Story and photo courtesy of Concord Athletics
INSTITUTE, W. Va. - The Concord University football team snapped its two-game losing streak Saturday by defeating West Virginia State University, 23-16, at Lakin Field in what was Concord's first road test of the year.
The victory improves Concord's record to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Yellow Jackets fall to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the WVIAC with the loss.
In just the second starts of their young careers, quarterback Albert Rose and running back Calvinaugh Jones both performed admirably. Rose threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 17 completions while also rushing for 68 yards and another score. Jones carried the ball 18 times for a total of 71 yards. He also caught a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Tiko Henderson hauled in two catches for 49 yards and one touchdown. Ansel Ponder made a team-best three grabs.
The Concord defense continued to play well. In addition to holding the Yellow Jackets to just 52 yards rushing, the Mountain Lions stopped WVSU on both of its fourth-down attempts and recorded 11 tackles for a loss.
Leading the way for the Concord defense was Davon Marion, who made seven tackles and had a game-changing interception, his second pick of the season. Howard Jordan finished with a team-high 11 tackles. The CU defense produced a season-high three sacks thanks to quarterback takedowns by Jake Lilly, Silas Agyemang and Gary Saylor. Agyemang finished with 2.5 TFLs
As a team the Mountain Lions were 4-for-4 on fourth-down conversions and also held a 162-52 advantage in yards rushing over the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets quickly established that the contest would not be a rout for Concord like last year by marching 75 yards on the opening drive of the game and scoring a touchdown thanks to a throw by quarterback Ricky Phillips to Keionn Garrett.
Trailing 7-0, Concord responded two drives later when Rose used his feet on third and six to scramble 32 all the way into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7. The 32-yard scamper by Rose was the longest run by a CU player this season.
With the game tied, the Mountain Lion defense stiffened up and held West Virginia State scoreless for the remainder of the half. West Virginia State ended the half with just 15 yards rushing. However, the CU defense's biggest play of the half came on a Yellow Jacket pass attempt.
The Yellow Jackets had just broke into Concord territory late in the second quarter when Phillips launched a pass down to the CU 18-yard line that was picked off by Marion, who proceeded to take the pick back 58 yards, setting the Concord offense up with the ball at the WVSU 24-yard line with 48 seconds to play in the half.
It took Concord just four plays to capitalize on the Yellow Jackets miscue, as Jones took a Rose pass 28 yards for the score to give Concord a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.
West Virginia State came out hot in the second half, scoring nine consecutive points to take a 16-14 lead. However, the Concord defense once again registered a big play when Keith Ferguson blocked West Virginia State's extra point attempt on its second score of the half. Riyahd Richardson proceeded to pick up the blocked ball and return it all the way back to net Concord two points and tie the score at 16-16 with 4:43 to play in the third quarter.
The blocked extra point proved to be the turning point of the game. On the ensuing possession, Rose led a seven-play drive that resulted in another Concord touchdown thanks to a 44-yard catch-and-run by Henderson to give Concord the lead again, 23-16, with 1:25 to play in the third quarter. The score was the first touchdown of Henderson's career.
The seven-point cushion proved to be all the Concord defense needed as the Mountain Lions held West Virginia State scoreless in the fourth quarter with the icer being a fourth-down stand at the Concord 27 with under a minute to play in regulation.
Concord stays on the road for its next game when it heads to Shepherd University on Sept. 29. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.