Bubba Craven & Dalton Cole Lead Comeback Victory Over LaGrange

Bubba Craven & Dalton Cole Lead Comeback Victory Over LaGrange

Joseph Marvin: Assistant Sports Information Director

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College Tornados Football team (2-5, 2-3 USAS) capped off a remarkable comeback effort as freshman quarterback Dalton Cole connected with senior wide receiver Bubba Craven for a 21-yard touchdown pass with just 19 seconds remaining in regulation to give Brevard a resounding 38-34 victory over the LaGrange Panthers (2-6, 1-4 USAS).

The Tornados took over possession with only 1:01 left in the game, putting together a seven-play, 48-yard drive that resulted in the game-winning score.  

Cole enjoyed a fantastic outing individually, as he recorded 19-35 completions (54%) for 187 passing yards and four touchdowns. Cole added five rushing attempts for 68 yards, an average of 13.6 yards per carry.

Craven became the Brevard College all-time leader in career receiving yards after his seven-reception, 94-yard, two-touchdown outing on Saturday afternoon. Craven, who has recorded 1287 receiving yards in just two years, passed Eric Watts (1234, 2009-12) in the BC record books.

Senior offensive weapon Tyler Gregory had another versatile day. Gregory rushed for a Brevard season-high 72 yards on nine attempts, adding a 12-yard touchdown run. Gregory also utilized his arm in the contest, throwing a five-yard pass to Bobby Clerisier to pick up a big first down and extend a BC scoring drive. Gregory added a catch for five yards to his overall totals. Gregory scored on a 13-yard reception in the first quarter, however, the play was called back due to an illegal formation.

Defensive Coordinator Kurt Gouveia's defense had a very opportune game, forcing four turnovers total in the contest. Quentin Jackson intercepted two Caleb Speir passes, which marked Jackson's first two career interceptions. Dante Anderson forced and recovered a fumble, and freshman Kaleb Woods recovered the game-sealing fumble on LaGrange's last-second effort.

The first drive of the afternoon went in the favor of the Panthers. LaGrange compiled a 10-play, 73-yard drive capped off with a Speir touchdown pass to Tyler Benjamin to put the Panthers up 7-0.

BC would answer back with a lengthy 15-play, 50-yard drive of its own.  The Tornados managed to reach the Panther's one-yard line, however, could not find pay dirt and settled for a 20-yard Jose Flores field goal. LaGrange held a 7-3 advantage as the first quarter came to a close.

LaGrange got creative with its play calling on the ensuing possession. Facing a fourth-and-five on its own 49-yard line, LaGrange sent the punt team onto the field. That's when the Panthers showed off some trickery, as starting running back Brendon Scott took a direct snap and executed a 14-yard jump pass to Matt Walton to fool Brevard and extend the LaGrange drive. On the very next play, LaGrange exploited the BC defense again with a trick play. Wide receiver Marcus Campbell took a pitch from Speir and promptly completed a 36-yard bomb to Benjamin, setting up the Panthers inside the BC one-yard line. Scott would cap off this eight-play, 77-yard masterpiece with a one-yard scamper to extend the LaGrange lead to 14-3.

Cole and the BC offense would have an answer, as the Tornados strung together a 10-play, 73-yard drive highlighted by a Craven 13-yard touchdown reception to cut LaGrange's lead to 14-10.

On the ensuing LaGrange possession, two costly BC penalties gave the Panthers new life and helped extend their lead. On a fourth and six, a roughing the punter call gave LaGrange a new set of downs to work with. Just three plays later, an unsportsmanlike conduct call after a sack gave LaGrange another chance, which it capitalized on as Scott found the end zone for the second time on the afternoon. The Panthers clung to a 20-10 lead.

Cole answered right back with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown reception by Martigus Henley. Henley's third touchdown reception of 2018 cut the LaGrange advantage to 20-17 with just 32 seconds remaining in the half.

However, costly penalties would continue to hamper Brevard. After a 25-yard pooch kick by Flores in an attempt to catch the Panthers off guard, a kick catch interference call set up LaGrange inside BC territory. On the very next play from scrimmage, Speir connected with Campbell for a 45-yard touchdown strike, giving the Panthers a 27-17 advantage at the half.

Both teams would trade possessions to start the third quarter. Anderson's fumble recovery set up Brevard inside LaGrange territory. The Tornados would capitalize on this field position, as Cole found fullback Dalen Curtis for a two-yard strike to cut the LaGrange lead to 27-24.

After Jackson's first career interception on the ensuing LaGrange drive, Gregory found pay dirt with a 12-yard gallop that gave Brevard its first lead of the afternoon, 31-27.

Jackson recorded his second interception in as many drives on LaGrange's next possession. However, Brevard could not capitalize, going three-and-out.

The Panthers took over possession with just 4:05 remaining in the contest, trailing 31-27. LaGrange started its drive inside Brevard territory after a Ralph Roman III punt was downed at the BC 49-yard line. LG milked 2:57 off of the game clock, as a Speir-to-Campbell connection gave the Panthers a 34-31 lead with a mere 1:01 left in regulation.

With a drive that will not soon be forgotten around Brevard, North Carolina, Cole and the BC offense started at their own 39-yard line. A third-and-10 holding call against the Panthers gave Brevard new life, and after Cole found Roman III for 17 yards, BC called its second timeout, stopping the clock with 24 seconds remaining. On the very next play, Cole fired his fourth touchdown pass of the game, connecting with Craven at the near side pylon, giving Brevard a game-winning touchdown.

A last-second effort to make magic happen by LaGrange resulted in a fumble scooped up by BC's Woods, sealing the 38-34 USA South Conference victory for the Tornados.

Brevard enjoyed its best rushing performance of 2018, compiling 279 total rushing yards in Saturday's contest. BC's 471 total yards of offense was a season-high for the Tornados and ranks 12th all-time in BC history for single-game total yards.

The Tornados overcame an afternoon riddled with penalties. BC was flagged for 11 total accepted penalties, resulting in 115 yards lost.

Brevard extended its USA South-leading sack count. BC pass rushers wrangled Speir four times on the afternoon.

Kicker Jose Flores enjoyed a flawless afternoon. The sophomore from Frostproof, Fla. accounted for eight BC points, going 5/5 on extra point attempts and making his lone field goal attempt.

The Tornados hit the road one last time in the 2018 season as they travel to Danville, Va. on Nov. 3 for a 5 p.m. kickoff against the Averett Cougars (5-2, 4-1 USAS). The Cougars suffered their first USA South setback on Saturday afternoon, falling on the road at Maryville (5-2, 5-0 USAS). With Maryville alone at the top, Averett sits in a second-place tie with N.C. Wesleyan (5-2, 4-1 USAS). BC finds itself in a three-way tie for fourth place in the USA South regular season standings.

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