ATHENS, W. Va. –
The Concord University football team battled back from an early three-touchdown deficit to defeat the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears, 24-21, Saturday night at Callaghan Stadium. The victory was highlighted by a stellar game from defensive back Davon Marion
Marion led a defensive unit that held Lenoir-Rhyne (0-1) scoreless in the second half. For the game, Marion recorded 10 tackles, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, one interception and a touchdown. Just as impressive was junior linebacker Jake Lilly
, who picked off a pair of passes while also finishing with nine total tackles. Spenser Jordan
led Concord in total tackles with 11 stops including three tackles for a loss.
Offensively, Concord was paced by senior quarterback Zack Grossi
, who completed 24 of 41 passes for 242 yards, one touchdown passing and another rushing. Grossi moved into 13th place all-time in the WVIAC in career passing yards and into a tie for 12th all-time, with former CU standout Mike Lazo, for career touchdown passes.
Senior wide receivers, Randall Hawkins
and Ansel Ponder
were Grossi's primary targets on the night. Hawkins caught 10 passes for 104 yards and Ponder pulled in seven receptions for 69 yards and a game-tying touchdown in the third quarter.
ran 10 times for 88 yards, including a 32-yard scamper from the Concord nine-yard line in the fourth.
The game started with a 50-minute delay due to lightning in the area. When the contest did get underway, it was dominated by Lenoir-Rhyne as the Bears scored the game's first three touchdowns and held the Concord offense scoreless for the majority of the first half.
However, Marion shifted the momentum to Concord's favor when he forced, and recovered a fumble, deep in the Lenoir-Rhyne territory with 55 seconds to play in the half. Marion would take the fumble back eight yards for a touchdown to cut the LRU lead to two scores (21-7) heading into halftime.
The start of the second half saw both teams trade possessions until the Concord offense mounted a 12-play 79-yard drive midway through the third quarter that was capped off with a one-yard TD run by Grossi on fourth and goal from the one. Concord would tie the game up with a minute to go in the quarter when Grossi found Ponder for a 17-yard touchdown.
With the score knotted up at 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter, freshman kicker Andrew Ellington was called on to attempt his first collegiate field goal. With the rain falling and the wind blowing, Ellington stuck a 41-yard attempt through the uprights to give CU a 24-21 lead with 11:14 remaining in regulation. The three point lead was all the defense needed, as Lenoir-Rhyne was unable to retake the lead en route to CU's victory.
As a team, Concord (2-0) out-gained LRU 334-327 in total offense, 30:33-29:27 in time of possession and 242-36 in passing yards.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led by Reubuen Haynes, who rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown.
Concord will look to improve its record to 2-0 Sat., Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. when it hosts Winston-Salem State.