Nov. 5, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. - Before Saturday's game at Virginia Union, Fayetteville State head coach Kenny Phillips predicted the game would be a 60-minute grind.
It was. And by the time those 60 minutes were up, it was Fayetteville State's season that was grinding to a halt.
Freshman quarterback Chauncey Concepcion (Charlotte, N.C.), under duress for much of the game, was intercepted with 48 seconds remaining as Virginia Union managed to hold off the Broncos 17-14 in the regular season finale at Hovey Field.
Fayetteville State (4-6, 4-3), which had won four of its last five games, finishes under .500 for just the fourth time in 12 years under Phillips. It is the first time the Broncos have finished under .500 since 2007, when they completed the season 4-6.
Even in the loss, it was a solid defensive effort for the Broncos.
Fayetteville State star linebacker Marcos Esquivel (Sr., Kearney, Ariz.) finished his career on a high note, recording 3.0 tackles for loss to take over the all-time lead in that category for Fayetteville State. Esquivel, who had 10 tackles in the game, completes his career with 54.0 tackles for loss, moving past current Fayetteville State defensive line coach Damien Adams (51.5 TFL) for first all time.
The Broncos' Joshua Scales (So., Pinehurst, N.C.), the reigning CIAA Defensive Back of the Week, enjoyed his second straight game with two interceptions, increasing his CIAA-leading total to seven on the season.
The Broncos had their chances to clip the Panthers (5-5, 3-4), but misfired on two field goals, served up several high snaps to Concepcion and allowed four sacks.
Still, Fayetteville State had a chance to go for either the game-tying field goal or a potential game-winning touchdown, taking over possession with 3:47 remaining.
The Broncos moved to the Virginia Union 37-yard line after an 11-yard run by Concepcion, but snapped the ball high over his head on the next play, leading to a 10-yard loss. A few plays later, after another high snap, a scrambling Concepcion was picked off at the Panthers' 30, effectively sealing the victory for Virginia Union.
Virginia Union took the game's first lead, marching 75 yards in 12 plays before Andre Leblanc plunged into the end zone from a yard out to make it 7-0 with 4:49 remaining in the second quarter.
But Fayetteville State responded quickly, answering with a nine-play, 70-yard scoring series that was capped by Colon Bailey's (So., Manteo, N.C.) 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7 entering the half.
Virginia Union then built a 10-point lead in a span of 7 minutes in the second half, taking a 14-7 lead on Trevon Winston's 5-yard run to cap an 85-yard drive with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter. With 9:51 left in the game, Stephen Velasquez connected from 25 yards to give the Panthers a 17-7 lead.
But the Broncos gave themselves a chance with a quick 76-yard drive, with Marquavis Alston (Fr., Rocky Mount, N.C.) scoring on a 21-yard to make it 17-14 with 6:00 to go.
Concepcion (Charlotte, N.C.) finished the game 9 of 27 for 144 yards. Bailey was the Broncos' leading rusher with 41 yards on 14 carries.