Concord Grabs First Win of Season 38-15 at Charleston
(CU Athletics) Concord's first-year head Football coach felt he had a confident team going into Saturday's WVIAC opener at the University of Charleston, even though the Mountain Lions were 0-2.
CU was coming off a loss at Elon University last week, but Justice said the Mountain Lions emerged from that setback against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent with a stronger belief in themselves.
"We came out of that game knowing that we could play 60 minutes against a very good team, on the road," Justice said earlier this week. "We have a bunch of guys who showed that they can play at a high level. If we can take that confidence into the conference season, we should be in pretty good shape."
That confidence paid off Saturday. The Mountain Lions spotted UC an early 7-3 lead, but reeled off 35 unanswered points in a 38-15 victory at UC Stadium in Charleston, WV.
The win was the first for Justice as Concord's head coach.
Junior QB Zack Grossi led the way for the Mountain Lions, completing 27 of 35 passes for 364 yards and all five of Concord's touchdowns.
Two receivers eclipsed 100 yards – Randall Hawkins caught nine passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, and Ryan Stewart hauled in five receptions for 117 yards and two TDs.
The Mountain Lions ran 76 plays for 482 yards, while Charleston gained 300 yards on 56 plays.
Concord forced a fumble by Adrien Jenkins on Charleston's first possession, and went on a 16-play, 60-yard, 7:26 drive that ended with a 21-yard field goal by John Scritchfield and a 3-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles answered with a nine-play, 66-yard drive that finished with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Maurice Leak to John Drennen that gave UC a 7-3.
Then Grossi and the Mountain Lions offense took over.
CU took the lead for good on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Grossi to Hawkins, culminating an efficient five-play, 60-yard, 1:34 drive with 13:12 left before halftime.
The Mountain Lions added to their advantage by exploiting a botched Charleston punt late in the half. CU covered 29 yards in just 37 seconds, with Grossi finding Hawkins for a 33-yard touchdown with only :33 remaining before the break.
Concord was ahead 17-7 at halftime, and quickly added to the lead. The Mountain Lions took the 2nd half kickoff and went 64 yards on nine plays, capped by a 24-yard TD pass from Grossi to Stewart.
CU pushed the lead to 31-7 on Rashid Baker's three-yard touchdown catch with 4:25 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The Mountain Lions defense forced a three-and-out, setting up Grossi's fifth and final TD pass of the day – a 54-yard laser beam to Stewart that made the score 38-7.
Charleston closed with 38-15 early in the 4th quarter after Jordan Roberts' rushed six yards for a touchdown, and Boobie Tobler ran in a two-point conversion. But that was the end of the scoring.
Jake Lilly paced the CU defense with 12 tackles. Riyadh Richardson had nine, with Ethan Perry and Zach Gibbins adding six apiece. Gibbins and Aaron Martinez each had interceptions for the Mountain Lions.
Concord had a significant advantage in time possession – 35:14 to 24:46 – and went 7-14 on 3rd down conversions, 6-7 in the 2nd half.
Up next for CU (1-2, 1-0) is next week's Homecoming game against WVIAC foe West Virginia State. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 pm at Callaghan Stadium.
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