NEWBERRY – The Wolves shook off the disappointment of last week’s loss to Florida Tech with a resounding 42-22 victory over visiting Virginia Union on Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field, wearing down the Panthers’ defense with a series of methodical drives and a punishing defensive performance.
Four of Newberry’s (1-1) six touchdown drives took 11 plays or more, including an 11-play, 98-yard drive that gave the Wolves a two-touchdown advantage early in the second quarter.
The Wolves’ offense won the time of possession battle by nearly 19 minutes and ran 35 more plays than the Panthers (0-2), whose defense was no match for Newberry’s methodical attack in the second half.
Newberry’s defense raised its level of play in the second half after allowing two Virginia Union touchdowns in the first 30 minutes. Excluding a roughing the passer penalty that extended a Panthers’ fourth-quarter drive, Newberry allowed Virginia Union an astonishing six yards on their first 17 offensive plays of the fourth quarter, forcing three three-and-outs and snatching one of the unit’s three interceptions on the afternoon.
The balanced defensive effort saw three players record tackles for loss, no defender accumulate more than five tackles, and interceptions by Rashaad Smith, Joe Blue, and LaQuan White.
Quarterback Raleigh Yeldell captained the offense to 450 total yards a week after tallying 550 in the season opener. The senior signal-caller went 27-for-32 for 289 yards, finding Cole Watson and Baptiste Staggers in the end zone.
He passed Brian Shealy (2001-03) and current Newberry assistant coach Hunter Spivey (1993-96) on the all-time completions list in school history and now has 285 for his career.
In all, Yeldell is 64-of-87 (73.6 percent) for 736 yards and six touchdowns through the first two weeks of the young season. He is also the team’s leading rusher with 79 yards on 23 attempts.
Yeldell led the Wolves to touchdowns on six of their first seven possessions, excluding a 43-second drive that ended the first half. Romelo Doctor and Trey Gregg punctuated the first two scoring drives with one-yard rushes into the end zone, while Watson’s 11-yard catch gave the Wolves their third touchdown of the afternoon 75 seconds before the second quarter drew to a close.
Gregg’s second one-yard scoring play and a Rondreas Truesdale run from the same distance followed Staggers’ catch to round out the Wolves’ second-half scoring.
Newberry’s offense averaged 5.4 yards per play and held the ball for just shy of 40 minutes on the afternoon. Newberry was 5-of-5 with five touchdowns in the red zone and converted an astonishing 12 of their 16 third-down opportunities.
Virginia Union was led by Shawheem Dowdy, who was 12-for-20 with 208 yards and two touchdowns. Over half of his yardage went to Lavatiae Kelly, who finished with five catches for 116 yards and a score. William Stanback paced the Panthers with 94 yards and a touchdown on nine carries on the ground.
The Wolves will look to put together their second straight victory Saturday under the lights in Tigerville with a non-conference match-up at North Greenville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
This release was provided by Newberry College.