LAURINBURG — The St. Andrews University football team rushed their way to their first win in school history over Cincinnati Christian University on Saturday. The Knights offense totaled 450 yards in their 48-25 inaugural home game victory.
St. Andrews didn’t waste any time finding the end zone as freshman kick returned Kendric Ivey ran the opening kick to mid field. Working with a short field, St. Andrews quarterback Dashaun Ferguson led the Knights on a 10-play drive culminating in a seven-yard touchdown run by Trevor McNeil. The extra point but Carson Gibbs missed the uprights, but the touchdown gave St. Andrews a 6-0 lead.
McNeil scored the Knights second touchdown on an eight-play 80-yard drive. McNeil took the hand off from Ferguson 10 yards to the end zone. Gibbs’ extra point sailed through to give St. Andrews a 13-0 lead.
An enthusiastic crowd of 1,500 people turned out to see the Knights in their home opener, which Knights head coach David Harper credited with helping his team secure their first win.
“The atmosphere and energy that alumni, students, parents and community created helped us with the win,” said Harper. “The coaches and players appreciate their support. I am extremely happy for St. Andrews and the energy that football brings to the school and the community. I hope that the alumni and the community continue to support us.”
The hometown crowd was brought to their feet as the Knights took a 19-0 lead courtesy of a Chris Decker touchdown run from 11 yards out. The extra point by Gibbs was blocked by the Eagles Donyell Denson.
The Eagles responded to the third St. Andrews touchdown with a 14-yard 61-yard drive capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Garner Harris.
The Knights offense continued to fire on all cylinders as Ferguson took the ball in for the final touchdown of the first half. The six-yard run by Ferguson capped a three-play 30-yard drive. Gibbs extra point was no good, but the Knights still took a 25-7 lead into the locker room.
Cincinnati Christian took the second half kick off and marched down 58-yards before their drive stalled. After a seven-minute drive, the Eagles settled for a 22-yard field goal by Trae Miles to make it a 15-point game, 25-10.
St. Andrews extended their lead to 23 with a nine-yard touchdown run by back-up quarterback Kacey Otto on a keeper. Otto then found Wright in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion to take a 33-10 lead.
The Eagles tried to mount a fourth quarter comeback scoring 15 unanswered points to cut the Knights lead to eight, 33-25. St. Andrews defense stuffed the Cincinnati Christian offense at the goal line on fourth and one to turn the ball over on downs.
The Knights offense capitalized on the stop and drove down the field — not once, but twice — to score two more running touchdowns. The first a 67-yard gallop by McNeil and the second a 64-yard run by Wright to cap the Knights 48-25 win.
“I am also happy for the players and coaches for all of their hard work. As a coach, I am learning to understand what it takes to be successful,” said Harper.
St. Andrews out rushed the Eagles 338 yards to 141 led by McNeil with 14 carries for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Wright finished the game with two carries for 62 yards and one touchdown. Ferguson and Otto combined for five passes for 112 yards.
The Knights defense was led by linebacker Christian Scott and safety Paige Lewis who each had 10 tackles. Defensive end Darius West had eight tackles, two for a loss, and a sack while cornerback Marquail Al-Montaser had six tackles and defensive end Bernard Brown had five.
St. Andrews (1-2) has a bye this week but will remain at home on Sept. 23 to non-division foe Faulkner University (Ala.) at 1:30 p.m. at Knights Stadium.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.