Saturday, October 29, 2022

Late Score Carries Wingate to Win over #22 Lenoir-Rhyne

HICKORY – The Wingate University Bulldogs raced out to a 17-0 lead Saturday afternoon, then rallied late to pick up a huge 24-21 victory at #22 Lenoir-Rhyne in South Atlantic Conference football action at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Wingate improves to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the SAC, while the Bears fall to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the SAC. The victory sets up a huge matchup next weekend, with the Bulldogs hosting Newberry for a bid to the first-ever SAC championship game.

Wingate's Justin Rhodes Takes Down Lenoir-Rhyne QB Sean White
Photo Credit: Dominigue Maneice

After the teams traded punts to open the game, the Wingate defense had a pair of TFLs to drive Lenoir-Rhyne back to its own 14. The punt was returned into Lenoir-Rhyne territory by J Max Swaim. Crocker hit Bryan for 15 yards to get the Bulldogs inside the Lenoir-Rhyne 30. Crocker's seven-yard run got Wingate inside the red zone. Crocker hit Desor for a 19-yard touchdown to put Wingate on top 7-0.

Wingate went 40 yards on 11 plays to set up a field goal early in the second. Matt Pack started the drive with a 15-yard run that got the Bulldogs into Bear territory. An Evans 35-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 10 minutes left. Wingate forced another three-and-out and went on a 12-play, 53-yard TD drive. Simmons got things started with his 25-yard punt return to the Wingate 47. Three straight Wilson runs set the Bulldogs up with a first down inside the 30. Corey Siemer's eight-yard run got Wingate inside the 10. Crocker converted a fourth and one with a two-yard run. On third-and-five, Crocker scrambled and pitched it to Martin, who ran it in from five yards out. Wingate led 17-0 with 1:50 to go. Lenoir-Rhyne got on the board when Sean White hit Malik Simmons for a 70-yard touchdown to make it 17-7 at halftime.

The third quarter saw the teams trade turnovers, with four interceptions in a span of six plays. Best picked off White to set Wingate up around midfield, but the Bears got it back two plays later. The Bears took over and a completion got them to the Wingate 18. Armwood was there with a huge interception in the end zone to get the ball back to the Bulldogs. Lenoir-Rhyne got it back on the next play, taking over at the Wingate 18. White hit Kelin Parsons for a seven-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 with 7:15 left in the third.

A 40-yard Evans punt was downed at the Lenoir-Rhyne two-yard line. The Bears answered with a 98-yard drive to take the lead. White hit Deondre Lester for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 21-17 with 9:42 remaining. Wingate's drive stalled, but an Evans 52-yard punt pinned Lenoir-Rhyne at the three. On the second play of the drive, Mosely picked off White and set Wingate up at the Lenoir-Rhyne eight. A penalty backed Wingate up, setting the Bulldogs up with a third and goal from the 10. Crocker found Grant in the back of the end zone to put Wingate back on top. An Evans extra point made it 24-21 with 4:29 remaining. Wingate forced a punt and took over at its own 17 with 2:26 to go. The Bulldogs could not get the first down, punting it back to Lenoir-Rhyne with 1:51 remaining. A 56-yard Evans punt set Lenoir-Rhyne up at its own 31. The Bears could not gain a yard on their final drive. Thomas broke up the first pass, while Gilmore had back-to-back break-ups to set up a fourth down. The fourth down throw fell incomplete, giving it back to Wingate with 1:15 remaining. The Bulldogs went into victory formation to secure the victory.


Wingate hosts Newberry Saturday at 2 p.m.. The winner of that contest will host the SAC championship game on Nov. 12. Lenoir-Rhyne will hit the road and take on Catawba on Saturday at 2 p.m.