JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the eight in an 11-part series chronicling each of Carson-Newman football's opponents for the 2013 season. Today's feature breaks down the Eagles' final nonconference matchup of the year – a trip to Tigerville, S.C. and North Greenville.
North Greenville has bounced up and down the past two years. In 2011, the Crusaders blazed a trail to the NCAA Quarterfinals before bowing out of the playoffs to Delta State. Turn the calendar a year and you find a tougher road for Crusaders. North Greenville finished 5-6 last season, but it was a year not without bright spots. The Crusaders won five of their final six, including four straight to finish out the year.
The challenge for the Crusaders will be finding consistency in a program that moves on to its second coaching staff in as many year. Jeff Farrington makes his head coaching debut after working as the defensive coordinator for Virginia Military Institute's Keydets.
Farrington will have a partially stocked cupboard to work with. Six starters return both on offense and defense. Fortunately for Farrington, the Crusaders have their leaders back in every statistical category.
Offensively, North Greenville gets another year from quarterback Nelson Hughes, who passed for 1,230 yards with six touchdowns, but also eight interception. His top target also returns in the electrifying Freddie Martino – a 511-yard receiver from a year ago.
Darius Palk garnered 748 yards on the ground as the top tailback for NG to go with three touchdowns.
The Crusaders must replace two offensive linemen in Chance Hudson and Sterling Ward. NG will need all of its puzzle pieces to fit together if it hopes to improve offensively from a year ago. The Crusaders ranked in the bottom 30 nationally in scoring offense, total offense and passing efficiency.
Defensively, leading tackler Nick Rodgers is back after a 75-stop year. The Crusaders 3-4 defense must account for the loss of two linebackers and two of their top six leading tacklers AJ Jones and Jonathan Sharpe. The line returns nearly entirely intact minus Stefan Bynoe, who had nine tackles and a sack in the Crusaders 52-10 loss to Carson-Newman. Taylor Anderson settles into a spot in the secondary again after leading NG in interceptions with three last year.
The Eagles and Crusaders have split the season series thus far. North Greenville took out C-N in the first meeting 34-27 before the Eagles soared to a 52-10 margin on homecoming last year.
The next installment of the Better Know an Opponent series features Lenoir-Rhyne and will be available Friday morning.