Brandon McCormick Leads Crown College to 22-14 Victory over Greenville
The Crown College Storm rode the arm of their quarterback, Brandon McCormick, Saturday afternoon, as they defeated the Greenville Panthers, 22-14. This was an exciting game of halves, as the Panthers dominated the first and fourth quarters, while the Storm used the second and third to propel them to victory.
Neither team was able to generate much offense on their first two possessions, but on the third drive for Greenville they would finally get it into the end zone. Moving quickly, the Panthers took just 2:23 to move 50-yards in 7-plays for the score. The drive was initially stopped and Greenville was forced to punt, but a roughing the punter call gave the visitors another chance. They took full advantage of it. Bryson Tyson rushed for 12-yards on the first play following the penalty, and one play later Jacob Battaglia found John Dudley for the 29-yard pass play down to the Crown 6. Hamid Camara ran for the score on the next play and it was 7-0.
The Storm responded on their next drive. This was a methodical, clock-eating drive however, as Crown moved 69-yards in 16-plays, taking 8:40 off of the clock. McCormick completed his first four pass plays of the drive, all of which occurred before the first quarter ended, the last of which put his offense at the Greenville 34. After the second quarter began the Storm QB continually worked the short routes, adding three more pass completions. Josh Edlund also chipped in, carrying the ball six times on the drive, and scoring from two-yards out to make it 7-6.
The game remained a defensive struggle for the remainder of the half, but a key defensive play changed the tide of the game. With 1:19 left in the half the Panthers got the ball at their own 18. Two plays later, Battaglia went back to pass, but was sacked by Tyler Byrd and fumbled. Alex Banks scooped up the ball at the 14.
On the first play of the drive McCormick found Ben Olson for the touchdown to make it 12-7. The two-point conversion attempt failed but, more importantly, the Storm had the lead heading into the locker room.
The late score really helped to light a fire under the Crown College team. They came out of the half and mounted a 17-play drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Chad Anenson. McCormick completed just 3-8 pass attempts, but all three led to first downs, including a 16-yard completion to Trey Peace on fourth and 6, and a 15-yard completion to Peace on fourth and 9.
Up 15-7, the Crown defense kept the Panthers offense struggling. They were forced to punt on their next possession after just three plays, and the punt went just 19-yards before being downed. That gave Crown the ball at the Greenville 33.
Edlund gained seven yards on the first two plays, setting up third and three. McCormick kept the ball on the third down play, and ran for 26-yards and the score to extend the lead to 22-7.
For the Storm QB, it was an outstanding day. The senior finished 18-28 for 181-yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 4 times for 27-yards and a TD.
Greenville was down but they were not giving up. With 3:14 left in the game, Battaglia led his team on an 85-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 25-yard pass to Chase Stamatis for the touchdown. That made it 22-14, but left just 38 seconds left on the clock. The Storm ran out of the clock and that was the final.
Terrell Thomas had 5-catches for 67-yards and Ben Olson added 5 for 53 yards and a score. Peace led the team with 6-catches and had 49-yards receiving. Edlund had 49-yards rushing and Matt Michaud had 32.
Jake Nohr led the Crown College defense with nine tackles and Tyler Byrd had eight, including two for sacks. He also broke up two passes. The two sacks gives him four on the season.
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By Robert Pannier