NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – Junior quarterback Paul Morgan accounted for five touchdowns, with two coming on the ground in the fourth quarter as the Apprentice School pulled away from Alfred State College for a 35-21 win in front of nearly 900 fans on Newport News Shipbuilding Employee Day.
Both teams struggled early as the Apprentice School turned the ball over on downs deep in Alfred State territory. The Pioneers returned the favor on their first drive going to the Builder 25 before the defense stopped a fourth down fake punt pass. Aaron Finley forced a fumble as Shawn Charles caught a 16-yard pass and Al Little recovered to set the Builders up.
Then the scoring began as the Builders went on a 14-play, 75-yard drive as Morgan threw his first touchdown pass to freshman Rashawn Simms on a five-yard connection. Nick Foor's extra point-conversion gave the Builders a 7-0 lead with 3:31 left in the quarter.
Alfred State (3-3) answered quickly as Joey Frendo hit Mikel DeMonte in stride on a 79-yard scoring pass almost a minute later. The extra-point attempt bounced off the upright and the Builders held a 7-6 lead with 2:34 left.
The Pioneers took a lead early in the second quarter as they were set up with great field position following a 53-yard punt return from Collin Frazier. Frendo found Colton Caldwell on a 46-yard scoring pass with 11:01 left. The two-point attempt failed as Alfred State took a 12-7 advantage. Those two points were quickly recovered by the Pioneers defense as they blocked a punt in the end zone on the next series for the Builders and took a 14-7 lead on the safety with 9:31 left in the half.
Apprentice School closed the half with a four-play, 52-yard scoring drive that took 76 seconds. Morgan took the first play for a 12-yard gain to put the Builders on the Pioneers 40. A pair of Odis Wesby runs, including a 21-yard scamper, got the Builders down to the ASC 15. Following a penalty, Morgan found Sims in the corner of the end zone with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 14-all.
In the third quarter, the Builders defense picked up and intercepted a Frendo pass to set up the first score. Emmett Artis returned that interception 33 yards down to the ASC 17. Morgan closed the drive with a three yard run to take a 21-14 lead with 11:40 remaining in the quarter.
After being held on downs on the Apprentice seven yard line, Alfred State returned the favor and stopped the Builders on downs at the 23 to set up their final touchdown. Frendo connected with Caldwell for a seven-yard scoring pass with 1:36 left to tie the game at 21-all.
In the fourth quarter, the Builders took advantage of two Pioneer turnovers to ice a key home win. Morgan capped a 10-play, 57-yard drive with a seven-yard run with 13 minutes left to take a 28-21 lead.
On the ensuing ASC series, Brock Bullock forced a fumble on a Dileel Bartley run that was recovered by Darrin Spencer on the ASC 18. Following a penalty, a 14-yard Morgan to Al Little completion got the ball on the ASC 11 setting up a fourth down and three play. Freshman Ralick Lockett broke a couple tackles for an eight yard gain down to the three. On a third and goal from the one, Morgan snuck over for a 35-21 advantage with 9:07 left. Tequan Mayfield snagged the second interception of the game for the Builders as Alfred State had possession on the Builder 20 with two minutes left to seal the win.
The Builders held Alfred State to a minus one-yard rushing on the game which is the first time since the end of the 2008 season that the Builders held an opponent to negative yards rushing. In that game, the Builders held Southern Virginia to a -17 yards on the ground.
Apprentice School out-gained Alfred State 353-311 as Lockett gained 75 yards on 26 carries, while Wesby ran nine times for 67 yards to lead the ground game. Morgan, who ran for 39 yards and three touchdowns, threw 16-of-28 for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sims was the leading receiver with five catches for 58 yards and both touchdown receptions.
On defense, the Builders were headed by Izhia Roundtree with eight tackles, including a sack. Finley had seven tackles, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Builders now go on the road to Valley, Alabama on October 27 to face Point University in a 1 pm kickoff.