The Pine Needle
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Braves Keep the Two Rivers Cup

Braves Keep the Two Rivers Cup

By Cody Parker, Sports EditorPhoto by Stefanie Smith

The UNCP football team continued their winning ways in the Two Rivers Classic series when they defeated Fayetteville State on Sept. 14 in a low scoring game that saw the Braves come out on top 16-14.

The game was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 13, but was postponed to noon the following day due to weather.

The Black and Gold allowed 31 points in the first half of their season opener.

The first drive of this game brought back that feeling as Fayetteville State marched right down the field for a touchdown.

The Broncos didn’t even face a third down on the drive.

After allowing the touchdown on the opening drive, the Braves defense really stepped up as the only other points scored by Fayetteville State came on a blocked field goal returned for touchdown.

The Black and Gold scored six points in the first half with Connor Haskins hitting 22 and 48 yard field goals.

The Braves came out in the third quarter and quickly grabbed the lead when George Whigham caught a pass from Seth Owen and took it 77 yards for the score. UNCP held their lead the rest of the game.

Haskins hit his third field goal of the game late in the third quarter to put the Braves up by nine points headed into the fourth quarter.

UNCP avoided starting the season off 0-2 by getting the win, and Head Coach Shane Richardson said that “it’s your attitude and your mentality towards how you want to respond to things” that he stressed to the team during the week. He said he thought they did “a fantastic job of really taking that to heart,” in their preparation for the game.

Owen had a much better game this week than in his first start in the opener as he completed 20 of 29 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line gave up only two sacks in the game. Owen said, “The O-line, they did phenomenal job giving me enough time in the pocket.”

He said he “just got to get the ball in the playmaker’s hands.” He did just that on the 77 yard catch and run to Whigham.

Whigham led the team in receiving yards with 87 in the game, but B.J. Bunn had the most catches as he hauled in seven receptions for 58 yards.

The offense spread the ball around with eight players catching at least one pass in the game.

The Black and Gold’s defense played well after that first drive, as they picked Fayetteville State’s quarterback Derek Bryant off three times and sacked him five times. 

Defensive back Mike Lawrence accounted for two of those interceptions. 

“We mainly had emphasis on stopping the run, and once we did that we were confident with our secondary that we could do our job,” Lawrence said.

Kendall Jacobs had the other interception.           

Photo by Stefanie Smith. The Black and Gold’s defense swarms to bring down the ball carrier in the latest Two Rivers Classic game.