Saturday, December 2, 2023

Lenoir-Rhyne Dominates: A Rainy Rout in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals

In Saturday afternoon’s NCAA Division II national quarterfinal game, the visiting Lenoir-Rhyne Bears dominated the host Valdosta State Blazers in a decisive victory. Despite the rainy weather at Valdosta’s Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, the Bears showcased their knack for defeating top teams on the road, walking away with a 35-7 victory and a trip to the national semifinals next week.

After a scoreless first quarter that saw both teams struggling to find any offensive momentum, the Bears took control of the game in the second quarter, scoring four straight touchdowns to take a commanding lead. Dwayne McGee initiated the scoring with a 1-yard run, followed by Zayvion Turner-Knox with a 2-yard run. Sean White added to the tally with a 4-yard run, and Turner-Knox rounded off the quarter with an impressive 87-yard run for his second touchdown on the day. Jake Brown successfully kicked after each touchdown, bringing the score to 28-0 in favor of the Bears at halftime.

The Blazers attempted a comeback in the third quarter with Tyler Ajiero catching a 6-yard pass from Sammy Edwards for a touchdown. Estin Thiele's successful kick brought the score to 28-7. However, the Bears responded in the fourth quarter with Dwayne McGee's 2-yard run and Jake Brown's successful kick, sealing the game at 35-7.

The Bears' offense was relentless on the ground, with a strong showing of 307 rushing yards. The defense was equally formidable, with Jon Ross Maye leading the team with 5 tackles and Rashad Yelding contributing 2 sacks for a loss of 26 yards.

The game ended with the Bears' possession time dominating at 38 minutes compared to the Blazers' 22 minutes. The Bears' superior execution on both sides of the ball kept Valdosta State at bay for most of the afternoon, propelling the Bears into the semifinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Notable Performances

  • Dwayne McGee (LR): McGee was a key player in the Bears' offense, contributing two touchdowns. He made a 1-yard run and a 2-yard run, resulting in a net gain of 102 yards from 22 attempts.
  • Zayvion Turner-Knox (LR): Turner-Knox was another standout on the Bears' offense. He made two significant runs, one for 2 yards and another impressive 87-yard run, resulting in a total net gain of 145 yards from 15 attempts.
  • Sean White (LR): White, the Bears' quarterback, completed 9 out of 15 passes for a net gain of 51 yards. He also contributed a 4-yard run for a touchdown.
  • Tyler Ajiero (VSU): Ajiero was a bright spot in the Blazers' offense, catching a 6-yard pass from Sammy Edwards for a touchdown.
  • Jon Ross Maye (LR): On the defensive side, Maye led the Bears with 5 tackles, including 2 solo and 3 assisted. He also contributed to a forced fumble.

Up Next

Lenoir-Rhyne awaits its opponent in the national semifinals as the teams are reseeded once regional play is completed.