Lebanon, Tennessee- Aided by a strong rushing attack and big defensive plays, Edward Waters (2-2) muscled their way to a 24-17 road victory over Cumberland (2-3) in a Mid-South Conference cross divisional contest at Nokes Lasater Field on Saturday afternoon. The victory helped Edward Waters snap Cumberland’s nine-game home winning streak and help the Tigers win back-to-back games for the first time since 2014.
Head Coach Greg Ruffin preached to his team all week long that Saturday’s contest would be won up front with the offensive and defensive lines and his charges did not disappoint.
Senior defensive back Kennard Mahone set the tone of the game on Cumberland’s opening possession as he knifed his way to QB Dezmon Huntley and came away with a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Edward Waters rewarded the great play by drawing first blood with a 27 yard field goal from freshman placekicker Ishmael Sanders, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Purple and Orange extended their advantage to 10-0 late in the first quarter with a four-yard rushing touchdown from freshman running back Jacquez Pelham.
Cumberland cracked the scoreboard midway through the second quarter with a 32-yard rushing touchdown from fullback Telvin Rucker, bringing the Phoenix to within three at 10-7 and the score remained the same going into the locker room.
Both teams went scoreless for a majority of the third quarter, before CU placekicker Sean Kline connected on a 30 yard field goal, tying the score at 10-10 with 1:45 left in the third.
The Tigers retook the lead for good with 10:40 remaining in the fourth quarter as freshman quarterback Derrick Jones found freshman wide receiver Kamaree Noble in the right corner of the endzone for a 23 yard score.
EWC added an insurance score with 4:04 left in the game as Jones took a quarterback keeper into the endzone, giving the Tigers a 24-10 lead.
Cumberland came back with an eight yard touchdown pass to Denarius Tolliver, bringing the Phoenix to within a touchdown but, Edward Waters was able to jump on top of the ensuing on-side kick and was able to run out clockto win their second straight road game.
Edward Waters racked up 240 yards rushing while adding 106 yards through the air. Defensively, the Tigers were able to put the clamps down on CU’s vaunted triple-option attack holding the Phoenix to just 144 yards rushing on the day and forced two turnovers.
Freshman running back Corey Hammett led all rushers on the day with 16 carries for 108 yards, his first 100+ yard rushing game of his collegiate career. Fellow freshman ball carrier Jacquez Pelham finished with 12 carries for 51 yards and his first career college touchdown. Derrick Jones finished the day 7-13 passing for 106 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while also adding 13 carries for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Kennard Mahone led EWC with six total tackles, including two tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Jalen Thomas had a great day defensively as well for the Tigers with five total tackles, including one tackle for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, and an interception.
Edward Waters will continue their road trip next Saturday afternoon as they begin MSC Sun Division play in South Florida against Keiser University. Kickoff from West Palm Beach is set for 12:00pm.