Cavs Send Pioneers Back to Wilderness With Opening Night Win


GLENVILLE, W.Va. - Behind 318 passing yards and three touchdowns from Mayo, Fla. product Brycen Lee , UVa-Wise overcame early deficits of 9-0 and 16-3 to defeat Glenville State College 41-29 at Morris Stadium in the season opener for both schools Thursday.

Glenville State (0-1, 0-1 MEC) took an early 9-0 lead after taking advantage of a pair of miscues. The Pioneers forced a fumble on the opening play from scrimmage and two plays later scored when Ja'Quay Garmon hooked up with D.J. Williams on a 29-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was blocked giving the hosts a 6-0 lead 44 seconds into the game.

A possession later, a botched snap on a punt attempt set Glenville State up with the ball first and goal. After the drive stalled, Kelvin Flores booted a 29-yard field goal to give his squad a 9-0 lead. UVa-Wise (1-0, 1-0 MEC) began to find offensive rhythm in the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Jarome Johnson (Washington, D.C./Eastern H.S.) was inserted into the game and immediately paid dividends as he raced for 32 yards to the Glenville State 15-yard line.

The big play would set sophomore Daryian Basco (Suwanne, Ga./St. Francis H.S.) up for a 32-yard field goal attempt. Holder Zach Large (Roanoke, Va./Northside H.S.) would handle a poor snap and Basco would boot it through to cut the Glenville State lead to 9-3 with 11:49 to play in the opening half. The momentum was short lived for Dane Damron's team as Garmon found Javon Butler for an 80-yard touchdown connection. Flores was good on the conversion kick to give the Pioneers a 16-3 lead with 11:29 to play in the opening half.

From that point, the Cavalier offense took off as junior Kaian Duverger (Greenacres, Fla./Lackawana J.C.) began to assert his presence on the game. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver hauled in consecutive passes, including a 23-yard touchdown pass. Basco made the PAT to make the score 16-10 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter.

A possession later, UVa-Wise moved the ball 54 yards on six plays to take a lead it would not relinquish. Senior Carlton Griffith (Ft. Belvoir, Va./Mt. Vernon H.S.) darted in from three yards out. The extra point made the score 17-16 with just under five minutes showing on the first half clock.

The second quarter scoring onslaught continued as Duverger hauled in his second touchdown of the quarter as he soared over a pair of Pioneer defenders to catch a Lee pass in the back of the end zone. Following the PAT, the visitors took a 24-16 lead to intermission.

After the two teams traded punts to begin the third quarter, senior Ed Kargbo (Springfield, Va./South Co. H.S.) picked off a Garmon pass to give the ball back to the UVa-Wise offense. Sophomore Jake Barnett (Big Stone Gap, Va./Union H.S.) would be the story of the drive as the 6-foot-3, 249 pound tight end caught a pair of passes, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive. The touchdown was the first of Barnett's collegiate career and following the PAT his team led 31-16 with 5:02 to play in the third period.

The Pioneers would get back in the game with their best drive of the game. Glenville State put together a 10-play drive that covered 77 yards for a touchdown. Garmon found Butler for their second scoring hook up of the game, this time from 34 yards out to make the score 31-23 after Flores' successful extra point. Basco's second field goal of the night, a 31-yarder came with under a minute to play in the third quarter to send his team to the fourth quarter with a 34-23 advantage.

Neither side would dent the fourth quarter scoreboard until Griffith scored his second rushing touchdown of the night, a 3-yard scamper with 4:54 to play to run the lead to three scores at 41-23 after the PAT. Butler would haul in his third touchdown reception of the game, a 14-yarder with just over three minutes to play but it would not be enough as the Cavs would be able to run out the clock to secure a season opening win for the second consecutive season.

Marquis Hamilton (Washington, D.C./Marshall University) joined Kargbo as UVa-Wise players with interceptions in the win. Kargbo joined teammate Dylan Giovine (Staunton, Va./R.E. Lee Staunton H.S.) for team-high tackle honors with nine.

Duverger finished the game with eight receptions for 104 yards to go with his two touchdowns. Barnett added three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown while senior Javonte Latney (Fredericksburg, Va./Masaponax H.S.) hauled in three receptions for 48 yards.

Johnson finished as UVa-Wise's leading rusher as he galloped for 90 yards on four carries. Lee added 56 rushing yards as part of a team effort that posted 167 yards on the ground.

Garmon completed just 16 of 50 pass attempts with two interceptions. Butler made the most of his three receptions as he finished with 128 receiving yards and three touchdowns on three receptions. Glenville State was limited to 3.1 yards a carry on 36 rushing attempts. The Cavs' defense tallied three sacks and seven tackles for loss in the win.

UVa-Wise will play their home opener next Thursday when West Virginia State visits Smith Stadium in a 7 p.m. kickoff.