J.C. Smith found a way to deal with adversity at the right time.
Matias Lambrecht’s 33-yard field goal on the final play lifted the Golden Bulls to a 31-28 home win against Elizabeth City State in the CIAA opener for both teams Saturday. J.C. Smith, which twice blew two-touchdown advantages, marched 73 yards in the final 89 seconds to earn its first win in the series since 2002.
“We’d go forward, then we’d go backward, but that’s the nature of the game,” Golden Bulls (1-3, 1-0) coach Kermit Blount said. “What we did today at the end of the game was something that we work on Thursdays, so it wasn’t a surprise to our young guys.”
Golden Bulls quarterback Harold Herbin, who took over as starter for the injured Jordan Lane (broken leg), sparked the final possession with 45 combined yards, including a 25-yard strike to Demarcus Berry at the Elizabeth City State 34. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved J.C. Smith into position for Lambrecht’s first successful field goal as a collegian.
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“As soon as they scored it was like ‘let’s go do it,’ ” said Herbin, who completed 15 of 22 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another. “My teammates picked me up and told me ‘we believe in you, take us down the field and let’s score.’ ”
The Golden Bulls went up 28-14 on Herbin’s 13-yard pass to Gabriel Yuille with 6:38 to play, but Elizabeth City State rallied with Quentin Williams’ 95-yard kick return for a score and Davion Council’s 6-yard run with 1:39 left. It turned out to be plenty of time for J.C. Smith to answer.
“It probably took my blood pressure up a little bit,” Blount said, “but at the same time, if we could get it down inside the 30-yard line, we knew Matias was good from there.”
Three who mattered
Herbin: J.C. Smith’s quarterback was an efficient offensive threat in his first start of the season, with 206 combined yards.
Carlo Thomas: The Golden Bulls safety’s fourth-quarter interception in the J.C. Smith end zone led to an 80-yard scoring drive and a 28-14 advantage.
Desean Binyard: J.C. Smith’s sophomore running back ran for a season-high 91 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
▪ The Golden Bulls, the worst rushing team in Division II at 5.3 yards per game, ran for a season-best 167 yards.
▪ J.C. Smith leads the all-time series between the schools 11-8.
▪ Lambrecht, who also handles punting chores for J.C. Smith, averaged 51 yards on five kicks.