|Bears Advance To National Finals|
|Written by Staff Reports|
|Sunday, 15 December 2013 09:29|
For the fourth time in school history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team (13-1) has earned a trip to the national championship. On Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium, L-R downed West Chester (13-2),
42-14, in the NCAA Division II National Semifinals.
L-R, ranked No. 13 in NCAA Division II and winners of 13 consecutive games, will face second-ranked Northwest Missouri State (14-0) in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship game next Saturday beginning at Noon at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala. Northwest Missouri State downed Grand Valley State (12-3), 27-13, on Saturday in Maryville, Mo., in the other semifinal contest.
Lenoir-Rhyne, which advanced to the NAIA Championship game in 1959, 1960 and 1962, while winning the title in 1960, rushed for 451 yards on the day and scored the last 30 points to take the win.
L-R senior quarterback Josh Justice (Belmont, N.C.) rushed for a game-high 175 yards and three touchdowns and also scored on three two-point conversions while the Bears' defense limited the Rams to just 213 yards of total offense including 25 yards after halftime in the win. West Chester, ranked No. 15 in the nation, came into the game averaging over 479 yards of total offense and 39 points per contest.
The Golden Rams' All-American running back, Rondell White (West Chester, Pa.), caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Sean McCartney (Doylestown, Pa.) with 10:55 left in the second quarter to cut the margin to 14-12 but the Bears took over from there.
Justice and junior fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.) scored on touchdowns runs of two and eight yards, respectively, to open up a 26-14 halftime advantage. Whitaker finished with 90 yards on the ground and two scores while the Bears rolled up 302 yards rushing in the first half.
Justice put the game away for Lenoir-Rhyne after capping off a 14-play, 84-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter for a 34-14 advantage and Lenoir-Rhyne finished off the scoring with another touchdown and two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
White finished with 142 all-purpose yards - 67 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving - and his season total of 3,107 all-purpose yards is second-best in NCAA Division II history. McCartney added 135 yards and two scores through the air and Chris DiValentino (Jenkintown, Pa.) led all tacklers with 12 in the setback.
L-R senior defensive back Myer Nolan (Atlanta, Ga.) finished with a team-high seven tackles while junior linebacker Tanner Botts (Lawrenceville, Ga.) tallied six tackles including two for a loss to add to his team-leading 125 tackles on the year. Lenoir-Rhyne has now won 20 of its last 21 games at Moretz Stadium and is 21-2 in its last 23 contests.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Houston, L-R Athletics
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
West Chester 7 7 0 0 - 14
Lenoir-Rhyne 6 20 8 8 - 42
1st 14:05 WCU Tim Brown 9 yd pass from Sean McCartney (Shawn Leo kick)
2 plays, 10 yards, TOP 0:55 7 - 0
10:28 L-R Isaiah Whitaker 34 yd run (Zach Neumann kick failed)
7 plays, 77 yards, TOP 3:31 7 - 6
2nd 13:41 L-R Josh Justice 4 yd run (Zach Neumann kick blockd)
2 plays, 61 yards, TOP 0:30 7 - 12
10:55 WCU Rondell White 60 yd pass from Sean McCartney (Shawn Leo kick)
5 plays, 70 yards, TOP 2:39 14 - 12
08:10 L-R Josh Justice 2 yd run (Josh Justice rush)
6 plays, 72 yards, TOP 2:41 14 - 20
00:28 L-R Isaiah Whitaker 8 yd run (Josh Justice rush failed)
6 plays, 51 yards, TOP 1:37 14 - 26
3rd 00:27 L-R Josh Justice 1 yd run (Josh Justice rush)
14 plays, 84 yards, TOP 8:11 14 - 34
4th 03:21 L-R Michael Patrick 1 yd run (Josh Justice rush)
9 plays, 39 yards, TOP 3:45 14 - 42
FIRST DOWNS: L-R 21, WCU 11
RUSHING YARDS: L-R 451, WCU 78
PASSING YARDS: L-R 0, WCU 135
TOTAL YARDS: L-R 451, WCU 213
FUMBLES/LOST: L-R 0-0, WCU 3-0
TURNOVERS: L-R 0. WCU 1
PENALTY YARDS: L-R 3-15, WCU 2-30
TIME OF POSSESSION: L-R 36:32, WCU 23:28
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: L-R 4-11, WCU 4-12
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS: L-R 2-3, WCU 0-1
L-R - JUSTICE 26-175-3TD, WHITAKER 17-90-2TD, ROBINSON 7-74
WCU - WHITE 17-67
L-R - 0-0-0
WCU - McCARTNEY 12-22-I-2TD-135
L-R - 0-0-0
WCU - WHITE 4-75-TD, BROWN 2-30-TD
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