LONG ISLAND, NY – Winston-Salem State battled back from a 17 point halftimes deficit to outscore Long Island Post, 24-14 in the second half, but fell just short, as the Rams would fall 48-41 to the Pioneers on Saturday afternoon at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium in Brookville, NY.
The Rams season comes to and end at 9-3, while the LIU Post Pioneers improve to 12-0, and advance to the second round of the NCAA DII Playoffs.
The WSSU Rams were able to score first, when Jayron Rankin picked off a LIU pass and returned it 35 yards for a score, with a little more than 1:34 seconds into the game. Will Johnson converted the PAT, to the WSSU up 7-0.
Long Island answered back with a 10 yard pass and catch for a touchdown, as Jeff Kidd hooked up with Shane Hubbard for the score to tie the game at 7-7.
The Pioneers scored again in the first quarter, when Kidd found Kyle Ward from 23 yards out, to give the Pioneers a 14-7 advantage.
The second quarter would be all Pioneers, as LIU Post would score 21 straight points to blow the game open. Malik Pierre would score twice, from 2 yards and 5 yards out, and Jeff Kidd would find James Higgins for a 35 yard touchdown catch to put LIU Post up 34-14.
As time would run out in the first half, WSSU's Will Johnson, would connect on a 29 yard field goal, to cut into the LIU Post lead, 34-17.
The WSSU Rams came out in the third quarter and immediately drove the ball down the field, and capped an 11 play, 80 yard drive with a Kerrion Moore four yard run, to pull with 10 points at 34-24.
But LIU was not ready to give in, and answered the Rams with two straight scores to open up a commanding 48-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With 11:23 left to play in the contest, Kerrion Moore crossed the goal line once again on a two yard run, and Will Johnson would connect on a 28 yard field goal with 6:32 left to play to pull the Rams with 14 at 48-34.
WSSU would line up for the kickoff, and attempted their first onside kick of the season, and it would be successful, as Quincy Jackson would pounce on the loose football after the pooch kick, to give the Rams the ball, and keep their hopes alive.
But unfortunately for the WSSU Rams and their faithful followers, they would not get the ball back, as the Pioneers would convert on four first downs and run out the clock, giving the Rams a heartbreaking 48-41 loss.
For WSSU, the Rams were led in rushing by Kerrion Moore, who topped the 1,000 yard makr on the day by rushing 25 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Rod Tinsley added five carries for 29 yards and Xavier Quick rushed three times for eight yards.
Rod Tinsley went 17 of 33 passing for 278 yards, with two touchdown passes and two intercpetions. Tinsley had a long throw of 49 yards on the afternoon.
Quincy Jackson led the Rams receivers with four catches for 98 yards and one touchdown, while Will Walton also had four catches for 79 yards. Reggie Wilkins finished with three receptions for 41 yards and Canard Brown had three catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. Demeeko Jones also had three catches for 25 yards.
Will Johnson punted four times for a 37 yard average, with one touchback and one inside of the 20 yard line. Johnson also connected on two of two field goals on the day.
Defensively, Jayron Rankin led the Rams with 11 tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and one interception that he returned 35 yards for a score. Xavier Gregory added nine tackles, including one sack, one tackle for a loss and one pass breakup, while Cameron Sullivan also finished with nine tackles. Josh Martin finished with eight tackles, and PJ Clyburn added seven tackles and 0.5 tackle for a loss. Kyrell Williamson added six tackles and Tyrell Flemming finished with five tackles and one blocked kick.