Sept. 21, 2013
RICHMOND, VA - Fayetteville State (1-2 overall) stampeded to its first win of the season with a 21-7 victory over Virginia Union (0-3 overall) on Hovey Field in Richmond, VA. The victory marks Lawrence Kershaw's first win as a Head Coach.
"It feels good!" says Coach Kershaw with a humble tone. "It's not a first victory for me; it is a first victory for us as a program. We are trying to build together. This is a first victory for the coaches, players, trainers, camera crew, everybody."
Although Virginia Union won the toss and chose first possession, the Panthers tossed one in the air on a 3rd-and-15 play and succumbed to Joseph McLean (Erwin, NC) who picked it off at the 50-yard line and returned it to the 42nd.
Jemeryn Jenkins (San Bernardino, CA) took the Broncos first snap from the shotgun position, read the defense, and darted up the middle 42 yards for the Broncos first score of the game.
As the rain carried throughout the game, so did the Fayetteville State offense. The Broncos amassed 259 rushing yards on the soggy field with 44 attempts. FSU averaged 5.9 yards per rush and entered the end zone twice. The run game had 97 yards in the first half and 162 in the second.
"I thought offensively, especially in the second half, the pass game wasn't going for us due to the bad weather; so we leaned on the o-line and the running backs with the run game and it was real successful for us," coach explains. "I told the guys; both phases of the offense have to be successful, no matter which one is used. Tonight the pass game wasn't going how we needed it to be; so we leaned on the run game and that's what took us to victory."
Andre Montgomery (Goldsboro, NC) carried the load for FSU with 13 rushes for 100 yards. The sophomore produced his third century mark game of his career. With an average of 7.7 yards per carry, Montgomery scored with his longest rush of the night, 23 yards. The feat put the Broncos up 21-7 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
Jenkins read the defense all night and put up 81 yards on the ground with 12 carries. Jemeryn also hit paydirt from the air early in the second half. Completing 6-of-14 passes for 71 yards, the junior quarterback found Tavon Gatlin
(Virginia Beach, VA) on the left side from 28 yards out.
Fayetteville State held the Panthers, who have the reputation of a running team, to 125 yards on the ground and 135 yards passing.
Virginia Union controlled the ball in the first quarter for over thirteen minutes; but could only muster up 73 yards rushing on 18 carries and two yards passing. On the Panthers first drive in the second quarter, with 11:01 on the clock, Head Coach Bailey converted to a no-huddle offense and move the ball 94 yards in 14 plays to eventually score on a ten-yard pass play with six minutes left in the half.
"It was a bad weather football game and I thought defensively we played great. We gave up one long drive that resulted in the touchdown. Other than that one drive, we had a real good night just giving up one score," say Kershaw.
Marquel Gathers led the defense with six stops. A host of Broncos tallied five. Travis Scales (Southern Pines, NC) picked off a pass along with McLean. Courtney Tate (Virginia Beach, VA) and Benjamin Brown (Los Angeles, CA) combined for two sacks for a loss of eight yards.
"We showed a lot of mental toughness for which we haven't showed the last two weeks," says Kershaw.
Fayetteville State will travel to Rocky Mount, NC next weekend for its first conference game of the season against the Viking of Elizabeth City State in the 16th annual Down East Vikings Football Classic. Game time is slated for 4:00 pm.