CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College football team nearly pulled out a win in its 2013 regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium, but a late rally fell short against the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs and the visitors held on to win on PC’s Senior Day, 20-13.
PC ends the season at 3-8 and 1-4 in the Big South while Gardner-Webb finishes at 7-5 overall and 2-3 in league action.
A sparkling defensive effort in the second half gave the Blue Hose offense two opportunities in the final four minutes to tie the game. Unfortunately for PC, both drives fell short on downs and Gardner-Webb held on for the narrow win.
The Blue Hose defense delivered one of its best games of the season, holding Gardner-Webb -1 yards in the fourth quarter and zero third down conversions in the second half on eight tries. Ugonna Akoh (Athens, Ga.) led PC with a forced fumble and eight tackles, a total that included five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks—all career highs. Keyadd Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) recovered the fumble and Fred Marshall (Ocilla, Ga.) added six total tackles as well.
Tamyn Garrick (Williston, S.C.) entered the game for starting quarterback Heys McMath (Savannah, Ga.) in the second half and delivered a solid afternoon. The redshirt sophomore threw for 114 yards and a touchdown on a 15-for-30 effort and nearly came through on the final two drives, scrambling for a 14-yard rush to get a crucial first down and racking up 28 yards on the ground.
PC outrushed the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 138 to 103, thanks in part to Demarcus Rouse’s (North Augusta, S.C.) 45 yards on eight carries. PC also matched the visitors in first downs (16) and held them to a combined 38 yards on two kickoff and two punt returns.
The two teams traded punts to start the game before Gardner-Webb broke through. On the first play of their third series, quarterback Lucas Beatty found a streaking Kenny Cook down the middle of the field and Cook sped into the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown. The play gave the Runnin’ Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead with 5:07 left in the first quarter.
The PC defense held strong in its own redzone a quarter later to halt a 12-play, 73-yard drive and force Gardner-Webb to settle for a 26-yard field goal. The kick moved the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ lead to 10-0 with 5:51 before halftime.
PC stopped another march in the red zone and Gardner-Webb kicked a short field goal to take a 13-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
The second half saw the Blue Hose come out swinging. PC received a short kickoff and handed the ball off to Rouse on its first play, who rumbled for 18 yards. McMath then found Tobi Antigha (Tampa, Fla.) for a 35 yard score to put PC on the board early, 13-7. McMath went 6-for-16 through the air for 49 yards.
Gardner-Webb took advantage of a muffed punt and Juanne Blount ran one in from one yard away to take a 20-7 lead with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
Another Gardner-Webb punt pinned the Blue Hose at the one-yard line and an interception on the first play gave the Runnin’ Bulldogs the ball at the PC 14. The defense responded, however, as Keyadd Miller recovered a fumble to regain possession. McMath left the game shortly after the interception due to a hard tackle into the goal post and Garrick took over at quarterback.
Garrick marched PC down the field on the next offensive series and set up a fourth down opportunity in the red zone. Garrick found Jeremiah McKie (Mauldin, S.C.) in the end zone but the ball came loose for a turnover on downs.
The Blue Hose converted on their next series, however, as Garrick capped a seven-play, 57-yard drive by firing a 19-yard bullet to Arthur Williams (Baxley, Ga.) in the end zone. A blocked extra point kept PC seven points away with 5:30 left in the game, 20-13.
The Blue Hose defense continued to smother Gardner-Webb, forcing four three-and-outs in the final quarter to set up PC’s chances that fell just short. The final drives ended on the Gardner-Webb 37 and the Gardner-Webb 30 as the home side looked for seven points.
The PC football program honored 13 student-athletes prior to kickoff in Arthur Williams (Baxley, Ga.), Trey Still (Barnwell, S.C.), Bryan Shepherd (Ellenwood, Ga.), Paul Sander (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Joshua Polk (Lithonia, Ga.), Seth Moreland (Conway, S.C.), Keyadd Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.), Joey Gilkey (Woodstock, Ga.), Murphy Frankhouser (Sylvania, Ga.), Tim Fowler (Aynor, S.C.), James Barnes (Columbia, S.C.) and James Festa (Greenwood, S.C.).
At the conclusion of the Senior Day ceremony, Festa proposed to girlfriend Keri Wright at 30-yard-line. The two are now engaged.