The Braves got back on track with their 48-34 victory over the Concord University Mountain Lions on Oct. 20 in front of a rowdy homecoming crowd at Grace P. Johnson Stadium. The team was received big contributions from all three phases and had standout performances across the board.
Pass Protection was Excellent:
After allowing just a single sack and just one quarterback hit against the Marauders, the Braves young offensive line starved the Mount Lions pass rush and kept the quarterbacks clean as well as paved the way for 136 net rushing yards.
“When you can get the quarterback time to look downfield and have time to make decisions and even have time to scramble and be able to create plays it’s a really positive thing for the offense,” said Head Coach Shane Richardson.
“They’re young but they’re getting better every week as zero sacks showed tonight…My confidence is growing in them and they’re the same with me,” said quarterback Josh Jones.
Offense Scores Over 30 Points Again:
For the second consecutive week the Black and Gold offense were able to put up 30-plus points. They did so with a well-balanced run-to-pass ratio that produced two rushing scores and three through the air.
Shovel Pass Strikes Gold for Offense:
The offense utilized the “shovel pass” play on a couple of occasions in this game and even had one break big for a 47-yard touchdown as running back Quadrin Williams scored his first in two seasons on the extended hand off from quarterback Joshua Dale.
The play can be seen in offenses at every level of the sport from pros to Pop Warner and the Braves offense Knightproved how effective it can be when executed properly.
“I like the play. It’s a real good momentum booster, especially when we get big runs on it because it just opens up. Our offensive line opens up a big hole for the running back, it just gives him space to move,” said Dale.
Running Backs and Tight ends Shine in the Passing Game:
The Offense got huge contributions from the tight end position as well as their backfield as five of nine players that registered a catch weren’t wide receivers.
The Braves had a pair of tight ends make a pair of big plays in Tyzaiah Eller whose lone catch picked up 40 yards that extended an eventual scoring drive and Jalon Nixon’s only catch was a 27-yard catch and run for a touchdown that put the game away for the Braves in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Running backs Josh Sheridan took a dump off pass for 25 yards, Williams scored on his only catch and McKinley Nelson caught two pass that included a seven-yard touchdown.
“It shows that we have a lot of weapons. It’s not just one man, one guy catching the ball, one guy running the ball. We have different styles that we play which helps out. Quad is the speed back, I’m more of the power back and McKinley is kind of both,” said Sheridan.
“They provide a safety blanket…You love to hand the ball off to them and watch them do what they do and then when its not looking good down field then you have them to dump it off to and they make plays with the ball,” said Jones.
Both Quarterbacks Make Plays with Their Legs:
Both of the UNCP quarterbacks combined for 34 of the teams 136 rushing yards and a touchdown.
While that only accounts for a fourth of the net yards gained, it was what they did with those rushing attempts that made a difference.
The majority of Josh Jones’ runs resulted in first down and Dale’s only rush ended with him waltzing into the endzone for a 7-yard score that put the Braves up 21-17 in the second quarter.
Hinton Nearly Breaks Sack Record…Again:
Senior Tyler Hinton essentially was the team’s pass rush on the stat sheet in this contest as his 3.5 sacks nearly accounted for all four of the Braves’ sacks on the night and was just a half a sack shy of breaking the program’s single game record that he holds yet again.
“He’s been good. I think he puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback and he’s a captain for a reason, guys look up to him. He carries a lot of influence so he’s continually trying to use that influence to try to rub off on all the younger guys and all the guys that look up to him,” said Richardson.