Sun, Sep. 23, 2012 - [Football]
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team returned home looking to continue the success they had on the road as they hosted the Bears of Pikeville. After a 2 year hiatus from playing the Bears, the Patriots were ready to take to the field and continue their dominance this season.
Much of the season, the Patriots have relied upon their defense to come up with big plays and put the offense in a position to succeed. It was a different story, however, on Saturday as the defense decided to take matters into their own hands and started from the opening series. Five minutes into the game, defensive back Dewaun Harrison (Chickamauga, GA) picked off a Trevor Hoskins pass for a 21 yard interception return for a touchdown that put the Patriots on the board for an early 7-0 lead, showing they had just what it took to defend such a great passing game by the Bears. The Patriots offense then got rolling with a 7 yard touchdown run by Terrance Cobb (Knoxville, TN) and a 35 yard touchdown catch by Willie Gibson (Abbeville, GA) to give them a 21-0 lead. The defense then came up big again as the Bears were looking to drive into the end zone and make an effort to get back into the game. Defensive back Adrian Hightower (Macon, GA) came up with a huge play in what is becoming a season to remember for him. As Pikeville QB Trevor Hoskins was looking for a receiver into the end zone, Hightower intercepted the pass and returned it 93 yards to the Bears 7 yard line to end the 1st quarter.
Hightower's return helped set up a 2 yard touchdown by senior quarterback Jay Bright (Fayetteville, GA) to begin the 2nd quarter and give the Patriots a 28-0 lead. As soon as the Bears took the next kickoff, they were able to rely on the run as they worked their way in for a touchdown to make the score 28-7. The Patriots offense would quickly answer though scoring on an 18 yard touchdown run by D'Angelo Jordan (Jacksonville, FL) to make it 35-7. The Bears then continued their running success and looked to punch in another touchdown, but the Patriot defense including nose guard Nick Smith (Knoxville, TN) had other ideas. With the Bears on the 1 yard line looking to score, linebacker Weston Hazelhurst (Clinton, TN) forced running back Jared Harris to fumble at the 1 yard line when Smith came out of the pile looking to score. With nothing but green grass in front of him, Smith exploded into the end zone for a 99 yard fumble recovery touchdown, the longest in Cumberlands football history. Head Coach John Bland commented, "He was dying going to the sideline. He just sat down with a huge smile on his face. It was good for him though as he has been great for us." The Patriots would go into the half with a 42-14 lead, which was plenty for the victory.
UC started the second half putting points on the board. Willie Gibson took the handoff from Jay Bright for a 34 yard touchdown run. Then 11 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Hightower would intercept his 2nd pass of the game, giving him 5 picks in 4 games. After the interception, the UC offense came up with a huge drive as they showed their strength on the ground capped off by a Terrance Cobb 8 yard touchdown run. After that, it was up to the UC second string as they held their own and showed again the depth this Patriot team has. The Patriots were able to put up another touchdown in the 4th by Jake Minga (Clinton, TN) to bring the final score to 63-21.
The UC offense had another big day as they ran for 288 yards on 42 attempts. The leader this week for the running backs was Terrance Cobb as he ran for 97 yards on 9 attempts and 2 touchdowns. Willie Gibson also had a big day as he had 1 catch for 35 yards and 2 rushes for 45 yards and 2 total touchdowns. The defense had a great day once again as they forced the Bears offense into 4 turnovers. They also forced Bears' quarterback Hoskins to a 9-26 day with 3 interceptions. Weston Hazelhurst led the Patriots with 10 total tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss. Nick Smith also came up big with 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and the 99 yard fumble recovery for a score.
With this kind of performance, the Patriots look like a team on a mission with only one goal in sight, making the NAIA Championship Series. Bland said, "I love this team. They are focused and it makes my job easy to not have to motivate as hard. Now it's time to play Lindsey Wilson as we shift are attention to them now."
Next week the Patriots will be home once again as it will be Homecoming weekend at UC. The Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson will be coming to Williamsburg to play for the first time in school history. Game is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday September 29th at James H. Taylor, II Stadium.
If you're unable to go to the game, the game will be broadcasted locally on WEZJ 104.3 FM. If you are out of the listening area, you can always catch Cumberlands football by logging onto www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
For more information on the Patriots football program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article by Jordan Gossett, UC Multimedia and Athletic Services Graduate Assistant