game won the game for the Tornados in battle against both the Indians and the conditions at Brevard Memorial Stadium.
Brevard enters the game with the #11 rushing attack in the NCAA, averaging 233.5 yards per contest, but needs to bounce back, having been held under 100 yards in the past three contests, causing their average to drop, but a healthy Neville Bryce and the return of Michael Crumbaker to the lineup look to get the Tornados back on track.
Bryce leads the team with 566 yards on the ground with five touchdowns, averaging 62.9 yards per game, while Crumbaker is also a threat to take it on the ground, picking up 483 yards with his legs, for an average of 48.3 yards per game. Altogether, the Tornados have seven rushers who have achieved 100 yards on the ground this season, including the group of Justin Fleming, Derek Church, Shaton Pratt, Richard Bush and Lawrence Martin.
Newberry will look to contain the Tornados rushing attack after having faced the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears offense last week in the scarlet and gray’s 24-21 come-from-behind victory at Moretz Stadium in Hickory, N.C. The Bears were able to roll up 247 yards on the ground, but the Newberry defense held L-R to four yards offense in the third quarter and 48 yards total in the second half in winning the game.
On the season, Newberry allows and average of 169.4 yards per game on the ground, but safety Ron Parker, who leads the team with 76 tackles and the South Atlantic Conference with six interceptions will look to make a headway against the Tornados attack. He’ll be joined by Linebacker Andre Moyd who leads the team with seven tackles for a loss, while Derrell Kinard has three sacks on the season.
On the flip-side, the Tornados defense will look to limit the Newberry offense, which comes into the game averaging 28 points per contest. Quarterback Brandon Gantt, a three-time winner of the SAC Offensive Player of the Week award this season, leads a dynamic Newberry passing attack, throwing for 2,151 yards with five receivers hauling in at least 25 passes. Gantt has also tied the school record for completions in a game this season with 35 in the scarlet and gray’s second contest against Austin Peay.
Gantt’s favorite target is wide receiver David Smith with 42 receptions for 571 yards, while Kelton Tindal has four receiving touchdowns on the season, averaging over 13 yards per catch.
Although the Newberry passing attack gains a lot of recognition, S.J. Worrell and Gerald Legree have provided a balance to the offense, with Worrell picking up 596 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, while Legree finished with a career-high 153 yards last week against the Bears.
Facing them will be the Tornados defense led by All-SAC caliber players all over the field, headlined by the play of inside linebacker Stanley Jones. Jones, a senior from Spartanburg, S.C., leads the SAC with 108 tackles on the season, with 12 going for a loss and has four sacks on the year and has shown a nose for the big play this season, responsible for several goal-line stops in the Tornados victories this season.
Preseason All-SAC pick Brandon Rawls and Prince Simunyu also line up with Jones in the linebacking corp with Rawls recording six sacks on the season, while Simunyu is fourth in the conference in tackles per game, averaging eight a contest and leads the SAC in tackles for loss with 13.5 on the year.
To defend the passing game, Brevard will look to utilize the pass-rushing skills of Justin Jefferson and Richard Ray to provide some protection to the Tornados secondary. Jefferson, the SAC leader in quarterback drops with nine on the year had a four-game stretch where he recorded a sack, and Ray, fifth in the conference in sacks with five, will look to make a dent against the Newberry offensive line which include two All-SAC players in center Matt Holmes and guard Walter Simmons.
When Gantt does get the pass off, safeties Donald Hudson and Michael Gist will look to get the Tornados offense back on the field, having combined for eight interceptions on the season, with none bigger than Hudson’s interception of a Pat Dennis pass on the Tornados eight-yard line with under two minutes left to play last week. Hudson has three picks on the season, returning his first one 30 yards against Edward Waters for a touchdown, while Gist is second in the conference with five interceptions and leads the SAC in both interception yards with 157 and interception returns for touchdowns with three, including an 87-yard interception return which sealed the win over Chowan and a 20-yard pick which put the Tornados up over Lenoir-Rhyne 14-3.
Last season’s contest was a one-sided affair as Newberry came to Brevard Memorial Stadium and came out with the 17-0 win to clinch a share of the 2008 SAC Championship. Britt Blackmon connected on a 30-yard field goal to put the scarlet and gray up early a fumble return for a touchdown by David Harris and a Lyndon Ingram nine-yard plunge gave Newberry the win.
The Tornados will look to avenge that defeat and clinch their first SAC winning season on Saturday.
As always, if you are unable to make the game in person, you can catch the game via live broadcast brought to you by the "Voice of the Tornados" Jim Stewart over the radio at WSQL 1240 AM or over the Internet at www.wsqlradio.com. You may also visit the Brevard College Athletics website at www.BCTornados.com and click on the LiveStats link located on the left-hand side under the "Tornados Links" section.