BY DARREN REESE
Tusculum head coach Frankie DeBusk wasn't too happy with how his young receiving corps played a week ago, dropping 15 passes in a loss to Catawba.
One of the Pioneers' most experienced players at the position took it upon himself to do something about it Saturday afternoon.
Junior Xzanvion Smith scored four touchdowns - two on kick-off returns and two on receptions - in the span of 13 minutes, 50 seconds in the first half to power Tusculum to a 49-39 homecoming victory over Brevard at Pioneer Field.
Smith set a school record for single game all-purpose yards with 311.
"Xzanvion Smith is a great kid and I like when good things happen for good people," Tusculum head coach Frankie DeBusk said. "He's been a mainstay for us offensively all year, making big plays when we needed him to. Today, when he got his hands on the football, he made very big plays."
The big plays were necessary as Brevard answered the Pioneers score for score in the early going.
Tusculum (2-3, 1-1 South Atlantic Conference) led 21-20 early in the second quarter and then ran off 28 straight points during an out-burst that stretched into the third.
Brevard (0-5, 0-3) scored the final three touchdowns of the game against a Tusculum defense that was exhausted from being on the field for 87 offensive plays on the day.
The Tornadoes finished with a 460-394 advantage in offensive yards, but Tusculum added 170 yards on five kick returns.
The game also featured a record-setting effort from Tusculum's Brian Marshall. The senior running back tallied 74 yards rushing and 65 yards receiving, which made him the first player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in both categories for his career.
Tusculum junior quarterback Bo Cordell completed 20-of-27 passess for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Cordell needs just 46 passing yards next week against UNC-Pembroke to become the all-time career leader in South Atlantic Conference history.
"Bo made big plays and played really, really well today," DeBusk said. "I thought we had a good game plan offensively."
The Pioneers had scored just one touchdown in thier four first quarters this season, but early-game woes weren't a problem against Brevard.
The fireworks started midway through the opening period when the two teams combined to score three touchdowns in a 29-second span.
Smith ignited the outburst when he took a short pass from Cordell and weaved his way 51 yards for a score. Andre Overholt returned to ensuing kick-off 91 yards to the 1 for Brevard, and Jordan Ollis ran it in on the very next play to tie the game. Not to be out-done, Smith took the Tornadoes next kick-off and darted 79-yards to paydirt.
Brevard answered with a nine-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by a four-yard touchdown by Aaron Reese. A missed extra-point try left the score at 14-13 with 3:34 left in the first quarter. Smith then went to work again, returning the ensuing kick-off 83 yards for a score.
"Great blocking and big holes," Smith said. "It was easy. I'm excited for everybody on the team, not just myself. We lacked a little intensity last week, but that wasn't the case today."
"We've done a lot of running in practice," he grinned. "A lot of running. Hopefully this is something we can build on."
Ollis scored on a one-yard run for the Tornadoes early in the second, but Smith and Justin Houston both caught touchdown passes from Cordell to make it 35-20 in favor of the home team at the break.
The Pioneer offense kept rolling in the third quarter, putting together two touchdown drives in the first 4:05 of the second half. Chad Blakely and B.J. Spradlin capped them with runs of six and two yards, respectively.
The quick-strike scoring by the Pioneers meant their defense was on the field for extended periods of time. Brevard held an overwhelming 39:07-20:53 advantage in time of possession.
Reese, Dominique Lesine and Derek Church all had touchdown runs for the Tornadoes in the final 19:55 of the game. They came on scoring drives of 13, 8 and 9 plays, respectively.
Lesine finished with 139 yards on 19 carries to lead a Brevard rushing attack that piled up 423 yards.
"Our defense doesn't get to prepare against the option at all, and (Brevard) ran that at us a ton today," DeBusk. "When we do what we do offensively, and score as quickly as we do, time of possession is going to be hard to judge."
Brevard 13 7 7 12--39
Tusculum 21 14 14 0--49
TC - Xzanvion Smith 51 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick)
BC - Jordan Ollis 1 yd run (Ben Noboa kick)
TC - Xzanvion Smith 79 yd kickoff return (Logan Cornelius kick)
BC - Aaron Reese 4 yd run (Ben Noboa kick blocked)
TC - Xzanvion Smith 83 yd kickoff return (Logan Cornelius kick)
BC - Jordan Ollis 1 yd run (Ben Noboa kick)
TC - Xzanvion Smith 18 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick)
TC - Justin Houston 6 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick)
TC - Chad Blakely 6 yd run (Logan Cornelius kick)
TC - BJ Spradlin 2 yd run (Logan Cornelius kick)
BC - Aaron Reese 3 yd run (Ben Noboa kick)
BC - Dominique Lesine 7 yd run (Ben Noboa kick blocked)
BC - Derek Church 3 yd run (Aaron Reese rush failed)
First Downs 26 16
Passing (Att-Com-Int) 10-5-0 27-20-0
Yds. Passing 45 322
Yds. Rushing 415 72
Total Offense 460 394
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Penalties 4-30 5-44
Punt Avg. 2-43.5 4-43.5
Rushing: Brevard-Dominique Lesine 19-139; Andre Overholt 6-63; Aaron Reese 17-58; Jordan Ollis 14-53; Derek Church 15-51; Modzelle Atkins 5-44; Kris Payne 1-7. Tusculum-Brian Marshall 11-74; Chad Blakely 3-15; BJ Spradlin 2-8; Trey McCoy 1-1; TEAM 3-minus 7; Bo Cordell 4-minus 19.
Passing: Brevard-Aaron Reese 5-10-0-45. Tusculum-Bo Cordell 20-27-0-322.
Receiving: Brevard-Eric Watts 2-18; Dominique Lesine 1-12; Jordan Ollis 1-8; Derek Church 1-7. Tusculum-Xzanvion Smith 6-149; Brian Marshall 5-65; Justin Houston 3-47; Kyle Dickey 2-29; Chad Blakely 2-14; Matt Levine 1-11; Ken Funnye 1-7.