DURHAM — N.C. Central quarterback Matt Goggans was making a historic start as the first white starting quarterback in Eagles’ history, but it was veteran wide receiver Geovonie Irvine who stole the show.
Irvine combined for 191 all-purpose yards, with 79 receiving and 112 return yards, along with two touchdowns to lead N.C. Central to a 54-31 win over CIAA opponent Fayetteville State Saturday.
The Broncos upset the Eagles four years ago in Durham, but in that game Irvine, a redshirt senior, was watching from the sidelines.
Saturday, the preseason All-American was so drained, he received IV fluids after the game.
N.C. Central coach Henry Frazier was high on adrenaline after his first home win as a coach. Frazier was caught doing a little jig as the clock wound down.
“It just feels good to get that first victory,” said Frazier who went 0-5 at home last season. “We needed to get off to a good start.”
After a jittery start, Goggans completed 15-of-26 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown, as the Eagles ran up 420 yards of total offense.
“I was a little nervous as you could tell by my overthrows, but we came back and did a great job as a team. By the second drive, I felt more comfortable with the football,” Goggans said.
Leading 20-17 at halftime, N.C. Central capitalized on back-to-back turnovers to break open the game. Allonte Tuppins intercepted Broncos quarterback Chauncey Concepcion and rumbled 69 yards for a score. Then a Fayetteville State fumble resulted in a Goggans-to-Irvine, 20-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 34-17.
The Broncos closed the gap to 10 after Michael Johnson’s 94-yard kickoff return, but the Eagles scored 14 straight points to take back control.
“We had so many different players step up big tonight,” Frazier said. “Last year, I don’t know what might have happened if we had given up two early touchdowns like tonight. But we bounced back.”
Fayetteville State had just 60 yards rushing and four turnovers.
The Eagles travel to Elon next Saturday at 7 p.m.
St. Augustine’s 28, Wingate 10: Aided by 187 passing yards from junior quarterback Teddy Bacote, Saint Augustine’s defeated Wingate 28-10 in the first-ever meeting between the schools at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
Wingate opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal by Paul Grammaticopoulos with 2 minutes, 3 seconds to play in the first quarter after an ineligible-man-downfield penalty negated an apparent touchdown.
With Saint Augustine’s leading 6-3 with 8 minutes to play in the second quarter, Wingate was forced to punt from its own 25. Saint Augustine’s Carey Stanley fumbled the punt, which was recovered by Wingate long snapper Brandon Carpenter at the Falcon 45. The Bulldogs had a first down inside the 12 following a Robbie Nallenweg pass to Bryan Caffrey, but following a pair of incomplete passes, Grammaticopoulos missed a 28-yard attempt with 4:10 to play in the half.
After a missed field goal by Wingate, Bacote found junior wide receiver Christopher Dalton for a 52-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 13-3 lead, which they took into halftime.
After forcing a Wingate punt to start the third quarter, the Falcons completed a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bacote to senior fullback Rowdy Batchelor for a 20-3 lead.
Saint Augustine’s scored its final touchdown of the afternoon on a 78-yard run by Roderick Davenport with 5:19 to play in the game. The Falcons successfully converted the two point conversion with a pass from wide receiver and point-after holder Brian Richards to tight end Brian Moore.
Wingate battled back in the fourth quarter, as Robbie Nallenweg found Caffrey for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 13:33 to play to cut the deficit to 28-10, but Nallenweg was intercepted on the next three drives, two of which were inside the red zone.
West Va. State 34, J.C. Smith 31: Aubura Taylor ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns and the Yellow Jackets held on for a season-opening victory over the Golden Bulls at Institute, W.Va. Lakin Field.
J.C. Smith rallied from 14 points down Saturday to take a 23-21 lead in the third quarter, but Taylor’s two scores put West Virginia State ahead for good.
The Yellow Jackets got a 72-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Phillips to Ervin Kent during a first-quarter splurge that gave them an early 21-7 lead. Phillips threw for 229 yards and two scores.
A couple special teams plays got the Golden Bulls back in the game.
Darius Wallace blocked a punt and Spencer Shine returned it 17 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. In the third period, J.C. Smith’s Kerry Hartley downed a punt on the Yellow Jackets 2-yard line. Two plays later, an errant shotgun snap bounced through the end zone for a safety, giving the Golden Bulls a 23-21 lead.
J.C. Smith sophomore quarterback Keahn Wallace had some flashes, hitting on 22-of-37 passes for 267 yards and one touchdown, a 16-yard hookup with Terrell Hutchison with 7 minutes, 9 seconds left to play. Wallace then found Jimmy Drye for a 2-point conversion to bring the Bulls within 34-31.
Wallace also lost a fumble at his own 10 on a bad exchange during a handoff that set up a West Virginia State touchdown and threw an interception in the end zone. Rick Ryan
Presbyterian 45, Brevard 10: Presbyterian kicked off its season in Saturday, cruising to a 45-10 win again visiting Brevard at Clinton, S.C.
The Blue Hose had 430 yards of offense and converted all four of its trips to the red zone. Presbyterian limited Brevard (0-1) to 81 passing yards.