Joseph Marvin: Assistant Sports Information Director
BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College Tornados Football team (1-3, 1-1) earned a well-deserved victory over the Methodist Monarchs (1-3, 1-1) on Saturday afternoon at Brevard Memorial Stadium in emphatic fashion, escaping with a 41-36 triumph.
The early October contest started off in a stalemate, as neither side was able to get on the board in the first quarter. BC's first drive ended on downs, while both of Methodist's first two drives came up empty, a missed field goal followed by a punt.
Scoring was plentiful in the second quarter of this USA South showdown. BC senior Tyler Gregory had a multi-faceted role throughout the contest, and this role was showcased on this drive. Gregory hauled in a 56-yard strike from Dalton Cole, taking it all the way to the Methodist one-yard line before being tripped up. On the very next play, Gregory lined up to take the direct snap and powered his way into pay dirt to give the Tornados a 6-0 advantage.
After the Monarchs found their own quick strike to claim a 7-6 lead, BC answered the call to action. A ten play, 70-yard drive was capped off when Gregory once again took a direct snap inside the five. The BC versatile athlete would issue a shovel pass to running back Bobby Clerisier, and Clerisier found the end zone to give Brevard a 13-7 edge.
Special teams played a large role in the outcome of this game. The first instance of this would come on Methodist's next possession. After Defensive Coordinator Kurt Gouveia's stout defense forced a three-and-out, defensive back Treveon Charles got into the backfield, blocking the Methodist punt try. Veteran linebacker Justin Peck scooped the blocked punt attempt in the end zone, resulting in another Brevard touchdown and a 20-7 lead. Blocked punts have played a vital role in the Brevard special team attack already in 2018, as the BC special teams unit racked up one in their matchup with Virginia-Lynchburg earlier in the season.
The Monarchs only needed one play to find the promise land again, as a 70-yard Methodist scamper to cut the BC lead to 20-14. Methodist would go on to take a brief 21-20 lead with 3:12 left in the second quarter. This one point advantage proved to be the only time Methodist would hold a lead over the Tornados on the afternoon.
Once again, special teams would help out Head Coach Bill Khayat's squad. Charles, who already tallied a blocked punt in the contest, would take the ensuing Methodist kickoff 84 yards, reaching the Monarch one-yard line before being tripped up. Just two plays later, Brevard would retake the lead, as Cole leapt over the offensive line en route to a one-yard touchdown run.
The turnover title belt made its first appearance of the night, as Andreas Wyatt picked off Methodist quarterback Steve Keoni to ensure that Brevard would take a 27-21 advantage into the locker rooms. All first-half points for either side were scored in this second stanza.
The Tornado offense was not done finding the end zone in this USA South clash. On the first drive of the second half, Cole found Martigus Henley on a 59-yard strike. Brevard would enjoy a 34-21 cushion after Henley's score, his first in 2018 and the second touchdown of his Tornado career.
Henley's scoring wouldn't stop there. The Mearsville, Ga. native found pay dirt once more on a four-yard strike from Cole, putting Brevard up 41-24. This score was set up by a Methodist fumble recovered by senior defensive end Axel Easter. Easter took advantage of a botched direct snap to Methodist's Vontre Howard, setting up the BC offense in perfect field position.
The two squads would trade punts on the next two possessions before Methodist would cut into the BC lead. Nick Baker ploughed his way for a one-yard score to cut the Brevard lead to 41-28.
The Monarchs produced a 10 play, 59-yard drive to start off the fourth quarter, but the BC defense would not be deterred. Freshman sensation Kaleb Woods forced a crucial fumble at the 11:50 mark that was recovered by Quentin Jackson. This stalled the lengthy Monarch drive and shifted momentum back to the Tornados.
BC's offense would follow this sequence with a three-and-out drive, culminating in a bad snap over Ralph Roman III's head. This mistake would cost the Tornados two points, as Monarchs' Brandon Bagley wrapped up Roman in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
Trailing 41-30, Methodist found the end zone once more in this game. It only took Methodist two plays to reach pay dirt, however, a failed two-point conversion attempt would keep the BC advantage at 41-36.
A Cole interception would give the Monarchs one last shot to reclaim the lead. The BC defense rose to the occasion, as a 9 play, 29 yard Methodist drive resulted in a turnover on downs, sealing Brevard's first victory of 2018.
"That was the definition of a team victory," stated Coach Khayat after the Tornados defended their home turf on Saturday. "Not only did they contribute to every phase of the game, but multiple players within each phase contributed to the outcome. It was more than impressive to see so many young players step up in critical situations throughout the game."
One of those key young players, Dalton Cole, had a breakout game of sorts for the young Tornados. Cole completed 21-33 passes (64%) for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Cole gave the BC offense consistency at quarterback throughout the game and sparked the best offensive showing by Brevard thus far in 2018.
Versatile offensive piece Tyler Gregory showed exactly why he is one of the focal points for this BC offense to be successful. Gregory tallied five receptions for 95 yards in addition to 13 rushing yards and a touchdown shovel pass. Gregory exemplifies the definition of a true, versatile offensive threat, and is a major key to the BC attack.
Coach Khayat also commented on how much the defense means to the success of the Tornados. "Our defense has kept us in football games all season. When it came down to the game on the line, there is nobody better to have up than our defense."
The Brevard College Tornados Football team has already matched its home win total from 2017 with the victory on Saturday afternoon. Coach Khayat credits in large part the fans on Saturday for bringing energy and atmosphere to Brevard Memorial Stadium.
"We can't thank them enough for the attendance today," commented Coach Khayat. "Our players draw a great amount of energy from the crowd, and it was great for them to get uplifted by 'Nado Nation this afternoon.
The Tornados are back in action next week as they face off with defending USA South Conference champion Huntingdon. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Montgomery, Ala.
Head Coach Bill Khayat on "Tornado Talk" Every Monday at 7 p.m. – For the latest inside look at all things BC Tornados Football, be sure to tune in to Tornado Talk every Monday at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. BC Head Coach Bill Khayat will make an appearance every Monday throughout the football season. Fans are welcome to tune in to Tornado Talk by clicking here or may stop by in person to listen. The show will take place at Dugan's Pub at 29 W French Broad St #101 in Brevard, N.C.
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