Story and photo courtesy of Concord Athletics
GREENSBURG, Pa. - The Concord University football team trailed Seton Hill by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, but was able to pull off the 29-26 comeback victory by outscoring the Griffins 29-13 over the final three quarters on the road Saturday. The win was sparked by two touchdown passes from Evin Dusold.
The win improves Concord's record to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Dusold, who came on in relief of starting quarterback Albert Rose at the end of the first quarter, was nearly perfect on the day. The senior, who has seen time at both quarterback and wide receiver this season, was 17-of-20 for 225 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
Senior wide receiver Ansel Ponder caught four passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Fellow senior wideout Randall Hawkins, who entered the game leading the WVIAC in receptions per game, snagged six passes for 44 yards. Freshman wide receiver Darrick Williams caught two passes, including a 10-yard touchdown.
Aiding CU's passing attack was freshman running back Calvinaugh Jones, who eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, gaining 123 yards on 26 attempts. Jones also crossed the goal line for the first time in his young career Saturday. Sophomore fullback Ben Nester scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
After giving up two first-quarter touchdowns, the Concord defense stiffened up to limit Seton Hill (0-7, 0-5 WVIAC) to just 13 points for the remainder of the game. The Mountain Lions registered nine tackles for a loss and a season-high three sacks.
Leading the defensive effort was senior defensive back Nate Pollard, who made a team-best 12 tackles. Junior linebacker Jake Lilly, the WVIAC's second-leading tackler, made nine stops including two TFLs. Freshman linebacker Ervin Moore reeked havoc in the Seton Hill backfield with two sacks. Senior safety Kevin Elliott picked off his third pass in as many games and his fourth on the season. His four interceptions are tied for the fifth most in Concord history dating back to 1995.
Two first quarter turnovers by Concord, a fumble and an interception, led directly to two Seton Hill scoring drives. After 15 minutes of action, the Mountain Lions found themselves trailing 13-0 to the winless Griffins.
Concord cut into the Seton Hill lead midway through the second quarter when a 30-yard pass from Dusold to Tiko Henderson gave CU the ball at the Seton Hill 16-yard line. From there, Jones took the handoff and burst through a hole, striding 16 yards for the Mountain Lion touchdown. An Andy Ellington extra point made it a 13-7 game with eight minutes left in the half.
However, another Concord turnover proved costly as Seton Hill recovered a Concord fumble that led to a three-play drive that was capped off with a 31-yard touchdown pass from SHU's Andrew Jackson to Lance Williams. The Maroon and Gray once again trailed the Griffins by 13 points (20-7) at the 4:54 mark in the second quarter.
Not to be outdone, Concord promptly set off on a 10-play scoring drive to close out the half starting with a 33-yard kick return by Henderson. The drive featured Dusold finding D.J. Holmes and Tyler Smith for completions of 12 and 13 yards, respectively to put Concord inside the Seton Hill red zone. CU drove the ball all the way to the two-yard line before calling a time out with two seconds remaining in the half. Trusting in his offense, head coach Garin Justice elected to go for the touchdown instead of kicking a field goal. The decision would pay off as Nester was able to get score on the final play of the half, making it a 20-14 contest after two quarters.
The third quarter saw both teams trade scores, Seton Hill by way of a 10-yard pass with Concord's coming off of an eight-yard reception from Ponder. At the start of the fourth quarter, Concord trailed by just five points (26-21).
The two schools traded possessions to begin the final period, including SHU missing a 45-yard field goal attempt. The missed scoring chance gave Concord the ball on its own 28-yard line with 9:18 remaining in regulation. The Mountain Lions proceeded to march 72 yards down the field in 10 plays with Williams hauling in a 10-yard pass from Dusold to score the go ahead touchdown. A successful two point conversion gave Concord a 29-26 advantage with 5:08 to play. The drive featured Jones running for 25 yards and Dusold going 4-for-4 for 49 yards.
Seton Hill was able to drive down to the CU 35 on the ensuing drive before Lilly stopped SHU running back Tavin Davis at the line of scrimmage on fourth down to seal the Mountain Lion victory.
Concord has outscored its opponents 77-51 in the second half of games this season.
The Mountain Lions will step out of WVIAC play next week when they travel to take on Liberty. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.