Story and photo courtesy of Mars Hill Athletics
MARS HILL, N.C.
- The Lions' football team won a share of the SAC title with a 23-20 victory over Carson-Newman College this afternoon in the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium. Mars Hill will now await the announcement tomorrow about post season play. Several records fell in the annual Hall of Fame Game and Lion Senior Day.
The NCAA Championship Selection Show will air on NCAA.com tomorrow at 5 p.m. Follow this link to view the event. There will also be additional links on the Lions' main athletic website page.
Jonas Randolph, the nation's leading rusher, ran for 232 yards and accounted for all three of the Lions (8-2, 6-1 SAC) touchdowns. He averaged seven yards per rush on 33 carries. Dimitri Holmes was on the receiving end of seven of Jon Richt's passes for 77 yards. Troy Harris led the Lions' defense with 15 tackles, (9 solo), two sacks and three tackles-for-loss. Rudy Cabral had 16 tackles (6 solo). Chad Prioleau and Mam Nyang added 14 tackles apiece.
Andy Hibbett led C-N (5-6, 3-4 SAC) with 107 yards rushing and one touchdown on 16 carries. Larry Lumpkin and Isaac Kinley led the Eagles defense posting 11 and 10 tackles in the contest, respectively.
A bad snap on a punt led to the Lions first points of the game when they pinned the Eagles' punter in the end zone for a safety. Those points would later prove to be crucial.
Randolph put the Lions up 9-0 at the 11:39 mark in the second quarter when he dove in from a yard out.
C-N running back Nate Inman cut the Lions lead to 9-7 with 5:33 left in the half when he found pay dirt from two yards out. Brandon Haywood gave the Eagles a 14-9 advantage at the 2:53 mark in the second frame when he scored on a 1-yard rush. MHC rallied in their final possession of the half driving 67 yards on six plays to take a 16-14 lead with 52 seconds left before intermission after Randolph scampered in from 15 yards away.
Randolph scored the game winning touchdown with 10:24 left in the third stanza on a 18-yard run from scrimmage. The Eagles made the game interesting scoring with 1:34 left in regulation. The PAT kick went wide left and the Eagles trailed by three. The ensuing onside kick failed and MHC obtained their first SAC title since 1985.
Prior to the game MHC recognized their 17 senior players: Tavious Banks, Nate Baxley, Josh Crumpton, Luis Cruz, Brandon Edmond, Shawn Esworthy, Tyler Hodgson, Nermin Imsirovic, Kevin Johnson, Brian Nath, Chisom Onyeuku, Patrick Park, Michael Pinkerton, Giovanny Plietes, Jonas Randolph, Mitch Williams, and Austin Wynn played their final regular season game in Meares Stadium.
At halftime, MHC recognized the most recent Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. Khalid Abdullah, Andrea German, Jeremy Jordan and Alison Shannonhouse are the 2011 members selected. Read about these athletes' accolades on the Lions' website.