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Sean White
Sean White through for 398 yards and had five touchdowns in the air.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Dominates in SAC Championship Game

The No. 13/15 Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team scored the first 48 points in a dominating 48-7 win at Tusculum in the SAC Championship. Sean White was named the game’s Most Valuable Player as he went 19-of-30 for 305 yards and five touchdowns with no turnovers. White became the first LR passer to toss five TD’s in a game since Joel Roope did so against West Virginia St. on October 20, 1990. As a team, LR threw six touchdown passes which is the most in the 104-year history of LR Football.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s defense made the first big play of the game on just the second play of the contest. Chris Brown forced a fumble on a short pass play and James Ussery had the recovery. After missing a field goal after the turnover, the LR defense would force a three-and-out. On the next possession, White hit Songa Yates for a 44-yard touchdown strike.

With 1:54 left in the first quarter, Zayvion Turner-Knox punched in a touchdown on a 1-yard plunge to put the Bears up 14-0 after one quarter. White and Yates would connect again, this time from 33 yards out, to put the Bears up 20 going into the break.

The LR defense allowed just one first down in the first half and held the Pioneers to three yards rushing on 10 carries. The Pioneers had 50 total yards of offense on 26 plays in the first half. Meanwhile, on offense, White finished the first half with 160 yards passing on 9-of-14.

On the first drive of the second half, Tate O’Bryan caught a 31-yard touchdown pass to put LR up 27-0. This was O’Bryan’s first career TD grab. Another TE would find paydirt at the 2:26 mark of the third quarter. John Godwin caught a 7-yard strike from White to put the Bears up 34.

Yates’ 20-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter was his third of the game. Not to be outdone, O’Bryan’s second TD of the game — this one from QB Austin Cagle — covered three yards as the Bears went up 48-0.

Tusculum salvaged a touchdown with 2:52 to play as the Bears claimed the championship.

In his first game since September, Kelin Parsons had five grabs for 99 yards. Yates added four catches for 100 yards and his three TDs. Turner-Knox led the rushing attack with 69 yards on 11 carries with a long of 38.

The LR defense allowed just five first downs all game and held the Pioneers to 42 yards rushing on 21 attempts. The Pioneers completed just 13 of 34 passes for 114 yards.

This is the second time LR and Tusculum have squared off in the three years of SAC Championship games. LR outgained Tusculum 497-156 and had the ball for a staggering 41:35.

Yates tied a program record with his three receiving touchdowns. White’s 305 yards passing are the most since Grayson Willingham threw for 343 in a playoff loss at Bowie State in 2021.

This is the 26th all-time conference championship in program history. LR has won 11 of the last 12 against Tusculum.

Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 10-1 on the season. The Bears clinched a spot in the NCAA Playoff field and will find out the postseason draw on Sunday at 6 p.m. on