JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) – Carson-Newman (4-2, 2-2 SAC) rolled up 501 yards of total offense while the Eagles defense limited North Greenville (1-6) to 267 yards in 52-10 C-N victory on homecoming and Ken Sparks Day in Jefferson City and Jefferson County.
The Eagles started the game in dominant fashion, holding the Crusaders to three and outs on their first three possessions. In turn, Carson-Newman found its way into the end zone three times in the opening frame.
Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.) got the scoring started by blasting his way over the right side of the line from four yards out for his fifth touchdown of the season on the Eagles opening possession. It marked the fifth time this year that C-N scored on its first drive.
A three-yard Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) touchdown run and a one-yard Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.) sneak rounded out the scoring in the first quarter as C-N raced out to a 21-0 lead.
“I think our guys were ready to play and wanted to build on the improvement we showed last week,” Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks said. “They had their motors running pretty good when we started. The offense and defense complemented one another very well.”
Sparks moves his career win tally to 303 – two away from tying Frosty Westering of Pacific Lutheran for ninth all time at any level.
The Eagles defense racked up 7.5 tackles for loss, led by Jaycob Coleman’s (Norton, Va.) two stops behind the line.
“I think coaches are a little more comfortable mixing in some calls that we haven’t been comfortable,” Sparks said. But it’s been interesting to see how basic we’ve been in the past two weeks, yet they’ve turned themselves loose.”
Carson-Newman picked up another pivotal score before the first half let out when Haywood navigated the Eagles 79 yards in 1:16 to make the score 28-0 heading into the locker room. Haywood accounted for 58 yards through the air on the drive – capped off by Hibbett dashing around the left side of the line untouched for his second score of the day.
Carson-Newman came out hot the second half, scoring on its first two possessions thanks to short fields. Haywood jetted 54 yards for a score on an option play before backup quarterback De’Andre Thomas (Milledgeville, Ga.) rolled his way for six from nine yards out. The Eagles led 42-0 before the Crusaders cracked the scoreboard in the third quarter thanks to a career long 47-yard field goal from Justin Gravely.
The Eagles had eight players carry the ball for 20 yards or more, led by Baker’s 99. Seven of those players had a rush longer than 12 yards.
Anthony Eubanks (Pendleton, S.C.) led the Eagles through the air with two catches for 44 yards.
“We all have to be encouraged to grow and be what we are supposed to be,” Sparks said. “It’s been an interesting week (with homecoming and Ken Sparks Day), I know a lot of folks have poured their lives into this program – both on campus and off – and I think the Lord has blessed it because there have been some hearts that want to honor him.”
The Eagles turn their attention to a UNC Pembroke squad that comes off a loss to the University of Charleston (W.Va.) 42-30. The match-up will be for crucial positioning in the Super Region II Rankings.
Kickoff for the Oct. 20, contest is slated for 2 p.m. The festivities get underway on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network at 1 p.m. on the Farm Bureau Tailgate Show. The contest will be available online at cneagles.com and over the air on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville) and 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).