BREVARD, N.C. - The Brevard College Tornados Football team (3-0, 1-0 USAS) upended the defending USA South Conference champion Maryville College Scots (0-4, 0-1 USAS) by a final score of 22-10 on Homecoming at Brevard Memorial Stadium. The win halted a seven-game USA South win streak for the Scots who had gone a perfect 7-0 in USA South play in 2018.
With the win, Brevard remained undefeated through three games this season - the best start for a Tornado team since 2009. Dating back to last season, Brevard has now won five straight overall and home contests.
Saturday's defeat was Maryville's first in conference action since former USA South member institution Ferrum College defeated the Scots, 31-24 on November 11, 2017.
"For a Homecoming game, we hosted the undefeated reigning champs of the USA South in Maryville - a team that hasn't lost a conference game since 2017," commented Head Coach Bill Khayat following his team's big win. "We knew that it would take a monumental effort to get the victory today."
That monumental effort was shown with a clutch offense that capitalized on its opportunities, a stingy defense that forced two turnovers, and a special teams unit that made several big plays including a fumble recovery touchdown and eight total points from the kicking unit.
Offensively, sophomore quarterback Dalton Cole finished with 10 completions and 121 passing yards, finding fellow sophomore running back Damon Rouse on a critical 19-yard strike midway through the fourth quarter for the Tornados. Wide receiver Brandon Norris hauled in a game-long 36-yard catch for Brevard.
A gritty defensive effort for the Tornados led to a total of eight tackles-for-loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery touchdown, and one interception in total.
Linebacker Steffon Canady led the way for Brevard with a game-high nine tackles, igniting the Tornado pass rush with a big 13-yard sack. Junior defensive back Andreas Wyatt was credited with eight tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and a forced fumble that led to a Brevard defensive score. Eddie Dean tied a team-high with 1.5 tackle-for-loss, while senior Brandon Crawford recorded BC's lone other sack.
Freshman defensive back Rook Tate recovered a fumble for a touchdown, while fellow freshman Jerome Bass forced another fumble that was recovered by the Maryville offense. Chris Diaz capped off an impressive defensive effort for Brevard by securing his first-career interception, all but sealing the decision up for the Tornados.
"A lot of those interceptions, pass breakups, and tackles for loss and short gain is credited to our experience in the defensive secondary and what Coach Jaicks (Defensive Coordinator) can do with the gameplan to keep Maryville off-balance," stated Coach Khayat on his defense's efforts. "Our defense was playing lights out there at the end, and we caused Maryville to get out of their element."
Brevard placekicker Stamati Damalos was 2-for-2 on his field-goal attempts, putting Brevard on the board to end the first half with his first attempt and putting the contest out of reach with his second attempt late in the fourth quarter.
Jaxon Youngblood - the reigning USA South Conference Football Special Teams Player of the Week and a selection on D3football.com's Team of the Week - booted a new career-best 58-yard punt to flip field position. Youngblood pinned the Scots within their own 20-yard line twice.
Special Teams Coordinator Jeron Gouveia-Winslow's unit applied immense pressure on the Scots throughout the contest, as evident from a fumble recovery touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Adding to the aforementioned special teams' contributions were some big returns by the second line of BC return men. Freshman running back Gerald Hines took advantage of Maryville's shorter kickoffs, returning three kicks for a total of 85 yards, including a big 43-yard return.
"The style of play for our special teams is always to be aggressive," added Coach Khayat. "We had them a little rattled, and once they make one error and you jump on top of it, the errors keep coming. We were able to take advantage of their errors every single time."
Both teams traded their first two possessions of the contest as both sides attempted to establish their identity on offense. The Scots struck first, grinding out a big 16-play, 82-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown run from linebacker-turned-quarterback Caleb Harbin. A three-year quarterback in high school, Harbin made his first start for the Scots under center, completing 17 passes for 100 total yards.
Following a three-and-out by Brevard's offense, Youngblood booted his new career-long 58-yard punt that was downed at the Maryville 15 yard line. The Scots were unable to dig out of the deep field position hole, punting the ball right back to the Tornados with 4:47 remaining in the second quarter.
The Tornados ate up the rest of the second quarter, using Norris' big 36-yard catch to kickstart a nine-play, 72-yard drive that reached all the way down to the visitor's one-yard line. Although BC couldn't punch it in for a touchdown, Damalos' 20-yard field goal put the Tornados on the board, cutting Maryville's advantage to 7-3 at the half.
Following a 34-yard kickoff return by BC's Hines to start the second half, Cole and the offense strung together a six-play, 53-yard drive that was thwarted by a Maryville interception. However, BC's special teams came through in a huge way on the ensuing Maryville possession. On fourth down and five from the Scots' 14-yard line, punter Ian Hubbs was stripped of the ball by BC's Wyatt, who forced a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by Brevard freshman Tate to give the Tornados their first lead of the contest. BC held a 10-7 advantage following Damalos' extra point.
Maryville took a risk on their following drive, as a lengthy 10-play, 35-yard drive that lasted nearly six minutes was halted on fourth down by an Issac Crisp pass breakup.
Following a Brevard punt, tragedy struck the Scots once more, as a snap sailed over Maryville punter Hubbs' head. With no other option, Hubbs booted the loose ball out of his own end zone, resulting in a safety score for Brevard to extend its lead to 12-7.
The Scots' special teams unit was able to redeem itself on their following drive, as Hubbs put a 36-yard field goal through the upright to cut Brevard's lead to two at 12-10.
After BC's Hines ran the ensuing kickoff back 43 yards, the Tornado offense took advantage of the favorable field position. Cole and the Tornados strung together a five-play, 34-yard drive capped off by Cole's 19-yard touchdown pass to Rouse that extended Brevard's lead. BC lead grew to 19-10 following Damalos' extra point.
On a fourth-down attempt, Maryville's Harbin threw a costly interception that landed in the hands of BC's Diaz. Following the turnover, Brevard's offense ate up 2:14 off the clock and sent Damalos out to hit a 30-yard field goal that pushed the Tornados' lead to a 12-point margin at 22-10.
Diaz and junior defensive back Dante Anderson clinched the victory for the Tornados, as the pair stopped Maryville's Jacob Bunch short of a first down on fourth-and-2, sealing the game in favor of Brevard.
"It has been so exciting to watch the number of people who have become more interested in what Brevard College Football is doing," added Coach Khayat on the overall experience of the Homecoming weekend and his team's 3-0 start. "Our kids are thrilled that the BC community - fellow students, staff, faculty, and student-athletes - are all rallying around the Football program and are excited about what we are doing."
Brevard College Football returns to action next Saturday, October 12 when the Tornados take on USA South in-state foe Methodist University at 1 p.m. in Fayetteville, N.C.
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