Newberry stunned by Mars Hill 20-19 at home

NEWBERRY, S.C.  – The Newberry Wolves jumped out to a 19-0 lead, but a suffocating Mars Hill defense in the second half and several sustained, methodical Lions’ drives helped Mars Hill come back for a 20-19 win in a key South Atlantic Conference battle at Setzler Field.

Newberry (1-4, 1-2 SAC) scored its first touchdown just 45 seconds into the contest and led 19-0 after four scoring drives in the game’s first 21 minutes. But the Lions (3-2, 2-1 SAC) held firm from that point onward and benefitted from a flurry of points late in the second quarter.

The Wolves used a 47-yard return of the opening kickoff and a 7-yard reception, both by Chance Walker, to set up a pass from Colton Bailey to a wide-open Austin Gordon, who had slipped into the middle of the Lions’ defense and was all alone on a 38-yard touchdown reception less than a minute from the opening kick.

The Wolves were unable to find the end zone in the second half, possessing the ball just four times over the final 30 minutes. Two drives ended in punts, with a missed field goal and an interception plaguing Newberry in the final four minutes. A false start penalty turned a 42-yard Rodgers attempt into a 47-yard try, which the senior pushed wide left, while 18 yards worth of sacks on consecutive plays on Newberry’s final drive necessitated a desperation heave on 4th and 28 that was picked off.

Colton Bailey led the Wolves with 49 rushing yards and 163 yards through the air on 10-for-25 passing. Bryson Woodruff’s five catches for 66 yards were the team high in both categories.

Mars Hill’s First Team All-American wide receiver Craig Rucker, the active Division II career leader in receiving yards with 3,497 coming into Saturday’s contest, was limited to 24 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Collin Sneed was 14-for-25 for 128 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while Elijah Jett’s 105 yards on 20 carries were a game high.

The Wolves were outgained for the fifth time in five games this season, surrendering 342 yards while gaining 270. The Lions ran 85 plays, 33 more than the Wolves, and benefitted from 141 yards on 12 Newberry penalties.

Newberry returns to Setzler Field next Saturday for a Homecoming tilt with UVa-Wise. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports