MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lions lost in overtime 56-49 to Limestone in South Atlantic Conference football action Saturday afternoon at the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium. Mars Hill fell to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the league. The Saints improve to 3-2 on the season, 2-0 in the SAC.
David Salmon threw for 406 yards completing 24-41 passes and four touchdowns. Keshaun Taylor caught eight passes for 190 yards and two scores. Craig Rucker pulled down five receptions for 86 yards. Malik Prescott rushed 23 times for 69 yards and one touchdown. Anthony Phillips recorded 10 tackles (6 solo) and a pass break-up. Tray Smith tallied nine tackles (6 solo) and a tackle-for-loss. Earl Adams added six tackles, two-for-loss and a pair of quarterback hurries. The Lions accumulated 492 yards of total offense in the contest. Unfortunately, the Lions turned the ball over twice which directly led to 10 points for the Saints. Tanner Fox was a perfect 7-for-7 in PAT kick attempts for the Lions on the afternoon.
Ivan Corbin, Jr., threw for 275 yards, connecting on 13-29 passes and four scores. He also rushed for 48 yards including a one-yard touchdown rush. D'Anta Fleming was on the receiving end of eight of those passes for 218 yards and all four of Corbin's passing scores for the Saints. Jerko'ya Patton carried the ball 28 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Evan Patrick led the Saints' defense with nine tackles (5 solo), a fumble recovery, a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry. PJ Brown followed with seven solo tackles and an interception.
An interception at the Lions' 36-yardline led to a 53-yard Limestone field goal by Nick Smith to give the Saints a 3-0 lead with 11:16 left in the first quarter. A MHU fumble on their own 31-yardline led to a five-yard touchdown rush by Patton with 7:23 left in the opening period to extend the Saints advantage to 10-0. Jamel Hall then hauled in a five-yard pass with 3:36 on the clock in the first quarter to trim the Saints lead to 10-7.
Smith hit a 30-yard field goal with 14:55 on the clock to put Limestone up 13-7. Salmon then hit Taylor for a 56-yard touchdown strike with 13:11 left in the second quarter to put the Lions on top, 14-13. Prescott dove in from three yards out to give the Lions a 21-13 lead with 11:32 left in the second period. A one-yard dive by Corbin with 5:38 left in the second quarter tied the game at 21-all after a successful two-point conversion by the Saints. Corbin then hit Fleming on a 41-yard scoring play with 1:12 left in the first half to send the team into the locker room with the Saints holding a 28-21 advantage.
The only score in the third stanza was an 11-yard rush by Mars Hill's Elijah Jett with 6:21 on the clock to knot the game at 28-all. Corbin connected with Fleming on an 84-yard scoring pass with 14:39 left in the fourth quarter to put the Saints back on top 35-28. Salmon and Taylor tied the game again (35-35) with 11:04 left in the game on a 24-yard pass play. A one-yard dive by Hall with 7:59 left in the fourth period gave the Lions a 42-35 lead. Corbin and Fleming sent the game into overtime (42-42) on a three-yard scoring pass with 3:26 left in regulation.
Limestone won the toss in overtime and chose to play defense in the first series. Casey Gladney pulled down a 12-yard pass from Salmon to give MHU a 49-42 lead. Limestone scored on their first possession in the extra period when Fleming caught a 25-yard pass from Corbin. Patton then put the Saints ahead for good on a two-yard rush (56-49). After a penalty and a successful 13-yard pass to Rucker, Mars Hill had the ball on the Saints three-yardline. A stingy Saint defense kept the Lions out of the endzone to escape Mars Hill with a 56-49 victory.
The Lions will play at SAC rival Tusculum on Saturday, October 7. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.