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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Panthers claim a needed 'W'

Monday, October 7, 2013

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

FERRUM -- With members of its four junior college national championship football teams in attendance, Ferrum College's current club revived its season Saturday with a 31-21 victory over USA South Athletic Conference rival Greensboro (N.C.) College on its Centennial Homecoming at W.B. Adams Stadium.

Ferrum's offense drove the ball and scored, while its defense, a maligned unit in its four previous setbacks this season, kept the Pride out of the end zone in the fourth quarter after it had pulled to within three points, 24-21, courtesy of a 14-point third stanza.

The Panthers (1-1 in the USA South, 1-4 overall) squared their conference record and stopped a five-game losing streak dating to last year with the victory -- their 15th in a 17-game series with Greensboro (0-2 in the USA South, 1-4 overall).

Tae Gilbert, a former Franklin County prep standout, carried 30 times for a game-best 160 yards, a 5.3 yards-per-carry average. His six-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter produced the final 10-point spread.

Gilbert's TD in the fourth period was the Panthers' first in the final stanza since their season-opening loss to Emory & Henry College.

Quarterback Tim Reynolds accounted for 258 yards of offense: 61 rushing on 12 carries and 197 passing on a 13 of 19 display. He ran for one TD and threw for two more.

Reynolds threw for a single-game school-record 292 yards in Ferrum's 56-35 USA South setback to Huntingdon. Through five games, he's thrown for 795 yards.

"(Getting that first win) means everything. A lot of pressure has been lifted off of everyone's shoulders now,' Reynolds said. "...It just comes down to executing and playing hard and together as a team. If we don't play hard and together as a team, we can't win.'

The Panthers secured the victory late in the fourth quarter when Anthony Orton intercepted a pass thrown by Pride quarterback Ryan Throndset on a first and 15 play from Ferrum's 48 yard line. It was the Pride's lone turnover of the game.

Throndset, who holds the USA South's record for single-game passing yards, did throw for 212 yards and a TD, but his passing clip was 17 of 31.

Prior to Saturday, Ferrum's defense had surrendered more than 40 points in each of its four setback and more than 50 points in each of its last two defeats.

"It's been really tough. At time's we'd look back and say, 'Man, what are we doing wrong?' "We felt like we didn't know what to do,' Orton said of the Panthers' defensive unit, one that notably young in the secondary.

"But coach (David) Harper stuck it in our heads that we've got to keep grinding, you can't give up, fight. He always tells us that he believes in us,' Orton said.

A simplified game-plan installed by defensive coordinator Cleive Adams proved to be helpful, Orton said.

"(Saturday) was more simple so we could just read our keys and play instead of thinking back and forth,' Orton said. "We were just playing a coverage, playing football.

"We were not hesitating on anything. We were just getting to the ball,' Orton said.

Ferrum's defense did not surrender points in the first and fourth quarters.

When Greensboro scored in the middle stanzas, the Panthers responded with points: first with a 25-yard field goal by Wesley Franklin just before halftime, then with an 18-yard TD hook-up between Reynolds and Kahlil Smith and finally with Gilbert's game-clincher.

"(The defense) knew that we were one play away every time -- one play that shifted the momentum. We needed a stop to change the game and today we finally got that stop,' senior lineman Linwood Pickett said.

"And (today) we got off the field on third down. That was an issue. We'd stop (the opponent) on first and second down, but we'd have issues on third down,' Pickett said.

The Pride was 5 of 12 in third-down conversions.

Ferrum's scoring drives covered 83, 99, 52, 75 and 78 yards. The first march lasted 17 plays and erased 8:17 from the clock in the first quarter.

For the game, Ferrum held an advantage in time of possession of almost 10 minutes (34:52 to 25:08. The Panthers ran 19 more plays from scrimmage (73 to 54).

"That was out plan,' Harper said. "If their (offense) is not on the field, they can't score.'

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