Lenoir-Rhyne rallied from an 18-point deficit to stun Mars Hill on the football field Saturday, 34-21, in a South Atlantic Conference showdown at Moretz Stadium.
Trailing 21-3 in the third quarter, L-R (5-2, 3-1) scored the game's last 31 points, keyed by touchdowns runs of 31 and 47 yards, respectively, by sophomore halfback Jarrod Spears, helping the Bears win their fourth-straight game and 10th consecutive home game.
Spears finished with a game-high 125 yards on the ground while junior halfback Graham Duncan added 100 yards rushing for the Bears.
L-R sophomore defensive back 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.
Mars Hill 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 started 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 Div. II, finished with 321 yards on the ground, while sophomore defensive back O'neil Blake added 12 tackles for the Bears, who clinched their third-straight non-losing season.
Lenoir-Rhyne faces Wingate (5-3, 4-1) in another key South Atlantic Conference showdown next Saturday in Wingate, N.C., starting at 1:30 p.m.