HICKORY, N.C. - The Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team (5-2, 3-1) rallied from an 18-point deficit to stun Mars Hill (5-3, 4-1), 34-21, in a South Atlantic Conference showdown Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium.
Trailing 21-3 in the third quarter, L-R scored the game's last 31 points keyed by touchdowns runs of 31 and 47 yards, respectively, by halfback Jarrod Spears as the Bears won their fourth straight game.
Spears finished with a game-high 125 yards on the ground while Graham Duncan added 100 yards rushing for the Bears.
Joe Anderson led all tacklers with 14 takedowns and returned an interception 26 yards for a score which proved to be the game-winner late in the third stanza for Lenoir-Rhyne.
Quarterback Jon Richt hit Dimitri Holmes for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter to give the Lions a 21-3 lead before L-R began its run.
Richt completed 38 passes for 487 yards, both school records, and now has the new Mars Hill single-season mark of 2,262 yards through the air despite the loss.
Holmes, meanwhile, caught a school-record 16 passes for 179 yards and a score and Jasper Mason tallied 13 tackles on defense in the losing effort.
L-R, the top rushing team in NCAA Division II, finished with 321 yards on the ground while defensive back O'neil Blake added 12 tackles for the Bears.
Lenoir-Rhyne faces Wingate (5-3, 4-1) in another key South Atlantic Conference showdown next Saturday in Wingate, N.C., beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Mars Hill, who saw its five-game winning streak snapped, looks to bounce back next Saturday when the Lions face Tusculum in its home finale beginning at 1 p.m