Lions fall in season opener versus ETSU

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The Mars Hill football team (0-1) were downed 28-7 by East Tennessee State (1-0) Saturday evening on the road.

The Lion defense, on the first drive of the game, forced the Buccaneers to attempt a 44 yard field goal.  The kick from J.J. Jerman was no good.  On their first offensive possession of the game, Austin Brown connected with Craig Rucker for a 15 yard touchdown pass to put the Lions up 7-0 with 5:55 remaining in the first frame.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Jerman missed his second field goal of the contest, off of the left upright from 37 yards out.  On the Lions' first drive of the second stanza, they were forced to punt, however, a botched fair catch from Quan Harrison was recovered by Chris Ferdinand.  The Lions' offense took to the field once again, but on the first play of their new drive, a fumble gave the ball back to the Buccaneers.

With just over eight minutes left in the half, East Tennessee State was marching down the field.  As Logan Marchi connected on a 17 yard pass to Harrison, the Lions forced another fumble by the hands of Trey GilesJaden King recovered the ball, however, the Lions were unable to take advantage, allowing the Buccaneers one more opportunity in the half.

In a four play, 69 yard drive, Kobe Kelley caught a 14 yard pass from Marchi to tie the game with 30 seconds left in the opening half.

At 7:23 of the third, the Buccaneers lost their third fumble of the game with Earl Adams recovering the ball on their 31 yard line.  A stout defense by East Tennessee State prevented the Lions from capitalizing.  The Buccaneers once again marched down the field through the Lions's defense and took their first lead of the game, going 90 yards in nine plays, capped off by a 30 yard touchdown pass from Marchi to Harrison.

East Tennessee State added two more insurance scores in the fourth quarter.  Quay Holmes scored on a 10 yard rush and with less than 11 minutes left in the contest, Marchi connected with Evan Wicks for his third touchdown pass of the game.

Brown went 17-of-25 for 143 yards and one touchdown.  Rucker caught 10 passes for 136 yards and the touchdown reception.  Malcolm Means and Chris Ferdinand each had a team-high seven tackles.  Tyler Sims, Tray Smith combined for two sacks.

Mars Hill opens up their home schedule with a 1 p.m. game versus Shaw at the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium.

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