By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The most important number for Concord football coach Garin Justice on Saturday afternoon was 2 — as in, two wins in two games.
Other interesting numbers from the Mountain Lions’ 36-3 win over West Virginia State included Concord’s 391 yards of offense, Jake Lilly’s 13 tackles and Tiko Henderson’s 143 receiving yards.
On the other hand, the game included eight turnovers and 29 accepted penalties amounting to 185 yards. One extra-point try had to be attempted four times due to penalties.
Justice termed his team’s first home contest “just a sloppy game, a typical early game of the year, but a game that you never feel happy about how you played.”
“But, at the end of the day, we won the game 36-3, we did what we were supposed to do. ... Did we do it as clean and as fashionable as we wanted to do? No. But I don’t think as a coach you’re ever completely happy after a football game.”
“I know I’ve never been 2-0 as a head coach, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
The new coach of the Yellow Jackets (0-2), Jon Anderson, said, “When we maintain our focus, with all of our units, we can play some pretty solid quarters, we can play some pretty solid halves.
“But the minute that we lose our focus, there goes everything we’ve worked so hard to do. At times the wheels fall off. And until we get that fixed, we’re going to be put in bad situations.”
Lilly, safety Davon Marion and cornerback Riyahd Richardson each picked off passes by Yellow Jackets quarterback Tyler Seals. Richardson returned his 30 yards for a touchdown giving Concord its only points of the third quarter.
Richardson said he scored for the “first time in four years. It felt kinda good.”
Late in the first quarter, with Concord ahead 3-0, West Virginia State lined up to try to tie the game, only to have a 24-yard attempt blocked by Concord’s Austin Dotson.
On the next play, CU quarterback Brian Novak fired a pass to Henderson, who had gotten behind the safety. Henderson dashed 86 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
Trickery gave Concord the final score of the first half. Novak tossed a backward pass to tight end Dalton Brindo, who threw downfield to a wide-open D.J. Holmes. Holmes ran untouched to complete a 36-yard play.
Two almost identical Concord drives in the fourth period ended with touchdown runs from inside the 1 yard line from Sam Wright and Ben Nester.
Novak completed 21 of 30 passes for 281 yards, but was intercepted four times. State quarterback Seals was 17 for 28 for 138 yards with three picks.
Justice said about Novak, “When you start a freshman quarterback, you’re going to go through some ups and downs. At Lenoir-Rhyne, we had a lot of ups, and today, he had a couple of more downs.”
“At the end of the day, he threw the ball well. He probably had about six, seven balls we wish we could take back. And Brian knows that. You almost hate to say it, but those plays almost have to happen for him to learn and to grow from.”
“Hopefully, the mistakes he made today, he doesn’t make in the future.”
Two apparent touchdown passes by Novak, both to fullback Shaun Workinger, were negated by penalty.
Concord’s top rusher, Calvinaugh Jones, had 28 yards on 10 carries. State didn’t fare much better — the Yellow Jackets averaged 1.9 yards per carry. LeFloyd Phillips led the way with 35 hard yards on 22 attempts.
State was 4 for 18 on third-down conversion tries.
Justice said, “Ever since I’ve been a head coach here, our defense has carried us.”
“I thought Will Greathouse and the defensive line did a great job pursuing the ball all day, keeping pressure on the quarterback and never letting him get comfortable.”
Greathouse had 10 tackles, four for loss of yardage.
Anderson, said, “I think they were more physical than we were, and anytime you have a physical defense, you have to try to go around them, or try to go over them.”
“We tried to match them on both sides of the football — and did at times, but we’re still working through our process (with) this football team.”
Both teams will have to work on eliminating penalties. Concord was flagged 15 times for 103 yards and their visitors drew 14 flags that cost 82 yards.
Justice said, “There were a lot of penalties on both sides, and I’ve got to address (that) and work on it, and so does Coach Anderson. ... We’ve got to clean it up and do a better job.”
Lilly said, “Flags, it seemed like it was on the ground every single play.”
Concord must now gear up to play next Saturday at Bowie State University in Maryland, an NCAA Division II school that has scored 83 points in two games, going 1-1 on the season.
Greathouse said, “We’ve got to improve in every aspect of the game. West Virginia State wasn’t the best team we’re going to see this year.”
Richardson said the team’s task now is “just staying focused, concentrating on Bowie State. Yeah, we’re 2-0, but we haven’t really done nothing yet. We aren’t finished. We’ve still got a long way to go.”
— Contact Tom Bone at