Defense Soars, Offense Bores in Loss
By Cody Parker, Sports Editor
UNCP’s football team fell to 1-6 when it lost its homecoming game to Newberry on Oct. 25 by a score of 13-6.
UNCP had an opportunity to tie the game late when they entered the red zone in the later half of the fourth quarter.
They faced a fourth and nine on Newberry’s 16. Seth Owen was in at quarterback and tried to hit George Whigham up the middle of the field, but coverage was tight and they couldn’t quite connect.
There was still a little over five minutes left on the clock, but the Braves’ defense wasn’t able to stop the running game of Newberry on that drive so they were able to run out the clock.
A standout for UNCP all season has been the dynamic kick and punt returns from L.J. Stroman, and he displayed this on his first opportunity against Newberry.
He returned his first punt for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a personal foul penalty.
“You just got to play again,” said Head Coach Shane Richardson on how you have to react to something that could potentially disrupt the momentum.
The Braves still had good field position, however, as they got the ball on Newberry’s 42.
The Black and Gold didn’t let the momentum slip through their fingers.
They capitalized on the field position by punching the ball in on a tough 10-yard touchdown run by Owen.
The offense did catch a break, though, when an interception was called back due to someone lining up offsides for Newberry.
Connor Haskins failed on the extra point attempt so UNCP had a 6-0 lead.
The Braves were set up with tremendous field position again when the defense recovered a fumble on Newberry’s eight yard line.
The offense went straight backwards.
They lost 14 yards on two plays and had 20 yards worth of penalties to put themselves in a third down and 42.
Reggie Pinner, who was in his second series at quarterback after Owen had played two series, pushed the ball down the field but was intercepted by Sharon Irwin who returned it 87 yards for a touchdown.
That was the only touchdown scored in the game.
Newberry added a field goal in the second and third quarters to bring the score to its 13-6 final.
Both defenses played extremely well as both teams averaged under four yards per play.
“I can’t say enough. I’m really, really proud of those guys,” said Richardson of his defense’s play.
Photo by Cody Parker. Matt Turner wraps up the ball carrier in the homecoming game. The tackle almost resulted in a safety.