WINGATE, N.C. (Newberry Sports Information) - The Newberry Wolves scored 21 unanswered points to close out the game and earn a 42-28 road win over the Wingate Bulldogs at Irwin Belk Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Newberry moves to 5-0 and 3-0 in South Atlantic Conference play and remains atop the league standings. The Wolves are the only 5-0 team in NCAA Division II's Southeast Region. Wingate is now 1-3 overall and 0-2 in league play. Newberry hosts Tusculum on Saturday, October 12, for the annual Homecoming game with kickoff at 4 p.m. that day.
The win was the 400th win in program history and the 2013 season marks just the third time in program history Newberry has opened with five more more straight wins. The 2006 team started 10-0 and the 1979 team won its first five games.
Wingate's passing attack scored on four of its first six drives, but the Wolves' defense held the hosts scoreless in the final five drives of the game to hold on to the win. The Bulldogs ate up 7:21 of clock on a 15-play, 94-yard touchdown drive to open the scoring. Newberry's offense struggled in the early going with a punt, a turnover on downs and an interception. A 30-yard Wingate touchdown pass from Robbie Nallenweg to Patrick Derenda at the 10:01 mark of the second quarter put Wingate up 14-0.
From there the Wolves put together a fantastic drive on the back of running back Romelo Doctor (Summerville, S.C.). Doctor accounted for 41 of Newberry's 72 yards on the ensuing drive, with a 3-yard touchdown carry putting the Wolves on the board with a 14-7 deficit with 5:49 left until the half.
The Newberry special teams unit took advantage of a Wingate miscue on the kickoff return, as the return man fumbled at the Wingate 2-yardline. Nate Sichali (Anderson, S.C.) fell on the ball in the endzone and the PAT tied the game up at 14-all.
The squads exchanged big play blows before the half, with Wingate taking a 21-14 lead on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Nallenweg to Jordan Berry. The Wolves responded on the third play of the next drive with a 52-yard touchdown pass from W.T. Murden (West Columbia, S.C.) to Corey Washington (North Charleston, S.C.).
Wingate opened the second half scoring with a seven-play, 45-yard drive capped by a 32-yard Nallenwag touchdown pass to Jiwan Funderburk to take a 28-21 lead.
Murden found Byron Dickerson (Atlanta, Ga.) for a 38-yard reception that nearly went for a touchdown, but did set up a Murden-to-Jason Livingston (Conway, S.C.) 18-yard touchdown pass two plays later to tie the game at 28-28 with 10:24 left in the third quarter.
The Wolves forced a Wingate punt on the next drive and then put together a methodical 11-play, 82-yard drive with Raleigh Yeldell (Johnston, S.C.) at the helm. Newberry tooks its first lead of the game on a 2-yard touchdown carry by Wesley Brown (John's Island, S.C.), making it 35-28 with 1:59 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded punts for four possessions as the clock ticked away. Wingate had the ball deep in its own territory inside the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter and had to attempt a conversion on fourth-and-26 from its own 14-yardline, which failed.
Doctor then needed just one play, as he burst through the right side of the line untouched and scampered into the endzone to put Newberry's lead at 42-28 in the late going. Wingate's desperation attempts to cut into the lead fell short and Newberry moved to 5-0 on the year.
For Newberry, Murden completed 12-of-20 passes for 175 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Yeldell was 4-for-4 for 44 yards.
Doctor carried the ball 13 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns, while Yeldell had five carries for 22 yards and Brown carried the ball four times for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Livingston had five receptions for 46 yards and a score and Washington had two catches for 66 yards and a score. Doctor also had three receptions for 30 yards and Dickerson caught two passes for 43 yards.
The Newberry defense saw Nallenweg complete 38-of-56 passes for 351 yards and three scores, but sacked him five times. The Wolves also limited Wingate to 31 yards on 24 carries for an average of 1.3 yards per rush. 11 Bulldogs caught passes, led by Derenda's 10 catches fo 99 yards and a touchdown.
The Wolves were in on 80 tackles, led by nine stops from safety David Davis (Columbia, S.C.), while defensive lineman Dominique Jacobs (Columbia, S.C.) had 2.5 sack for a loss of 19 yards. Newberry tackled the Bulldogs behind the line of scrimmage 11 times for losses of 46 yards.
Edmond Robinson (Wadmalaw Island, S.C.) had eight stops, with half a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. Brice Green (Irmo, S.C.) broke up four passes, Lance Clark (Florence, S.C.) had 1.5 sacks and Letavious Williams (Ware Shoals, S.C.) had a sack.
On special teams, two-time SAC Special Teams Player of the Week Kyle Clark (Beaufort, S.C.) was fantastic again, averaging 47.5 yards per punt on four punts, with three inside the Wingate 20-yardline. His punts went for 34 and 45 yards in the first half and important boots of 54 yards and 57 yards in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs only managed minus-3 yards of punt returns, making Newberry's punt return defense even stingier in the statistics, with a total of minus-5 yards of punt returns in all games and an average of minus-1.3 yards per punt return. Clark was also 6-for-6 on PATs.
Newberry had the ball for only 3:27 of the fourth quarter and kept the Bulldogs off the board for the final 27:53 of the game. Wingate held the ball for 36:22, while Newberry had the ball for 23:38. The Wolves were also a perfect 4-for-4 in the red zone.
Wingate ran 82 plays to Newberry's 55 plays. The Wolves had 342 yards of offense for 6.2 yards per play, while Wingate had 382 yards of offense for 4.7 yards per play.