BREVARD, N.C. (C-N Release) – The path for Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks to get to career victory 305 was a rocky one.
A feisty Brevard (1-7, 0-5 SAC) team stopped Carson-Newman (6-2, 3-2 SAC) twice on drives inside the Tornados’ 25-yard line, turning those into seven points.
However, after heading to the locker room tied with the Tornados 7-7, Carson-Newman utilized a potent attack in the second half to pick up a 35-19 road victory.
The win ties Sparks with former Pacific Lutheran head coach Frosty Westering for ninth on the all-time wins list.
“I’d like to remind you, that I didn’t play a play today,” Sparks said. “The coaches coached their hearts out today trying to get this thing on the right side of the ledger. We had a bit of a let down today, but give Brevard credit, they played their hearts out.”
The Tornados got the scoring started in the first quarter after recovering a Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.) fumble at the Eagles 31. Andre Overholt took Brevard’s first play from scrimmage 69 yards for a score to give the Tornados a 7-0 lead with 12:16 left in the first quarter.
Carson-Newman would trail after one for the first time this season before the Eagles put their first crooked number on the board with a Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.) keeper around the left side of the line from 36 yards out.
“The second half they played better and with a lot more intensity,” Sparks said. “That was encouraging. Good football teams find a way to come out on the right side. So thank you Lord, and thank you for our kids that are still rolling and developing. I hope we don’t have to go back and rewrite this chapter.”
The Eagles scored on their first four possessions of the second half, to surge ahead by two scores.
Baker picked up his first score of the day after the Eagles defense forced Brevard into a three and out to start the second half. The junior crashed into the end zone off a counter left for his seventh score of the season.
Haywood would find pay dirt two more times, once by air and another by land.
Carson-Newman’s signal caller hooked up for a 48-yard score with Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.) for the wide out’s fifth score of the season, before stretching for the pylon on an 8-yard run around the right side.
Haywood’s two scores put him at 11 TDs for the season – second in the nation among quarterbacks.
Haywood led Carson-Newman with 132 yards rushing, but it was tailbacks Baker and Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Ga.) who impressed Sparks.
“Both of them were banged up, those were two gutty performances out of those two kids. We needed them and they came through.”
Baker ground out 78 yards on 18 carries while Hibbett went 13-83.
Jarrelle Emanuel (Kissimmee, Fla.) championed an Eagles defense with 13 tackles. Carson-Newman gave up 328 yards on the ground to Brevard – the nation’s 18th best rushing team.
Overholt and Jordan Ollis rushed for 125 and 132 yards respectively. However, the Eagles forced the Tornados into several negative plays as well. The Eagles nine tackles for a loss were a season high as a team. Javaris Neal (Columbia, Tenn.) had the game high with three.
After failing to pick off a pass in the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles have an interception in each of the last four games. Sean Rawson (Cape Coral, Fla.) corralled in his second pick of the season to stop a late second quarter Brevard drive.
The Eagles complete a three-game road trip next week at rival Tusculum. Kickoff is slated for 1:30. Pregame begins at 12:30 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network.