Furious Comeback Falls Short, Greenville Downs Crown 34-33
For 30-minutes Saturday afternoon, the battle between the Crown College Storm and the Greenville College Panthers was a defensive struggle that saw the two teams head into the half with the Panthers leading 13-7. They would extend their lead to 34-21, but a feverish late rally led by Ryan Synoground saw the Storm fall just one-point short as they would fall 34-33.
Crown received the opening kickoff, but turned the ball over when QB Taylor Watkins was picked off at his own 35 by Michael Buchanna, who returned the ball 20-yards. A holding call moved the ball back 10-yards, but George Harris’ 25-yard strike to John Dudley went for the touchdown and gave the Panthers the 7-0 lead.
The Storm would respond right away. Josh Edlund started the drive with a 48-yard run to the Greenville 40. Six plays later it would be Edlund again, this time scoring from 13-yards out to tie the game.
It would stay that way into the second quarter when the Panthers would retake the lead. Starting from their own 24, the team earned two first downs on penalties. That moved the ball out to the Crown 45. On the next play, Harris found Dudley again, this time for 45-yards and the touchdown to make the score 13-7. That would be the score heading into the half.
It had been an impressive half for both defenses. Following the two early touchdowns, the two teams combined for eight-punts and a turnover on downs in 10 total possessions. The two defensive units were really bringing the heat.
The third quarter would see the Panthers take command of this game, but first Crown would take the lead. A Crown punt would be dropped by the return man and recovered by Spears-Hannah at the Greenville two-yard line. On the next play, Edlund burst up the gut and scored to give the Strom their first lead of the game.
The Panthers responded right away. A 26-yard return on the ensuing kickoff gave Greenville the ball at their own 37. They would be forced to punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave them back the ball. David Kerley then carried the ball four straight times for 37-yards down to the Crown 12. On the next play, Harris found Corbin Quinonez for the touchdown to put Greenville back on top 20-14.
On Crown’s next possession, Watkins was intercepted again, this time by Cory Snyder. He would race 45-yards to the Crown 20 before Edlund could make the tackle. Three plays later, Harris kept the ball and scored from two-yards out to make it 26-14.
In the fourth quarter, Crown would get back on the board and cut the deficit to just five. Synoground took over at quarterback and completed a 30-yard pass to Jacob Pardee to make the score 26-21.
It was a huge moment, but the team would not be celebrating for long. On the first play of the Panthers next possession, Jonny Pruiett broke through the line and raced 71-yards for the score. That made it 34-21.
Synoground went to work again and led a 10-play, 65-yard drive that would result in a touchdown again for the Storm. Despite completing only 2 of 5 passes, the QB made them count, completing an 11-yard pass for a first down and a 9-yard completion to Trey Peace for a touchdown. His big play of the drive was a 29-yard scamper on second and 18 that moved the ball into the red zone.
Trailing by seven, the Panthers were forced to punt and Spears-Hannah delivered another huge play, this time racing 47-yards on the return to the Greenville 28. It looked like the big return would go for naught when it was fourth and 12 at the Panthers 16 with the Storm desperately needing a play. Synoground delivered, finding Nick McCormick for a 16-yard touchdown to make it a one-point game.
All Crown College needed was the extra point for the tie, but the Storm coaching staff opted to go for two and the lead. Synoground faded back to pass but his throw fell incomplete. The on-side kick failed and Greenville would run out the clock, escaping with the 34-33 victory.
Edlund had a huge day for Crown College, carrying the ball 24-times for 206-yards and 2-scores. Peace had 9-catches for 99-yards and a TD. Synoground was 8-18 for 111-yards and 3-TD tosses.
Next weekend the Crown College Storm welcome Morris to town for the 12 PM kickoff.
By Robert Pannier