C-N Eagles open season with convincing win
Carson-Newman wide receiver Steven Isom (left) eludes a Wayne State defender on Thursday night at Burke-Tarr Stadium in Jefferson City. The Eagles opened their season with a 55-28 victory over the visiting Warriors.
JEFFERSON CITY — Making the first start of his college career, sophomore quarterback De’Andre Thomas had Carson-Newman’s offence in high gear Thursday night in leading the Eagles to a 55-28 triumph over Wayne State.
In a dozen games last year, coach Ken Sparks’ club threw for as much as 140 yards only once (176 in a loss to Wingate) but Thomas had the Burke-Tarr Stadium buzzing as he was 8 of 10 for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns despite playing only one series in the second half.
The Eagles rolled up 415 yards in the first two quarters and scored on all 6 possessions to open a 42-14 lead. C-N then took the second-half kickoff to up the margin to 48-14 and the offensive starters were through for the night with 11:16 left in the third quarter.
Carson-Newman wound up with 363 rushing and 213 in the air for 576 total yards. The Warriors finished with 79 on the ground and completed 26 of 46 passes for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Tyron Douglas led the Eagle running game with 82 yards and 3 TD’s on 14 carries. Brandon Baker added 78 on 13 tries and Andy Hibbett had 74 on 9 attempts.
“I think our kids are encouraged with this win,” said Sparks. “I think they found out that they can do some things pretty well. We made a lot of mistakes and we have plenty of things to work on, but this was a good start.
“Overall, I was very, very pleased,” he said. “I didn’t really like the fact they came back and scored two touchdowns on us in the second half, but overall I was pleased. I was glad to see the defense score. I saw a lot of good things tonight.”
Sparks said of Thomas. “That was a good beginning. He’s got a long ways to go but that was a good start. And he’s a guy that’s motivated to get better. He missed some reads on the option. He threw it well.”
Thomas threw it well indeed. All 3 touchdown passes were long (34, 63 and 40 yards) and every one of them was right on the money.
Wayne State won the toss and took the football but went 3 and out. Marcellas Pope returned the punt 12 yards and the Eagles went 49 yards in 5 plays. Thomas faked to the dive back and then fired a perfect 34-yard TD pass to Anthony Eubanks to open the scoring with 11:23 left in the first. Curt Duncan hit the PAT.
The Warriors bounced right back to tie, taking the kickoff and moving 75 yards in 6 plays. The big play was a 28-yard pass to Toney Davis out of the backfield before Desmond Martin ripped off a 21-yard TD run. Stefan Terleckyj kicked the point with 8:28 remaining in the first.
Hibbett took a handoff up the middle, faked a linebacker off his feet, cut to the left and raced 43 yards to put the home team back in front at the 6:25 mark.
After forcing a punt, the Eagles set sail again with a 32-yard pass to Steven Isom getting the drive started.
Douglas’ 6-yard TD on the fourth play of the second quarter capped the 83-yard march and Duncan made it 21-7
The Warriors went to the air to pull within 7. Quarterback Carl Roscoe connected on 4 of 6 passes in a 65-yard TD march after the kickoff. The biggest play was a 32-yard toss to Jay Hayes and the same 2 teamed for a 6-yard TD. Terleckyj’s kick made it 21-14 with 8:39 left in the half.
That was enough time for Carson-Newman to put 3 touchdowns on the board. The Eagles took the kickoff and used 10 running plays to go 70 yards. Douglas had the biggest play with a 23-yard burst to set up his 3-yard touchdown at the 5:31 mark.
On the first play after the kickoff, Greg Beauduy made a diving interception at the Warriors’ 25. Five plays later Douglas scored again from 3 yards out and Duncan converted.
Wayne State punted again and the Eagles started at their 5 after an illegal block penalty on the return. There was only 2:19 on the clock when the drive began. Douglas ran for 14, then crabbed a screen pass and took it 18 yards to a first down at the 37.
Thomas then dropped back and fired a 63-yard strike to Eubanks on a picture-perfect throw. Duncan converted for a 42-14 lead with 1:33 on the clock.
Wayne State almost scored before the half as Roscoe hit Michael Johnson with a 12-yard toss and then found him deep down the sidelines for 62 more and a first down at the C-N 7. However, 3 straight passes were off the mark and the holder fumbled the snap to ruin a 24-yard FG attempt.
After the second-half kickoff, the Eagles ran the ball 8 straight times before Thomas connected with Isom for a 40-yard TD. The point after try was blocked leaving the count at 48-14 and subs played the rest of the way on offense.
Sean Guinane came in at quarterback for the Warriors and led them to a pair of touchdowns. The first TD was a 41-yard pass to Dominique Maybanks with 4:48 left in the third while Val Showers pulled in a 6-yard payoff toss that got the margin down to 48-28 with 12:07 remaining in the game.
The Eagles Eien Jacob stepped in front of a receiver for an interception and took it back 26 yards to paydirt to close out the scoring.
Tusculum 63, College of Faith 0
GREENEVILLE — The Tusculum defense forced seven turnovers, while the offense churned out 454 yards as the Pioneers blanked visiting College of Faith 63-0 Thursday night at Pioneer Field in front of a near capacity crowd of 3,311 in the season-opener for both teams.
Quarterback Bo Cordell threw four touchdowns in the opening half, going 11-for-12 for 182 yards. His favorite target was Johnathan Diliberto, who tallied six receptions for 90 yards, while tying a TC single-game record with three TD catches in the first half, matching the 2002 effort of Matt Riggs against Lenoir-Rhyne.
Defensively, junior Darien Crank accounted for a pair of interceptions on the night, including one on the opening possession of the contest, which he returned for a 44-yard touchdown. Tusculum tallied four fumble recoveries and three interceptions.
Junior placekicker Logan Cornelius also put his name in the TC record book as he went a perfect 9-of-9 on his extra point attempts, matching the kicking performance by former TC kicker Jack Whittenburg, who went 9-for-9 against Sue Bennett and Maryville, both in the 1994 season.
C-N 2, Belmont Abbey 1
BELMONT, N.C. — Carson-Newman came out on top after a hard fought battle at Belmont Abbey Thursday afternoon.
The Eagles (1-0) led the Crusaders by two goals at half. The first goal formulated off a corner kick. Senior Matheus Bachi was able to get his head on the ball and place it in the back of the net.
Nick Skoda sent a dangerously low cross through the box to Marius Staalby who was sliding in at back post to put a second goal up on the scoreboard.
The Crusaders came out strong in the second half. They capitalized on a penalty awarded for a handball by Kristian Speake to make the final score 2-1.
The men have their home opener against Wingate at 7:30 pm on Sept. 14. If 1,000 fans come out to support the Eagles, C-N president Randall O’Brien has agreed to skydive.
-By Derwin Helton, Tribune Sports Writer