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Jon Ross Maye
Jon Ross Maye had eight tackles and one tackle for a loss on defense.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Football Falls Late Against Wingate

A late touchdown from Wingate sent the Bulldogs past the Bears for the first time since 2017, snapping LR’s five game winning streak over the Bulldogs. Shaw Crocker hit Trevor Grant from 10 yards out with 4:29 to play and the Wingate defense made that 24-21 lead stand up.

For the second straight week, LR fell behind 17-0 in the first half. Crocker hit Kamal Desor on a 19-yard TD connection and Ethan Evans connected on a 35-yard field goal. With 1:50 left in the first half, Crocker’s heads up lateral to Ryder Martin resulted in a five yard touchdown run to make it 17-0. Wingate held LR’s offense in check for the majority of the first half before Sean White found a wide open Malik Simmons for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Prior to that drive, LR managed just 19 yards of offense.

LR stuffed Wingate on the first drive of the second half and then White hit Kelin Parsons in the corner of the end zone to cut the Wingate lead to three points. White would connect with a returning Deondre Lester for a 14-yard touchdown to give LR a 21-17 lead with 9:42 to play which was set up by Devin Hibbitt’s second interception of the half.

That lead would stand up until a late interception set Wingate up at the Bears six yard line with just over five minutes to play. On third down, Crocker connected with Grant for the game-winning touchdown. LR’s ensuing drive stalled at their own 43 yard line, forcing a punt. The Bears used all three timeouts and stopped Wingate on a much-needed three-and-out to get the ball back with just under two minutes. However, LR would turn it over on downs and Wingate ran out the clock.

White went 18-for-35 for 292 yards and three touchdowns but also threw three picks. LR was held to just 12 yards rushing on 21 attempts. The leading rusher was Jadus Davis’ 23 yards on six attempts. Wingate sacked White four times, the most sacks given up by Lenoir-Rhyne this season. Hibbitt kept the Bears close with 13 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Crocker finished just 8-for-17 for 72 yards and two interceptions but added the two TD passes.

Wingate ran the ball 53 times for 178 yards, an average of 3.4 yards per carry but they were able to churn out the clock. Wingate had the ball for 13:30 more than LR and ran 14 more plays. Evans was the unsung hero for Wingate, pinning LR inside their own 10 yard line with multiple punts and inside the 20 five times. He also boomed a 56 yarder and made a field goal.

Ryan Carter reached 100 career receptions with his first grab today. He is the 11th receiver in program history to reach 100 career receptions. This was the second time LR was held below 20 yards rushing in a game this year. Ferris St. held LR to 16 yards rushing.

Jon Ross Maye tied a career-high with 15 tackles and Andre Jefferson and Zeke Nance each had sacks. LR managed just 12 first downs in the game with 10 coming through the air. Crocker continued a trend with a 2-interception game against LR. In his six career starts against the Bears, he has thrown multiple interceptions in five.

Wingate is now 14-24 all-time against LR with the win. The Wingate defense entered the game allowing just 8.5 points per game which was the best mark in the nation. This is the first two-game losing streak for LR since dropping three straight to close the 2017 campaign.

The Bears are 6-3 overall, 5-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. LR will hit the road and take on Catawba on Saturday at 2 p.m.