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Jon Ross Maye
Jon Ross Maye had 14 tackles, with 12 of those solo tackles.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Falls in NCAA Division II Semifinals

The Lenoir-Rhyne football team fell on the road to Harding University, 55-14. While the Bears gained 339 yards in the air, they were held to negative rushing yards. Conversely, the Bisons of Harding, a flexbone offense, had 431 yards rushing with two players rushing for over 100 yards each.

After the Bears went three-and-out on their first drive, Harding took the ball and went 36 yards on nine plays capped by a 1-yard rush by Cole Keylon on 4th and goal from the 1. The Bisons went onside kick after the score and recovered. Six plays later, Blake Delacruz ran one in from nine yards out. Delacruz would add his second TD on a 4-yard run and Braden Jay made it 28-0.

The Bears would drive at the end of the first half and Zyheir Dillard would punch it in for a 5-yard TD run to pull LR within three scores. However, Harding would take the ensuing kick off 89 yards to the house and went up 34-7 at the half.

Harding hit a 65-yard pass to Roland Wallace to make it 41-7. They would tack on another 3rd quarter TD.

Sean White finished the game with 270 yards passing and completed 23 of his 33 attempts. Jalen Ferguson would replace White in the fourth and connected with Deondre Lester on a 52-yard touchdown.

Jon Ross Maye led the Bears with 14 total tackles, including 12 solo stops.

Harding ran for 431 yards on the day compared to -3 by the Bears. Harding outgained the Bears 500-336 in total yards. The Bisons had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the game. Delacruz finished with 147 yards on 21 carries and Keylon had 108 yards on 15 rushes.

The 13 wins this season tied the single season program record. In the NCAA Playoff era, this was the second-farthest an LR team had ever gone. Only the 2013 team advanced past this round. In the game, Harding broke the single-season Division II record for most rushing yards, previously held by LR in 2013.

The Bears fall to 11-7 all-time in NCAA Playoff games. This was just the second time all year that LR failed to score first. The Bears were 0-2 in those two contests.

The Bears season ends at 13-2 and made it to the NCAA Division II semifinals for the first time in 10 years.