UNCP football excludes Barton



PEMBROKE – At the start of the University of North Carolina in Pembroke’s home football opening against Glenville State on Saturday, things didn’t look good for the home team.

But after allowing two touchdowns in just over 3 minutes early in the game, the Braves allowed only eight Pioneers points for the rest of the night, outperforming their opponents in the second quarter on their way to a 36:22 win.

“I’m extremely proud of the way we (30) scored unanswered points to come back after trailing 14-0,” said UNCP coach Shane Richardson. “It was really amazing to be able to place these three touchdowns on the board right after we were 14-0 down.”

The Braves defense kept Glenville State (1-1, 1-1 Mountain East Conference) goalless for 47 minutes after the first two touchdowns; the Pioneers had 216 yards total attack and were held at 73 yards. The Braves forced four turnovers and were led defensively by freshman Jaden Richeson with nine tackles and senior Taye Vereen with seven.

“As disappointing as our defense was, I thought we reacted well,” said Richardson. “Sometimes it didn’t feel like we just gave up one (more) touchdown in the end, but we kept fighting and figuring out a way to stop the run and not give up big plays and that was a big factor for the fact that we will definitely win. “

“We just started doing what we knew Code Black,” said Devin Jones. “We just started shooting, everyone started feeling a bit about themselves, and we just kept playing games as a unit and we kept going on and on and on. … We play like this after the first quarter. “

Glenville State’s Tim Heltzel found Javon Butler for a 77-yard touchdown pass in the third game of the game of Scrimmage. UNCP quarterback Josh Jones was stripped by Jimmie Simmons on the Braves’ first drive, and four games later Bernard Dankyi scored a 3-yard run to give the Pioneers a 14-0 lead with 11:52 in the first quarter.

“You wonder if the guys are going to stay locked up or if their energies are going to wear off or what’s going to happen, but we train things like that, so hope that in those moments the guys can get that light and it can come to fruition when you can trained for it, ”said Richardson.

UNCP (2-1, 2-0 MEC) scored on two passing touchdowns from Josh Jones and an 80 yard punt return from Devin Jones to take the lead in the second quarter, then added three field goals from Gerardo Guerra Rivera added to his lead on 30. expand -14 to the beginning of the fourth. Glenville State retreated into possession – a blocked punt from Brandon Penn resulted in a 23-yard touchdown from Tim Weltzel to Orion Bonner and a two-point conversion pass from Heltzel to Javon Butler, which turned it into a 30 -22 game with made 9:20 remaining – but UNCP added two more Rivera field goals in the last four minutes.

The Braves’ three touchdowns in the first half all came during a downpour that began shortly after the first two touchdowns at Glenville State and lasted until the beginning of the second quarter.

“Normally you’d think that in bad conditions you’d try to run the ball, but we felt like we could still throw the ball,” said Richardson. “I thought it was a good sign for us because Glenville coughed it up during that time too, so our defenses came up with some big takeaways during the rain.”

After the Braves struggled to run against Findlay in their opener with Joseph Early, the Braves stormed for 146 yards; Early had 152 yards on 22 carries.

“It was very important to get the ball moving,” said Early. “We didn’t move the ball that well in the last game. In practice, we just focused on blocking better and I think we managed to do that. “

Josh Jones was 20-for-38 pass for 182 yards and the two touchdowns in the first half; Rodney Smith caught five passes for 38 yards and Faheem Diaab caught four passes for 40 yards.

Rivera, a newbie, scored five field goals, setting a UNCP school record.

“We had a meeting with Coach (Richardson) this week and he was talking about trusting us and putting us on the field,” said Rivera. “He expects a lot from us and is expected a lot from our unit and we have to get through and deliver everything that is expected of us.

After the Pioneers’ two opening touchdowns, UNCP hit the board with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Josh Jones to Diaab in the middle of the first quarter and matched the game with a 5-yard pass from Jones to Jai’Veon Smalls 46. seconds remaining in the period.

Devin Jones punt-return touchdown came with 12:29 left in the half and finally gave the Braves the lead.

“I want to scream out my blockers; They made a big alley and I just had to run. I followed them, ”said Devin Jones. “Then the sideline was illuminated; we all showed up and celebrated. “

Rivera’s first field goal came 1:36 at halftime, giving the Braves a 24-14 halftime lead.

The Braves’ red zone offensive in the second half was an area that left room for improvement. UNCP recovered two fumbles deep in Pioneer territory but did not score on any of the following ball possession, with a missed 27-yard field goal attempt and after going to the 1-yard line on the next drive, a bad snap on a field goal attempt that results in turnover on downs.

“(Glenville State) didn’t stop; They came back and often stopped our offense in the red zone, ”said Richardson. “We have to do better not to be such a top team where things are going well and we drive that, but then it fizzles out and we cannot maintain this consistency.”

Rivera made a 28-yard field goal on the Braves’ first drive in the second half for a 27:14 lead; He added three more field goals in the fourth quarter, starting with a 43-yarder with 13:46 remaining, extending the Braves’ lead to 30:14.

Glenville State’s final touchdown came after the following possession before the Braves burned over 5 minutes on the next drive, resulting in a 38-yard Rivera field goal for a 33-22 lead with 3:53 to go. After UNCP forced a turnover at Downs, UNCP added another Rivera field goal from 34 yards with 1:09 remaining for the 14-point final, ending the Braves’ first home win since November 16, 2019.

“This is the second time I’ve played here since I started school,” said Early. “So it feels good to have these fans out there singing for us, it’s a good feeling.”


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