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CU football 1-0 after 30-14 opening victory over Union

Tigers balance youth, experience in season opening victory
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By Chris Megginson / CU Sports Information

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY - Young stars and veteran leadership is the makeup of the 2011 Campbellsville University Tiger football team, and it was exactly that which led to a 30-14 victory over Union College at CU's HIG Field and Finley Stadium on Thursday night.

"It's a great win for us. Obviously with it being game one, and with the youth, there were a lot of mistakes, but I thought we beat a good football team," CU head coach Perry Thomas said. "Defensively, we made plays. We've got a defense that's going to give up some yards because we're not real big, but we rallied the ball well to keep you out of the end zone. Offensively, we did what we needed to do. We mixed it up well with the run and the pass. We can't just do one or the other."

True freshman defensive back Leon Melvin picked off two Union College passes in the end zone to help secure a two-touchdown victory. Offensively, redshirt junior quarterback Nathan Cooper threw for more than 250 yards and two touchdowns and seniors Wayne Coffee and David Hon paced the Tigers' scoring.

Hon, a senior from Orange Park, Fla., connected on 3-of-4 field goals and was 3-of-3 on point after touchdown kicks, giving him 12 of the Tigers' 30 points. He tied his school record of three field goals in a game and became the first CU Tiger kicker to score 12 points in a game on at least three separate occasions.

"David Hon was once again the steady David Hon for us," CU head coach Perry Thomas said. "His leg has gotten stronger, and his mechanics have gotten better ... Nothing rattles him. He just goes and kicks."

The first field goal came with 10:56 left to play in the opening quarter. After a 44-yard carry by Coffee moved the Tigers across midfield on the second play of the game, CU's drive stalled and was left to punt. The first career punt for freshman Taylor Ratcliff was short, only 24 yards, but it bounced off a Union player and was recovered by Tyler Robertson inside the Bulldog 20. After stalling out on three plays, the Tigers sent Hon in for a 37-yard try, which he nailed for his second-longest kick in a CU uniform and an early 3-0 lead.

Union threatened with the deep ball, as Mike Brinkley found Demetrius Hicks for 51 yards on the next play. However the threat was silenced by Melvin's first interception in the end zone, as he ripped the ball away from Union receiver Rolando Dyer. It was the first of five Campbellsville takeaways.

Later in the quarter, Coffee extended the Tigers' lead to double-figures, 10-0, on a 24-yard touchdown run. The senior from Franklin, Tenn., went on to collect 142 yards on 20 carries for an average of 7.1 yards per carry - his best career game in front of a home crowd.

"I give it all to the offensive line. They created great holes that I ran through," Coffee said.

As the sun began to dip to the West and the field flipped for the second quarter, Union's top rusher Rob Brown zig-zagged his way through potential Campbellsville tacklers en route to a 32-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs were on the board, 10-7. It was the only score for Brown, who compiled 119 yards on 17 carries and passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career.

Before Campbellsville had a chance to respond, it saw the next two drives end with a takeaway from Union's Bert Brown. First it was an interception, followed by a 31-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 8:25 to play in the half. The defensive score gave Union its only lead of the game, 14-10.

As the second quarter rolled on, Cooper became loose under center in his back-up role for the Tigers. The former starter in 2009, who battled through shoulder injuries in 2010, spread the field for 257 yards and two touchdowns on 21 completions. He completed 85.6 percent of his second quarter tosses, marching the Tigers down field for a 42-yard touchdown strike to freshman Demytreus Gipson at the 2:22 mark and then again with two seconds to play before the half on a 22-yard strike to redshirt freshman Diaz Bolden. Entering the half, Campbellsville controlled a 24-14 lead.

The second half was mostly Campbellsville. With Brinkley out as Union's quarterback due to injury, the Tigers picked off the Bulldogs' backups Colton Phelps (5-of-12, 58 yards) and Ryan Moses (3-of-7, 50 yards) three times. Senior Jeffery Demary was the first to do so, and nearly returned it for a touchdown, going 37 yards to the Union 8. The pick led to a 23-yard Hon field goal and 27-14 Tiger lead.

Tiger freshmen ended the next two Bulldog drives in CU territory, with Melvin picking off a pass in the end zone and Darius Skinner intercepting a first down pass at the Tiger 39. Skinner's interception led to Hon's final field goal with 12:32 left in the game. Brandon Brown had Campbellsville's fifth takeaway, a 31-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter.

Campbellsville accounted for 421 yards of offense in the game on 76 plays. Cooper and Coffee accounted for most of that, but Cooper's targets were diverse. Gerwan Brewer led the Tigers with 64 yards on six catches, while freshman Bobby Leonard of Dixie Heights High School had 57 yards on four catches. Stan Warrenhuffman had three catches for 54 yards, giving him 102 catches for his career.

Defensively, senior linebacker Dwight Houston led the Tigers with 11 tackles, followed by redshirt freshman linebacker Blake Young with nine. Demary had six, one interception and two pass breakups.Chris Megginson

NextCampbellsville U football (1-0) vs.Cumberland U of Lebanon, TN at Finley Stadium The CU Tigers return home to Finley Stadium, 204 Tiger Way, next Saturday, September 10, 2011, for a 7pmET/6pmCT kickoff against No. 18 Cumberland University (0-0) of Tennessee. Union (0-1) will host Kentucky Christian University (1-1) at noon.Chris Megginson

This story was posted on 2011-09-02 04:13:27
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CU 12th Man Club Pavilion renamed Greg Vaughn Pavilion

2011-09-02 - 204 Tiger Way, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Chris Megginson.
Patty Vaughn, widow of late Campbellsville University 12th Man Club President Greg Vaughn, hugs senior defensive lineman Henri Baynham-Baker of Elizabethtown following the victory. Prior to the game, the 12th Man Club Pavilion was renamed the Greg Vaughn Pavilion.

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CU Freshman Football player Leon Melvin intercepts

2011-09-02 - 204 Tiger Way, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Chris Megginson, CU Sports.
Campbellsville freshman Leon Melvin of Louisville picks off his first of two interceptions in the end zone Thursday, September 1, 2011, in Campbellsville University's 30-14 win over Union College of Barbourville, KY.

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