Sunday, September 4, 2016

Virginia State Trojans Open the Season with a Win on the Road Against Lenoir-Rhyne

PETERSBURG, Virginia  --  The Virginia State University Trojans win season opener upsetting Lenoir-Rhyne University 34 – 9 amidst a crowd of nearly 6,000. The two teams have met only twice in the history of both institutions. In 2014 the Bears traveled to Virginia State and captured a 34 – 6 victory ruining the Trojans season opener. Virginia State and Lenoir-Rhyne won their conference championships that year. This year the Trojans traded places and left Hickory, NC with the season opening win and momentum to carry them into the 2016 Season 1-0. The contest was just 1 of 3 non-conference opponents the Trojans will endure before entering conference play in Week 4.

"Today was a great way to go out and start our season against a really good team. I'm just happy and proud for our coaches and players. The guys came out with the type of energy and enthusiasm we want, played well, did well, and we were able to come out with a victory," shared Head Coach Reggie Barlow.

Senior quarterback Tarian Ayres (Buckingham, VA) went 24-17 passing for 201 yards. (Offensively the Trojans were led by junior running back Trenton Cannon (Hampton, VA) scored two touchdowns in the first half, ending the game with 72 yards receiving and 66 yards on the ground. Senior running back Kavon Bellamy (Hampton, VA) followed up rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Stephen Mines (Chester, VA) visited the end zone today scoring his first touchdown as a Trojan on a 1 yard run.

"It's a great feeling. Getting my first one was just great," expressed Mines.

T.J Smith led the Bears offensively recording 87 yards on 4 receptions. Nelson Brown followed up with 70 yards rushing.
The Trojan defense was pioneered by All-CIAA Preseason honoree senior linebacker Geo Feggins (South Hill, VA) who recorded 15 total tackles (8 solo). Rodney Singleton led the Bears defensive effort recording 11 total tackles (6 solo).

Virginia State won the opening toss, but deferred putting the defense out on the field first. After a series of Bears first downs, an incomplete pass intended for T.J Smith forces the Bears to punt. The Trojans score on the opening drive putting together 9 plays for 85 yards sending Bellamy into the end zone on a 3 yard run. Senior kicker Mathew Hillquist (Glen Allen, VA) attempts the extra point kick to give VSU a 7-0 lead

On the next Lenoir-Rhyne drive the Trojan defense holds the Bears to 3 and out with a loss of 4 yards. Senior defensive lineman Bryant Frazier (Glen Allen, VA) ends the drive with a sack for a loss of 3 sending a message to the Bears offense early.

With 6:04 remaining in the first quarter Ayres (Buckingham, VA) launches a pass midfield to Cannon for a 33 yard gain. Four plays later Cannon enters the end zone on a 2 yard run to give the Trojans a 13 – 0 lead that they would carry into the second quarter.

The Trojans wasted no time moving the ball to start the second quarter. A 13 yard completion to sophomore Josh Harris (William, VA) results in a VSU first down at the 50 yard line. On 3rd and 9 Ayres finds an open Cannon who takes it to the house for a 26 yard touchdown extending the Trojan lead 20- 0 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.

With just over two minutes remaining in the first half the Bears make their mark on the scoreboard off a 15 yard pass from Kellar to Ray Beam.

VSU looks to get into the end zone one more time after Ayres links up with senior tight end Andrew Clark (Richmond, VA) for a 21 yard gain setting the Trojans up for 1st and 10 at the Bears 17 yard line. However, time is not on the Trojans side and they settle for a field goal on 1st and goal to end the half, but the kick by Hillquist is no good and the Trojans enter the half leading Lenoir-Rhyne
20 – 7.

The Bears defense slows the Trojans down in the third quarter, but the Trojans maintain their composure. A series of first downs eventually leads to a 2 yard touchdown for the Trojans as Bellamy burst through the Bears defense putting the Trojans up by 20 with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter.

Both teams exchanged fumble recoveries early in the fourth quarter, with the Trojans getting the better end result of the ordeal as senior Bryce Bradley (Richmond, VA) picks up 44 yards after recovering a fumble on 2nd and goal for the Bears.

On the next drive Mines picks up a huge first down on a 41 yard carry and on 3rd and goal Mines gets inside the end zone for a 1 yard touchdown making it a 34 -7 VSU lead with under five minutes remaining on the game clock.

A safety penalty called on the Trojans with 21 seconds remaining in the game results in two points for the Bears. Despite the safety, the Trojans were already on the sidelines celebrating the victory. The players emptied their coolers out showering Head Coach Reggie Barlow in love and during the post -game huddle Feggins took a moment to toss Coach Barlow the game ball in admiration of embracing them and leading them to victory along with the coaching staff.

On Saturday, September 10, 2016 the Trojans will be back in act
ion at Rogers Stadium as they take on Tusculum College at 2 P.M for Family Weekend and Military Appreciation Day.

For more football information, visit, call 804-524-5030, or follow Trojan Athletics on Twitter @vsusports.


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