Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Brave Snap Their Losing Streak Before Homecoming

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Wheeling University uncessful offensive attempt. Braves won 34-28. PN Photo/Dakota Banks

By: Andrew Thrift, Sports Editor

Braves football has gotten back in the groove after defeating both Wheeling University and West Virginia State.

These back to back wins followed two losses in a row against Fairmont State and the conference leading Frostburg State.

It was “Parents and Family Day” on Oct. 9 when the Braves took on the Wheeling University Cardinals. The Cardinals put up a good fight, but Braves prevailed 34-28.

The Braves scored 24 points in the first half after forcing three turnovers, giving them a huge lead.

Gerardo Guerra Rivera got the Braves their first three points in the first quarter with a field goal.

Josh Jones threw for 40 yards on 4-for-6 passing on the next drive, while also running 30 yards, including a two-yard dive into the end zone putting the Braves up 10-nothing.

After a false start penalty, the Cardinals were able to attempt a field goal giving them their first three points in the 2nd quarter. At the end of the period, the Braves were up 24 to 9.

Cardinal’s Brennon Norris threw for 59 yards on 4-of-6 passing on a drive in the 3rd quarter, including a 15-yard touchdown strike. The visitors got a big break though on a 2nd-and-long situation from the UNCP 37-yard line when the Braves were again called for pass interference making the score 24-16. Wheeling held UNCP scoreless in the 3rd quarter. Wheeling used a 52-yard pass from Brennon Norris to Ryan LaFollette on the opening play of the ensuing drive to set up shop inside the UNCP 15-yard line. Wheeling was able to score more points but were still behind 24-21 at the end of the 3rd.

It was a tight final quarter until a 4-yard touchdown pass from Josh Jones to Faheem Diaab gave the Braves some hope. Joseph Early carried the ball five times for 12 yards on the possession, while Rodney Smith hauled in a 16- yard catch on a key 3rd-and-long situation from the Wheeling 36-yard line. Resulting in a Braves home victory.

“It was a big game changer for us to get those picks, score those touchdowns. It definitely gave us life,” said Joseph Early

Braves Over West Virginia State 14-13
The following weekend, the Braves faced off against the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets. This game was a true fight and left the Braves sweating.

The Braves scored the first touchdown in the first quarter after an 11-yard strike from Josh Jones to Faheem Diaab. Jones threw a 39-yard pass to Diaab resulting in the touchdown.

The Braves were able to hold off the Yellow Jackets during the first half of the 2nd quarter after they notched yet another touchdown. Josh Jones completed seven of his eight passing attempts on the possession including a 14-yard touchdown strike to Rodney Smith, while Joseph Early ran for 35 yards. This put the Braves up 14-0. The Yellow Jackets needed four plays to drive 72 yards in just more than a minute. They were forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Martin Ahlstroem. Which left the score at half 14-3.

The 3rd quarter was a defensive battle with no points scored by either team. The 4th quarter was closely contested with the Yellow Jackets scoring a touchdown and a field goal, but the Braves managed to hold them off to secure the victory 14-13

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