By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
At halftime of their homecoming game on Saturday, the Concord University Mountain Lions were down 6-0 to Glenville State College.
The solution was to switch gears. And it worked.
When it was over, the home squad had run the ball 50 times for an average gain of 4.4 yards per attempt and sent the alumni home happy with a 14-9 victory.
Concord head coach Garin Justice said, “Offensively, the first half, we kind of struggled.”
“We went into halftime and said ... we’re going to run the ball. If we’re going to win this football game, it’s on you guys.”
Calvinaugh Jones had 30 carries for 186 yards for CU, while Jacorey Robins had six for 31 and Ben Nester had seven touches for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
One of the top rushers in NCAA Division II, Rahmann Lee, took the field for Glenville State and netted 105 yards on 19 rushes. But Concord kept the Pioneers’ offense off the field for long stretches.
Justice said, “Glenville State, going into it, was a great offense. And the best way to stop a great offense is to keep them off the field, and that’s what we did today.”
“Offensively, we did a great job of holding the ball and keeping the defense off the field, keeping them fresh.”
Asked about running against the Pioneers in the second half, Jones said, “It wasn’t that they were any tougher than before. It was that we had more motivation, more drive ... and we came out there with the intention to win.”
Senior defensive lineman Josh Miller said, “At halftime, we just agreed not to fold over.”
“We were never really behind, in our minds. We just went out there and played like it was 0-0, every time,” Miller said. “We had faith in our offense, that they could move the ball, and move the ball very well — especially in the second half.”
Glenville State head coach David Hutchison said, “It seemed like we came out of the locker room a little flat. But overall our defense played really well ... flying to the football, forcing turnovers.”
Concord quarterback Albert Rose had trouble settling into a passing rhythm during the opening two quarters.
The freshman was 9 for 18 throwing the ball and his longest completion was 14 yards. He threw one interception and was sacked twice.
Glenville State broke a scoreless tie with a pair of second-quarter field goals.
Colston Bayless connected on a 34-yarder after a 12-play drive bogged down. Eddie McKay boomed one in from 47 yards out that carried 15 or more yards after it passed the goal post.
Glenville State drove inside the Concord 10 late in the first half, but CU’s Riyadh Richardson intercepted a pass from Darold Hughes to end the threat.
Concord mounted two long marches to begin the third and fourth quarters, both ending with short touchdown runs by Nester and point-after kicks by Andy Ellington.
Nester said, “It’s not really me, it’s just the front guys on that line. They get a good push, and make those holes. And the fullbacks, they’re blocking. I just really make a cut off their read, and hit it up in there.”
Even in the second half, Jones said, “We were just finding our grooves, still.”
Jones, who had his second 100-yard-plus day as a collegian, said his output stemmed “just from practice, listening to what the coaches had showed us, and working through that, and making the right reads to find the right holes. The offensive line made sure they were there, and also the wide receivers.”
McKay tried another 47-yard field goal in the third period, but it hit the right goal post and bounced back.
He connected on a 45-yard field goal to end the scoring with 6:05 left in the game, narrowing Concord’s lead to five points. McKay also averaged 57.5 yards on his four kickoffs.
“He’s got an awesome leg,” Hutchison said.
He added, “We’ve got to finish when we’re in the red zone.”
His starting quarterback, Hughes, was not on the field late in the game, after he was hit in the head. Hughes was replaced by Justin Feagin, who once was on the Michigan Wolverines roster.
Concord (3-3) evened its conference record at 2-2 while Glenville State (2-4, 2-1) suffered its first conference loss. The Mountain Lions had an advantage of almost six minutes in time of possession.
Their seniors completed a four-for-four winning streak on homecoming day in Athens.
Miller, one of those seniors, said, “Every game’s special when it comes to your senior year. But homecoming’s always special. ... It’s always good to win with your family.”
Nester said, “We try not to look at it as all the hype about homecoming. It was just another game, really, for us to play. But we wanted to make it sweet, and come away with the win and actually make it a better homecoming.”
Concord hits the road for the next two weeks, playing Seton Hill in Greensburg, Pa., and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. The Mountain Lions’ next home game is Oct. 27 against Fairmont State.
— Contact Tom Bone at