Rocky Mount, N.C. - N.C. Wesleyan's football team celebrated Senior Day with a 49-23 victory over LaGrange College on Saturday afternoon at home. The Bishops out-scored the Panthers 28-0 in the second half to pull away for the win.
The game looked to be a shootout at the start with both teams notching touchdowns on their respective opening drives. Sophomore Adrian Minondo did the honors for the Bishops, rumbling in from 7-yards out to cap a 65-yard drive, while LaGrange's Connor Blair countered with a 75-yard drive that saw the QB hit Marsalis Jackson with a 30-yard scoring strike.
Tied 7-7 entering the second quarter, the Panthers reeled off 10 unanswered points on a 32-yard field goal and 18-yard fumble recovery. Freshman Deandre Gillis kept NCWC in it with 16- and 10-yard rushing TDs that sandwiched a 28-yard touchdown pass from Blair to Kiontai Button. LaGrange would take its slim 23-21 lead into the half.
The third and fourth quarters proved to be all Wesleyan as the Panther defense could find no answer to the Bishop running game. Senior Malik Adams added two more TD receptions to his Wesleyan and USA South career records, hauling in 33- and 78-yard passes from Gardner. The scores came on each side of another Minondo scoring rush, while Tyreik Dix's pick-6 from 28 yards out provided the 49-23 final score.
Gardner finished 10-of-17 for 255 yards and the two TDs, while Minondo and Gillis rushed for 178 and 123 yards, respectively. As a team, the Bishops racked up 574 yards of total offense, while defensively, senior Michael Clemmons made a team-high seven tackles to help the Bishops limit the Panthers to just 67 rushing yards on the day. Additionally, senior Bobby Tucker tallied a second interception for Wesleyan, with Dix adding a blocked kick to his game resume.
For LaGrange, Blair completed 24 passes to a dozen different receivers. Edward Wright anchored the defensive effort with a game-high 11 tackles.
The contest marked the final home game for 13 Bishop seniors. In addition to those listed above, kicker Christopher Richardson went a perfect 7-for-7 in PATs, while Bryan McCullough, Johnnie Benton, and Devonte Mizell helped NCWC's tailbacks amass over 300 rushing yards on the day. Rakeem Cooper added a trio of tackles, with Shebrae Riddick, Curtis Biscoe, Jarius Thompson, and Jevon Jones contributing on both sides of the ball. Wesleyan's final senior, Gerrel Patton, was inactive but was also honored priored to kickoff.
Wesleyan (4-4, 3-2 USA South) wraps up its 2016 season next Saturday at Ferrum College. Kickoff is slated for 1:00pm.