NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry College sophomore quarterback Josh Stepp (Pelion, S.C.) threw three touchdown passes to sophomore receiver Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.) and another to redshirt junior Mazzie Drummond (Greer, S.C.) in the first half of Saturday’s annual spring football game. Freshman linebacker Mike Grase (Rock Hill, S.C.) returned a fumble 35 yards for a score, while Ryan Lukshis (Irmo, S.C.) and Brian Sanchez (Moore, S.C.) kicked one and two field goals respectively to make the final score White 42, Red 28.
White moved the ball 52 yards on its second possession to set up Lukshis’ 23-yard field goal, then managed a six-play, 70-yard drive over 1:34 that culminated in the first Stepp-to-Zimmerman touchdown. Alex Haynes (Summerville, S.C.) ran for 20 of his 23 yards during the drive.
White followed with its third consecutive scoring possession, highlighted by a 15-yard run by Deshon Rodell (Allendale, S.C.) and Stepp’s 25-yard fly route to Drummond for six points. Drummond split time at quarterback, completing three passes for 61 yards, but was more effective on the receiving end, catching four balls for 75 yards and one score.
The first team slipped two more scores before the half. Four consecutive rushes by Haynes set up a 55-yard Stepp-to-Zimmerman bomb over the top. Newberry used mostly short passes due to the fierce winds over the Southeast, as this pass traveled only 20 yards through the air. Zimmerman collected the ball and simply outran every defender to paydirt.
In an under-two-minute drill, White took advantage of an interception by Quinton McClain (Clio, S.C.) at the 33-yard line to set up its last touchdown. Stepp misfired on first- and second-down attempts, but found Drummond at the ten to preserve the drive. A spike stopped the clock with 23 seconds left, and Stepp found Zimmerman on the subsequent play to score again.
"I was very pleased with the overall performance of the team," head coach Zak Willis said of the Indians. "Our first team units are ahead of where we were last year, which is all you can ask for when you're building a program. Everything was very positive today."
Defensively, several Indians stood out as top performers. Grase made five tackles in addition to the 35-yard fumble recovery for the TD. Freshman linebackers Elvin Bussey (Johnston, S.C.) and Brandon Clontz (Moncks Corner, S.C.) recorded eight and seven tackles, respectively, with one sack for Bussey.
Linemen Devin Robinson (St. Helena Island, S.C.) and Tony Ransom (Marion, S.C.) had seven and six stops, respectively. Robinson got to the quarterback twice for sacks, and Ransom had a sack and a quarterback hurry. James Stroman (Columbia, S.C.), Octavius Whiteside (Greer, S.C.), and Stewart Good (Rock Hill, S.C.) each made six stops.
"I thought the defensive first team was outstanding today," Willis bragged on his players. "They only gave up about two first downs all day. That second unit really held their own against the first team offense too. Elvin was on that team and really stood out for us."
Sanchez connected on two field goal attempts, both in the fourth quarter. The first, a 32-yarder, fell through the uprights with 7:21 remaining in the game, and the 24-yard attempt found its way home as time expired. Sophomore Stephen Stellfox (Chapin, S.C.) opened the game with a kickoff reminiscent of last season, as the ball landed on the goal line and bounced out the back of the end zone despite the driving winds.
In the absence of senior Jeff Williams (Pelion, S.C.), Lukshis and Sanchez took shots at next year’s punting job. Lukshis tagged 68- and 55-yard punts, albeit wind-aided, for the longest ones of the day. Sanchez handled the majority of the punts, averaging right at 40 yards apiece when not besieged with 40 mph wind gusts. Each kicker also made one-of-one extra point attempts.
Stepp 16-28-0, 229 yards, 4 touchdowns
Drummond 3-13-1, 61 yards
Chris Walker 0-1-0, 0 yards
T.J. Smith 10 rushes, 37 yards
Gerard Jackson 10 rushes, 28 yards
Rodell 3 rushes, 28 yards
Haynes 6 rushes, 23 yards
Zimmerman 7 rec., 131 yards, 3 touchdowns
Drummond 4 rec., 75 yards, 1 touchdown
Stanton Yarborough 2 rec., 15 yards
Charles Brandon 2 rec., 10 yards
Bussey 8 tackles, 1 sack
Robinson 7 tackles, 2 sacks
Clontz 7 tackles
Ransom 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry
Stroman 6 tackles, 1 PBU
Good 6 tackles, 1 PBU
Whiteside 6 tackles
Grase 5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery for TD