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For the fifth consecutive year, Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football closed its regular season with a victory.
CU extended its win streak against first-year football programs as it went on the road to defeat Bluefield (Va.) College 23-14 across the state line at Mitchell Field in West Virginia.
“I’m very proud of our guys. I’m proud of the way they played today and battled, and the way these guys battled all year,” CU coach Perry Thomas said.
“We wanted to find a way to go out today with a win for our seniors. I thought Bluefield came out and gave a good effort, but our guys battled hard and found a way to win.”
CU jumped on the board with a 10-0 lead early, but some miscues allowed Bluefield to gain momentum and a 14-10 lead in the second quarter.
CU was only beginning its fight, as the Tigers rallied with a last-minute touchdown to close the first half and senior Casey Clarke added two field goals in the second half.
Clarke started his day off with a 33-yard field goal on the Tigers’ first drive of the game. The score, set up, in part, by a 40-yard pass play from Bryan Parnes to Jarrod Harrington, put the Tigers on the board with 7:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
Bluefield was held short again, setting up another Campbellsville scoring drive. Starting at their own 25, Seth McFerrin had a 13-yard gain to the 38 for a first down, followed moments later by a 44-yard pass to Harrington to move into the red zone. Harrington got his hands on another ball to give the Tigers first-and-goal at the 6. Parnes capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Harrington went on to post a career-high 159 yards receiving in the win. McFerrin also had a career-day with his first 100-yard game, rushing 29 times for 126 yards.
Once again CU’s defense held and the Tigers’ offense drove. After Darius Skinner collected a 32-yard punt return, Bobby Kelly made his return off injury with a catch of his chest to move the Tigers down to the Rams’ 25.
Adam Robertson followed with a big catch at the 7 to set up first-and-goal. It looked like the Tigers would strike again. However, on fourth-and-goal, CU elected to skip a field goal try and go for the end zone. Parnes was dropped in the backfield and fumbled, as Tarrell Starckey returned the loose ball for a Bluefield touchdown.
The Rams struck again. Marion Harris used a 59-yard run to move into CU territory at the 29. QB Corey Mabry concluded the drive with a 13-yard TD run to give Bluefield the lead 14-10 with 6:20 to play in the half.
CU pushed the ball across the Bluefield 40 on the ensuing drive, catching two breaks on fumbled balls that were ruled down or incomplete passes. With 1:31 remaining, Clarke tried his second field goal of the game, this time from 51 yards, missing off the right upright.
Similar to the Tigers’ second win of the season, CU quickly held Bluefield to punt and then put its one-minute offense to work. Parnes found Kelly on receptions to the Bluefield 32 and 10 to set up one last strike to the end zone. With six seconds remaining in the half, Steph’Von Haynes tipped a pass up in the air over his defender and stretched out a completion for the go-ahead touchdown, 17-14.
CU held the Rams scoreless in the second half. Skinner picked off a pass on Bluefield’s first drive, setting up a school-record 55-yard field goal by Clarke with 11:39 to play in the third. Clarke went on to miss from 51 and 55 later in the quarter. One of the big defensive stops in the quarter was the first career sack by freshman linebacker Beau Biller.
Clarke added his third field goal on his sixth try in the fourth quarter, capping the scoring at 23-14. Skinner went on to pick off another pass.
Parnes finished his first CU year completing 18-29 passes for 285 yards and had 300 all-purpose yards.
Campbellsville closes the 2012 season with a 3-8 record, while Bluefield ends its inaugural football season at 0-11.
Fighting Tiger football tidbits
•Perry Thomas is now 5-0 as head coach in season finales.
•Casey Clarke’s 55-yard field goal is the longest in CU history, breaking the record of 52 yards previously owned by Clarke (Sept. 29, 2012) and Steve Tow (Sept. 29, 1990).
•Casey Clarke’s six field goal attempts are a CU single-game record.
•Erik Krivitsky set CU single season records for most punts (72) and yards punting (2,844).
•Darius Skinner has 50 career punt returns, the second most for a CU player behind Calvin Bini (55).
•Darius Skinner became the fourth Tiger all-time to have more than 400 yards punt return yards. He now has 451.
•Blake Young had 11 tackles to pass 200 tackles for his career, now with 201 in 22 games.
CU 23, Bluefield (Va.) 14
Bluefield, West Va.
Campbellsville 10 7 3 3 — 23
Bluefield 0 14 0 0 — 14
CU — Casey Clarke, 33, field goal CU — Bryan Parnes, 1, run (Clarke kick) BC — Tarrell Starckey, 81, fumble recovery (Caleb Frye kick) BC — Corey Mabry, 13, run (Frye kick) CU — Steph’Von Haynes, 14, pass from Parnes (Clarke kick) CU — Clarke, 55, field goal CU — Clarke, 43, field goal
First downs 21 10
Rushing 47-136 34-170
Passing 18-29-0 11-24-2
Passing yards 285 107
Total yards 421 277
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 5-45 5-45
Punts-avg 34-47 6-33
CU individual statistics
Rushing — Seth McFerrin 29-126, Bryan Parnes 13-15, George Nwokoji 1-2, Bobby Kelly 4-(-7).
Passing — Parnes 18-29-0 for 285.
Receiving — Jarrod Harrington 9-159, Kelly 5-51, Demytreus Gipson 2-47, Steph’Von Haynes 1-14, Adam Robertson 1-14.
Tackles (solos) — Blake Young 11 (5), Darius Skinner 6 (4), Percy Minor 6 (2), Earl McCann 5 (4), Jimmie Thompson 5 (4), Beau Biller 4 (2), Brendan Walker 4, Brandon Brown 3 (2), Nick Reed 2 (1), Shane Williamson 2 (1), TeyVaughn Wynn 2, Louis Long 2, Andrew Nowakowski 2, Robertson 1 (1), Harrington 1 (1), Stetson Pendergrass 1 (1), Coty Eanes 1 (1), Daniel DeLeon 1, Tyrell Brown 1, Dekwain Tarrance 1.
Interceptions — Skinner 2-23.