N.C. Wesleyan hands Huntingdon first loss of season

N.C. Wesleyan hands Huntingdon first loss of season

ROCKY MOUNT, NC - The 15th-ranked Huntingdon football team fell behind in the first half and lost to North Carolina Wesleyan 41-31 on Saturday.

The Hawks scored first but fell behind 28-14 at halftime and 35-14 early in the third quarter. Huntingdon rallied in the second half and pulled within seven points, 38-31, in the fourth quarter. But the Battling Bishops controlled the clock in the fourth quarter, added a field goal in the final minute and held off the Hawks' final efforts.

"We made some mistakes and we didn't play our best, but we got beat by a pretty good football team today," Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk said. "We have to go back to work, simplify some things and coach a whole lot better. That starts with me doing a better job."

The loss snapped a nine-game USA South Athletic Conference winning streak for Huntingdon (3-1, 0-1 USA South). The win was the first for the Battling Bishops (2-2, 1-0 USA South) in six meetings with the Hawks.

Quarterback Luke Bailey accounted for three touchdowns in the game. Bailey was 21-of-36 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He finished with 90 yards rushing and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Bailey connected with receiver Nick Haas for a 47-yard touchdown strike, a little more than two minutes into the game. Bailey then found Jamichael Bibb for a 17-yard touchdown play and a 14-7 lead with 2:39 left in the first quarter.

But the Battling Bishops scored three touchdowns to close out the first half and took a three-touchdown lead in the first four minutes of the third quarter.

Trailing 35-14, Huntingdon answered with a 5-yard touchdown run by John Iwaniec and a 9-yard touchdown run by Bailey to pull within seven points, 35-28. A field goal gave the Battling Bishops a 38-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Chase Young kicked a 19-yard field goal for the Hawks to make it 38-31 with 11:28 to play. After exchanging punts on the next two possessions, the Battling Bishops put together a 14-play drive that covered 68 yards and nearly six minutes. The drive ended with a field goal and a 10-point lead with 38 seconds to play in the game.

The Hawks finished with 532 yards of offense. Iwaniec led the ground game with 91 yards on 19 carries. Haas led the receivers with nine catches for 131 yards.

Defensively, Austin Washington and Cedrick Lowe each had seven tackles and DeAnte' Griffith and Trey Hayes each had six tackles.

The Hawks return to action at home on Oct. 8 against Ferrum. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.