Jacksonville Sports Day

EWC: Tigers Fall to Bethel on the Road in Season Opener

A fourth quarter comeback fell six points short as Edward Waters dropped a 19-13 road decision to Bethel University in front of a crowd of 1,250 in the Mid-South Conference and football season opener on Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.

The scoring got started in the second quarter as Bethel placekicker Dalton McCann gave the Wildcats the lead with a 28 yard field goal with 13:04 remaining in the first half. BU added to their lead with less than a minute remaining in the half as they marched down the field 81 yards with the drive was punctuated with a one yard rushing touchdown by Taye Davis to give the Wildcats a 10-0 halftime lead.

The start of the third quarter belonged to the Wildcats as well as QB Sam Castroneva found wide receiver Marvin Rudd for a 22 yard touchdown. McCann’s PAT was no good and the ‘Cats extended their lead to 16-0 with 4:56 remaining in the third. On the ensuing Tigers possession, freshman A-Back Kyveon Jones ensured that his first collegiate touchdown was a memorable one as he scored from 72 yards out to put EWC on the board, 16-7 to end the third.

Bethel began the fourth quarter with McCann connecting on his second field goal of the game, a 22-yard effort to give BU a 19-7 lead. Then with 3:40 remaining in the fourth, the Tigers capped off an eight play, 84 yard drive with a nine yard touchdown pass from senior QB Tyler Mahla to sophomore wide receiver Jamal Hughes, to bring the Tigers to within six points of the ‘Cats at 19-13.

After forcing a three & out and after a BU punt, Edward Waters took the ball at the Bethel 44 yard line with an opportunity to take the lead with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Timely running by freshman backup QB Christian Hayes and great catches by Hughes got the Tigers close as the Bethel 25 yard line, but the potential game-winning effort was thwarted as Mahla threw his second interception of the game which sealed the victory for the home-standing Wildcats.

Edward Waters Achilles’ heel over the past few seasons has been the amount of penalty yards and those woes reared their ugly heads again vs. Bethel, as the Tigers had 11 penalties for 119 yards. Bethel also out gained the Tigers offensively, 375-315, and had three takeaways to EWC’s one.

Individually, Mahla led the Tigers going 15-26 passing for 174 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Hayes, in his first collegiate action, went 2-3 passing for 20 yards and an interception. Jones led EWC’s efforts on the ground with six carries for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Hughes led the Tigers air attack with 10 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore A-Back Basil Spencer chipped in with five catches for 72 yards.

Defensively, senior defensive Back Joey Williams  led the Tigers with 10 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Redshirt freshman Zuriel Davis had seven tackles in his first action for the Tigers, and senior rover Shaquille Stoudemire had five tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and had the Tigers lone takeaway, a fumble recovery in the first quarter.

Edward Waters will be on a bye week this coming week and will be back in action on the road on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Bluefield, West Virginia in another Mid-South Conference contest against the Rams of Bluefield College.

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