NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – Freshman Blake Penix hit a 32-yard field goal with 4:26 left and the Apprentice School blocked a late field goal attempt as the Builders held on for a 9-7 win over Greensboro College in the 2011 home opener at a rain-soaked Apprentice Field.
In a game that was played in light to moderate rain throughout, both teams struggled at maintaining possession as seen with eight turnovers combined. The Pride took advantage of a muffed punt attempt gaining possession on the Apprentice School two-yardline. Robert Byrd then pushed his way into the end zone on the first play giving the visitors a 7-0 lead with 9:14 left in the first.
Apprentice School responded by taking advantage of a turnover on a punt return to get possession on the Greensboro 19. A Chris Virgin 11-yard run got the Builders down to the eight where Paul Morgan took off around the left end and out-raced the defenders to the end zone for a touchdown. The extra-point conversion failed and the Builders trailed 7-6 with 5:31 left in the first quarter.
"I told the team a W is a W and that's the bottom line," said Apprentice School coach Michael Vite. "In this weather it would've been easy for people to give up and start playing their own game out there, but the guys didn't quit and played hard."
Neither team could manage much offensive threats in the second and third quarters but each had one last shot in the last 9:34. The Builders took over on their 20 with 9:34 left and went on a 65-yard drive down to the Greensboro 15. Virgin started the drive with a 19-yard run and freshman Ge'Vonn Young bounced around left end for a 16-yard run to highlight the drive. Apprentice School took advantage of a pair of penalties on Greensboro, one on a roughing the kicker penalty, to sustain momentum.
Freshman Blake Penix came on for a 32-yard field goal into the wind that just cleared the crossbar giving the hosts a 9-7 lead with 4:26 left. Ironically, the 2010 home opener was also against Greensboro with a 9-7 win over the Pride on a field goal with just under 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Pride used their special teams to give them one last shot as a 28-yard kickoff return gave Greensboro possession on the Builder 49. A 14-yard completion from Cameron Janack to Joey Porter put the Pride down at the 35, where four runs later moved them to the Builder 21. Harrison Grady came on for a 38-yard field goal with 1:03 left and Brock Bullock came around right end to block the kick into the hands of Johnathan Jones to seal the first win of the year for the Builders.
Virgin was the leading rusher for the Builders with 128 yards on 30 carries to become the first 100-yard rusher for the Builders since Sam Arnold ran for 104 against Southern Virginia in the 2009 season finale. Young added 69 yards on 17 carries for a season-high. Jones topped the defense with 11 tackles, three for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Bullock added nine tackles, one for a loss and the key blocked kick.
Greensboro was topped on the ground by Janack with 20 carries for 85 yards and Allen Stallings on defense with a game high 12 tackles.
The Builders hit the home field again on September 24 when they face Gallaudet University at 1 pm.