By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
LYNCHBURG, Va. —
For the first time in a year, three Concord football players had double-digit tackles in one game on Saturday.
Linebacker Jake Lilly made a career-high 18 tackles. Howard Jordan recorded 12 stops and Davon Marion bagged 11 tackles.
They had many opportunities, of course, since their hosts from Liberty University, an FCS school, ran 78 offensive plays in a 21-13 win against the NCAA Division II Mountain Lions.
It was the third-lowest scoring output of the season for the Liberty Flames.
Senior defensive lineman Josh Miller, senior defensive back Kevin Elliott and sophomore defensive lineman Keith Ferguson all added sacks of redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Woodrum.
“It was a great defensive effort,” said Concord head coach Garin Justice.
“There were different times throughout when we could have hung our head, but we continued to fight, and we continued to play hard, and that’s all you can ask for as a football coach. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Liberty alternated running backs almost every series. Both Sirchauncey Holloway, who got 28 rushes for 142 yards, and Aldreakis Allen, who ran 17 times, weighed more than 200 pounds. Stopping them was a big assignment, but Justice said his team was up to it.
“Of course, it wore us down some, but we never thought that we were ever going to lose the football game,” Justice said. “We thought we were in it to the end — and we were!”
“The guys were wore down, and they were tired, but I’m sure their guys are going to be wore down and tired, too.”
Nate Pollard gave Concord an early lead when he grabbed the ball after Ervin Moore blocked a field goal try and ran 58 yards for a touchdown.
Riyadh Richardson picked off the seventh interception of his college career and returned it 49 yards down the sideline before being forced out on the Liberty one. Ben Nester scored on the next play and Concord held a 13-7 lead after the extra point.
Coaches don’t believe in “moral victories,” but there was no doubt that Justice wanted to praise a squad that took on a Division I team and stayed with them on their own turf.
• • •
The trappings of Saturday’s game were unlike any Concord has experienced in recent seasons.
In one pyrotechnic moment, as the clock ticked down to game time, two large burning flames erputed from the top of the scoreboard, red and white fireworks exploded in the air, and smoke machines provided an impressive backdrop to Liberty’s entrance to the field.
The soundtrack to this display included the finale of a familiar classical piece by Richard Strauss, known in recent years as the main theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
In its first six games combined, Concord played before a total attendance estimated at slightly above 11,500. No attendance figures were released for its Sept. 8 home game.
On Saturday, that number increased by 18,643 attendees at the well-designed stadium on the Liberty campus.
— Contact Tom Bone at email@example.com