Trailing 30-15 late in the third quarter, the North Greenville Crusaders mounted a furious comeback and tied the game 30-30 with 8:34 to play, but Mars Hill scored on a fourth and one play with 1:41 left to win 36-30 at Meares Stadium.
Willy Korn, the Clemson and Byrnes High School veteran, made his North Greenville debut with 2:24 left in the second quarter, and ran for seven yards on his first play. He then hit Wright for 13 yards and moved the Crusaders to the Mars Hill seven before the Lion defense forced a field goal, which freshman Trey Walpole missed wide right from 27 yards out.
Korn tried to rally the Crusaders on the final drive, but Mars Hill stopped the final drive on fourth and two with 27 seconds left.
Lewis and Korn both passed for 94 yards (Lewis 6-11 and Korn 8-14) for a total of 188 yards for NGU. The ‘Jamey Gang’ of freshman running backs stunned Mars Hill’s defense for a two year season high of 217 yards. Rucker led with 85 yards on 10 carries, Anderson had 40 on 6 carries, Marcus Wilson had 28 yards on 14 carries, Reggie Lewis had 32 yards and sophomore Justin Beasley had 25.
An emotional Jamey Chadwell knew that his team had a chance to win the game. “I can’t say enough about the effort of our guys gave us. They fought hard and it hurts me because we had a chance to win the game at the end. We had a couple of mistakes on our kicking game early and got in a hole. But we got backed up early and had lousy field position and with a young quarterback, we made put the ball on the ground. But, we got a touchdown and got something and missed a field goal that might have made it 23-10 at halftime. We did move the ball up and down the field in the second half.”