Visiting Concord Snaps UNCP’s 13-Game Home Winning Streak
PEMBROKE – Brian Kennedy racked up more than 230 all-purpose yards, including a momentum-changing 65-yard touchdown run late in the first half, to help visiting Concord snap UNCP's 13-game home winning streak with a 30-26 victory over the Braves on Saturday afternoon at Grace P. Johnson Stadium.
The result marked the first loss at home for UNCP (5-4) since a 10-7 setback to West Virginia Wesleyan on Oct. 13, 2007, while also giving the Braves consecutive losses for the first time since the last two games of that inaugural campaign. Concord (7-2), which rolled into Pembroke toting the nation's fifth-best total offense, snapped a two-game series losing streak in rolling up its third-straight triumph as well.
Quarterback Cory Smith threw for 117 yards on 14-of-24 passing, while also tallying the 49th and 50th passing touchdowns of his career in a losing cause. St. Anthony Lloyd registered his third-straight game of seven or more receptions, with Josh Throckmorton and Wes Carter each grabbing touchdown receptions.
Kennedy paved the way for the red-hot Concord offense, rushing 32 times for 186 yards, while also catching four passes for 48 more yards. Quarterback Zack Grossi threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-32 passing, with Horace Daughtry (3 catches, 42 yards) registering the first two touchdown catches of his career. Thomas Mayo – who came into the game as the nation's ninth-ranked wide receiver with 115.1 receiving yards per game – was held to just 38 yards on four catches.
Laurinburg native Adam Deese matched teammate T.J. Jenkins with a game-high 11 tackles on the day, but also recorded his second defensive touchdown of the season on a 91-yard scoop-and-score late in the second quarter. Karlin Brown and James Alexander each turned in sacks for UNCP as well.
"I think Concord played a very good football game," said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. "They really executed well and did some things in the running game that we had trouble stopping, and then they came out and held us at bay. We had a run there in the third quarter that I thought we were moving the ball pretty well offensively and doing some good things, but they made some nice adjustments and took some things away from us and we didn't take advantage of the things that they gave us.
"We had our chances, and we had our opportunities, but they did a nice job of executing the things that they wanted to do and we didn't do the things that I think we are capable of."
Concord got a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter from Brandon Strupp, as well as 10-yard scoring strike from Grossi to Daughtry early in the second period, to take an early 10-0 lead, but UNCP clawed back within three points on Smith's 16-yard touchdown pass to Throckmorton, and then took the lead four minutes later when Deese picked up a Grossi fumble at the nine-yard line and raced down the near sideline for a 91-yard touchdown. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Kennedy raced up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown on the next play from scrimmage to put the Mountain Lions back up, 16-13, with time winding down.
Taylor Baskett's 47-yard field goal as time expired would help the Braves forge a 16-16 tie heading into the intermission.
UNCP grabbed the lead for the second time in the game on Smith's 9-yard pass to Carter on the opening drive of the second half, and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to set the table for more points. A 36-yard field goal by Baskett would pad the hosts' lead out to 26-16 midway through the third period.
Concord whittled its deficit down to just three, 26-23, on Grossi's 21-yard pass to Daughtry two minutes later and, after Strupp clanged field goal attempts on the next two possessions, took the lead with just less than seven minutes left in the fourth period on Grossi's short scoring pass to Mayo.
Setting up shop at midfield with 3:06 left on the game clock, UNCP drove 29 yards in eight plays but, with just more than 40 seconds left, Joe Greenway stepped in front of Smith pass on 2nd-and-4 from the Concord 21-yard line to ice the outcome for the Mountain Lions going away.
"I feel really bad for our seniors because they have worked hard and have done a lot of good things," Shinnick said. "For them to not be able to finish their home record with two wins, I am disappointed for them. We have one more week to go though. We are going to regroup and get back at it and try to finish strong against North Greenville."
The Braves will close out their 2010 regular season campaign on Saturday when the Black and Gold welcomes North Greenville (7-3) in a 2 p.m. contest at Grace P. Johnson Stadium. Kickoff will be preceded by a special ceremony to honor UNCP's senior class.