PEMBROKE – The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team inched closer to the top 15 this week as the undefeated Braves moved two spots to No. 16 in the American Football Coaches Association Top 25 poll.
It was a pair of honors for the team, which also had defensive back L.J. Stroman named one of Beyond Sports Network’s national defensive players of the week.
The Braves (3-0) racked up 533 yards of total offense in taking down previously undefeated Shaw 41-20 in the inaugural Cape Fear Classic on Saturday at Legion Stadium in Wilmington.
Luke Charles threw for 347 yards on 27-of-40 passing and matched a school record with a career-best five touchdown passes.
Stroman, a junior from Hamlet and Richmond HS alum, registered a career-best 11 tackles, all solo, against the Bears and had an interception and a pair of pass break-ups. His interception in the first quarter set up the first score of the game for UNCP – a 23-yard touchdown pass from Luke Charles to B.J. Bunn – two plays later.
The 3-0 start is the best since 2009, when the Braves also started 3-0 and made playoffs.
The Braves return home on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game with U.S. 74 nemesis Wingate (1-1) at Grace P. Johnson Stadium. Tickets can be purchased by calling (910) 521-6361.
Bird, Thompson lead Fall Classic
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Pembroke native Laura Bird and newcomer Ashlii Thompson each carded a 1-over-par 73 to take a share of first place and put the women’s golf team in the lead after the opening round of the Tusculum Fall Classic on Monday afternoon.
Bird, Thompson, and Converse’s Marley Felthousen, lead the rest of the 65-player field by two strokes heading into Tuesday’s final round at Link Hills Country Club.
Dana Watkins turned in a 77 in her first action since a wrist injury sidelined her in March 2012 and sits in a six-way tie for eighth place, while Lizzie Bundy is in a tie for 14th place after an opening-round 78.
Senior Kelly Sumner and freshman Gabby Milam, who is playing unattached, are in a five-way tie for 32nd place after both carded an 83 on Monday.
As a team, the Braves lead the field by six strokes.
Hanson gets 2nd GK of the Week award
AUGUSTA – After going more than two games without allowing a goal, UNCP goalie Ryan Hanson earned his second Astro Turf/Peach Belt Conference Goalkeeper of the Week award of the season.
UNCP (5-1-0, 2-0-0 PBC) posted a pair of shutouts over Barton and Montevallo and Hanson was in the net for both. The Cary native made one save in a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs, then was masterful with four saves – including two point-blank deflections on the same play – as UNCP beat the Falcons 1-0 in overtime.
The shutouts were his third and fourth of the season, which leads the PBC.
Johnston named PBC Runner of the Week
AUGUSTA – Sophomore Joel Johnston grabbed his first Astro Turf/Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Week honor after a first place finish at Wingate’s Bulldog Stampede on Saturday.
From the start of the race, the transfer plowed through his competition and consistently held a 30-second gap between runners in the 8K and helped the Braves to a first place team finish.