Photo courtesy of Sports Information Services
Hope Millls native Josh Throckmorton caught three
passes for 115 yards and two touchdown during the
Black and Gold’s 43-22 win over Faulkner Oct. 27.
Horton propels UNCP to win last home game of the season 43-22
By Brad Crawford
Before the start of UNCP’s first football season in 56 years this September, Fayetteville State University transfer, Ryan Horton, found himself at third-string quarterback behind highly-touted Ventura County, Calif., recruit Matt Evans and freshman Cory Smith.
Any number of the 1,703 fans who witnessed the redshirt junior’s aerial assault against Faulkner during UNCP’s final home game of the season on Oct. 27 recognized a bright future in 2008 for the Black and Gold’s brightest budding star.
The Chapel Hill native ignited the Black and Gold offense in what was the single highest offensive output of any Braves player this season connecting on 15-of-30 passes for 360 yards and four total touchdowns as UNCP rolled over Faulkner 43-22.
The 21-point margin of victory was the largest this season for the Black and Gold, as the Braves jumped on Faulkner early claiming a 20-0 advantage at halftime.
UNCP finished its home schedule 3-2 this season averaging 24.2 points per game at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field.
Long gone are the days at third-string quarterback for Horton as the 6-foot-2 signal caller’s 70-yard bomb to Justin Funderburk with 9:58 remaining in the fourth quarter put UNCP ahead to stay at 36-15.
“I knew I just wanted to play,” said Horton. “I didn’t want to give up on playing. I did everything I could to see if it could still work.”
UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick appreciates Horton’s maturation process this season and says the quarterback’s recent success hasn’t come without hard work.
“Ryan has handled everything we’ve thrown at him from day one extremely well,” said Shinnick. “He’s handled being a third-string quarterback and didn’t gripe, moan or complain.”
The Black and Gold (4-5) offense amassed more than 500 total yards against Faulkner, marking the first time this season it has eclipsed the barrier, as tailback Rashan Kennedy complemented Horton’s career day with 143 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Kennedy leads UNCP in rushing with 610 total yards on the ground this season while notching six trips to the endzone.
South View High School product Josh Throckmorton made the most of his three receptions for 115 yards as a pair went for touchdowns of 53 and 60 yards, respectively.
Fellow wideout, Tim McCaskill, also reeled in big numbers for UNCP as the senior from Rockingham led all receivers with eight catches for 147 yards.
Throckmorton and McCaskill are tied for the team lead with 25 receptions apiece heading into the Black and Gold’s final two games, both on the road, at Concord and North Greenville.
Faulkner (1-7) was held to
just 15 net yards rushing by the Black and Gold defense, struggling all game to claw its way back into it after facing a 30-0 deficit late in the third quarter.
James Littlejohn registered a pair of sacks for the Braves, tying him for the team lead with Dewayne James who has six.
Safety Brandon Arrington led UNCP in tackles with eight stops. Scotland County High product Adam Deese recorded his first interception and forced three quarterback hurries.
Coach Shinnick was pleased with UNCP’s effort after falling 10-7 on Oct. 13 and 31-28 on Oct. 20 to West Virginia Wesleyan and Edward Waters.
“To come back from two straight 3-point losses and having an opportunity to win a game and not getting it, I was very happy for our guys to be able to do something like this today,” said Shinnick.
“[I] give Faulkner a lot of credit for continuing to fight and scratch late in the game,” Schinnick continued.
“We knew it was going to be a famine and feast type of game. Ryan [Horton] did a good job of not getting frustrated with the incomplete
passes and the pressure he was
UNCP next plays Concord on Nov. 3.