MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lions lost to no. 20 Wingate 42-21 in South Atlantic Conference football action Saturday afternoon at the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium in Mars Hill's annual Homecoming contest. MHU fell to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the league while the Bulldogs improved to 7-0 on the season, 4-0 in the SAC.
Keshaun Taylor led the Lions with 10 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns. David Salmon threw for 320 yards completing 20-29 passes. Unfortunately, he was picked off twice. Craig Rucker pulled down five passes for 85 yards. Andrew Wilkins led the Lions' defense with 21 tackles (16 solo). Joshua Fernema followed with 15 tackles while Tray Smith added 14 stops. The two teams combined for 999 yards of total offense. Mars Hill accumulated 491 yards of total offense, 390 in the air.
Lawrence Pittman rushed 28 times for 158 yards and two scores to pace the Bulldogs offensively. Dylan Williams completed 16-19 passes for 216 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. Jake Jensen and JT Stokes caught four passes apiece. Robbie Wallace led Wingate with 11 tackles (9 solo) and two pass break-ups. Zach Singleton and Kam Johnson followed with seven tackles each. Johnson added two tackles-for-loss, a pass break-up and an interception. Wingate dominated the time of possession in the contest. They controlled possession of the ball for 39:46 compared to only 20:14 for the Lions.
Lawrence Pittman rushed 34 yards for a Wingate touchdown to open up the scoring in the first quarter with 10:37 on the clock. Mars Hill responded on the next possession, giving the ball to Elijah Jett for a 10-yard rushing touchdown. This play tied the game at 7-7 with 8:01 left in the first period. BJ Muckelvene added six to Wingate's scoring total with a 15-yard reverse run with 3:40 left in the opening quarter.
Pittman stretched the football across the goal line from two yards out to open the second quarter scoring and give the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead with 12:30 on the clock. Kam Johnson intercepted a David Salmon slant pass at the Bulldog nine-yard line. The Bulldogs capped off a 91-yard drive when Jay Hood caught a 35-yard pass from Dylan Williams at the 4:18 mark to put Wingate on top 28-7. Williams then found Muckelvene for a 48-yard scoring pass with 42 seconds left in the half to give the Bulldogs a 35-7 lead at halftime.
Salmon launches the ball down the field and hits Taylor in stride for 81 yards and a MHU score with 13:43 left in the third quarter to trim the Lions' deficit to 35-14. After Wingate missed a 32-yard field goal, Clemson Allen ran in from 18 yards out on the Bulldogs next possession to end the scoring for the Bulldogs (42-14) with 5:36 left in the final period. Four minutes later (1:40), Salmon connects with Taylor again for a 62-yard touchdown strike to conclude the scoring in the game (42-21).
Mars Hill will have an open week before hosting UNC Pembroke on Saturday, November 4. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.