NEWBERRY – A monster day by Jamarcus Henderson and a career-high two touchdown catches from Keinan Lewis keyed Newberry to a 27-14 win over visiting Virginia University of Lynchburg in a game moved up two days for safety concerns stemming from Hurricane Florence.
Lewis opened and closed the scoring for Newberry (1-2), tiptoeing the back of the end zone a 25-yard first-quarter pass from Nick Jones on a fade route after an apparent offsides penalty against the Dragons (1-2) gave the Newberry offense a "free play." The score capped a 9-play, 85-yard drive that marked Newberry's second scoring drive of 85-plus yards in as many games.
With time winding down in the fourth, Lewis again found the end zone to turn a one-possession game into a much more comfortable margin. Newberry appeared content to chew up clock with handoffs to Austin Barnes, with the bruising running back breaking off a 23-yard gain and then forcing the Dragons to use timeouts on two consecutive runs up the middle.
Newberry finished with eight sacks and 14 total tackles for loss on Thursday afternoon in addition to breaking up six passes and being credited with 11 quarterback hurries.
The Dragons entered the game sporting a 1-1 record. Despite coming off a 79-16 thumping at the hands of Division I Bethune-Cookman last week, VUL was riding high after an excellent start to the season. The Dragons broke a 44-game losing streak with a 30-28 win over junior college powerhouse Louisburg, forcing five turnovers to hand the Hurricanes their first loss since 2015.
VUL moved the ball well in spurts and finished with 213 yards of total offense. The Dragons took advantage of a short field to even the score at seven points apiece nearly four minutes before halftime. Attempting to rally from a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit, the Dragons put together their most impressive drive of the day, covering 76 yards in seven plays and cutting the deficit to six points on a 3-yard scoring jaunt by To'mas Newman.
The drive was helped by a 46-yard completion, representing the second-longest play from scrimmage against the Wolves this season.
But the Newberry defense still reigned supreme, forcing punts on each of the Dragons' six possessions and 10 overall, forcing two turnovers on downs, and the first interception of Javhanee Neal's career on a ball that caromed off the receiver's hands in the third quarter.