Sports (747)

The Catawba Valley Community College women’s basketball team dropped a close 70-63 conference game against Bryant & Stratton on Sunday afternoon at the Tarlton Complex.

With the loss, the Red Hawks drop to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in Region X play.

Sophomore Sherry Johnson powered CVCC in the contest with 17 points and 19 rebounds — her fifth double-double this season — while freshman Aniya Taylor added 16 points.

After a back-and-forth first half that saw the Red Hawks lead by as many as 10 points, Catawba Valley held a 30-29 advantage at halftime against Bryant & Stratton.

The Bobcats (10-0, 7-0 in Region X) responded quickly in the third quarter, capitalizing on foul trouble by CVCC forward Zharia Brown to go on an 8-0 run and into the lead for good in the game.

Taylor attempted to keep the Red Hawks in the game, scoring 14 of her 16 points during the second half, but CVCC made just 24 of its 64 field goal attempts (37.5 percent) and was unable to fight back from its deficit.

Serenity Turnbull and Tyriyanna Owens both scored 13 points to lead the Bobcats in the victory.

The next CVCC women’s basketball game takes place on Jan. 2, 2019 in a road make-up contest against Division I Walters State. Tip off for that contest in Morristown, Tenn. is set for 5:30 p.m.

The R+L New Orleans Bowl turned into a season-ending coronation for the Sun Belt champions.

Malik Williams and the rest of the Mountaineers threw quite a Black and Gold party in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Williams delivered two trick-play touchdowns on wide receiver passes, including one to quarterback Zac Thomas, and the defense made several important stops under tough circumstances to help Appalachian State maintain its perfect bowl record with a 45-13 victory against Middle Tennessee on Saturday night.

With App State alum Mark Ivey serving as the interim head coach, college teammate Shawn Clark making aggressive play calls for the offense and 23-year App State assistant Dale Jones coordinating the defense, the Mountaineers (11-2) rolled after persevering through a slow start against the Conference USA runners-up.

"We knew, as tough as these players were, if they smelled any fear or weakness or confusion out of us, you can't fake it," Ivey said. "We decided we'd have fun with it and make sure they'd get exactly what they've been getting all along. If we did that, they'd give us exactly what they've been giving. That's what they did, and they were phenomenal."

App State is the only FBS program with no losses or ties in at least four bowl appearances, and it has accomplished that feat in just four postseason-eligible seasons. It also matched the 2015 team for the best final record since the transition.

Appalachian led 24-6 at halftime Saturday even though Middle Tennessee (8-6) reached the App State 30 on four first-half drives, with Josh Thomas' red zone interception in the first quarter serving as a key momentum swing, and senior Okon Godwin accounted for 2.5 of the defense's six sacks. Anthony Flory, Demetrius Taylor and Chris Willis contributed in that category, and Tae Hayes also posted a first-half interception.

In addition to becoming the first App State quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in at least 35 yards, New Orleans Bowl MVP Zac Thomas threw three touchdown passes, including his ninth and 10th connections of the season with Corey Sutton. With Thomas Hennigan catching Williams' first touchdown pass and Henry Pearson also scoring on a Thomas throw, the Mountaineers totaled five TDs through the air.

Darrynton Evans rushed for 108 yards to go over 100 for the seventh time in the last nine games, and true freshman Camerun Peoples' 63-yard score on his second carry of the night gave the Mountaineers a 38-6 lead midway through the third quarter.

"The culture we have here at App State, you really can't explain it," said two-year captain MyQuon Stout, whose work at nose tackle played a key role for a defense that didn't allow 20 points in any of the team's 11 wins. "It's great coaches, great staff, great players. We break it down on 'Family' every day, like two or three times a day. We really care about each other and work hard for each other."

App State's first two touchdowns came on passes from Williams, but two turnovers in the first five offensive plays created an uphill battle for the Mountaineers.

Middle Tennessee, which had missed a 47-yard field goal to cap the game-opening series, followed a quick interception on App State's first series with a 24-yard field goal. The Blue Raiders faced a second down from the Appalachian 5 before Godwin and Noel Cook combined on a tackle for loss, and Desmond Franklin broke up a third-down pass to the end zone.

A fumble on the second play of App State's next series gave Middle Tennessee possession at the Mountaineers' 21, but Cook's pressure contributed to an interception by Josh Thomas at the 15 as left-handed quarterback Brent Stockstill rolled to his right.

"Making turnovers, that's just what our defensive backs have talked about all year," Thomas said. We're real greedy when it comes to picks."

Zac Thomas' 35-yard completion to Jalen Virgil was the big play on a drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal from Chandler Staton, whose kick followed a long snap from fill-in true freshman Max Durschlag.

Hennigan and Tyler Bird helped stuff a fourth-and-2 rush on a fake punt from the Middle Tennessee 43 a few minutes later, and Hennigan gave the Mountaineers the lead for good with a 30-yard touchdown on an accurate deep throw from Williams, the former high school quarterback who had caught a backward pass from Thomas near the right sideline.

That was the second time in two seasons that App State had scored with Hennigan catching a pass from Williams, whose next TD throw of the night followed a Hayes interception that resulted from Elijah Diarrassouba's quarterback pressure.

"Before the game, Coach (Justin Watts) told me I was going to have two passing touchdowns before this game was over," Williams said. "After that, I told Zac it felt better throwing him a touchdown than receiving one from him."

In last year's bowl win, Williams tried to throw a short touchdown pass to quarterback Taylor Lamb but kept the ball for a score when Lamb was unavailable as a target. On Saturday, after taking a reverse handoff from Evans, Williams rolled right and lofted an 8-yard touchdown pass to Thomas in the right side of the end zone for a 17-3 advantage with 6:38 remaining in the half.

The only other touchdown with an App State quarterback reaching the end zone on a pass play in recent memory occurred in 2010, when DeAndre Presley was credited with a TD "reception" on a play in which he recovered his receiver's fumble against Chattanooga and ran the final 33 yards with the ball.

"I've had my eyes on that play for a while, so today it was the perfect call," Thomas said.

Evans' 62-yard run set up Pearson's 1-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the half, and Middle Tennessee advanced to the Appalachian 16 before settling for a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

Clark, App State's run game coordinator and offensive line coach before Scott Satterfield's departure created the need for a new play-caller, had planned to coach from the seventh-floor booth for one half and then make a decision about the second half. He stayed upstairs instead of returning to his familiar spot on the sidelines, in part so he could maintain his bigger-picture approach to directing the offense.

"I knew if I was on the sideline I'd be more involved watching the offensive line than trying to watch the whole game," Clark said. "For me personally, I had to get away from it. (QB coach) Pete Thomas did a great job, and it was the offensive staff calling the plays. I told them that it can't be hectic on the headset. We're going to think about it, and we're going to take our shots, and we're going for broke."

The view from the top of the Superdome remained just as clear after halftime.

The Mountaineers marched 75 yards in 10 plays to begin the third quarter, with Sutton catching a 17-yard touchdown pass from Thomas, and back-to-back sacks of Stockstill led to a punt that paved the way for Peoples to make his bowl debut.

Able to not lose a year of eligibility because he was playing in just his third game, Peoples gained 1 yard on his first carry before breaking free down the right sideline on his 63-yard score.

"The feeling is indescribable," Peoples said. "I've been preparing all year, waiting on it. With the redshirt rule, I've been patient, waiting my turn. To get in, see that opening, I'm asking God to give me everything in my legs and let me get in this end zone. The bulls up front, they did a great job, so it's really just a team thing."

Middle Tennessee posted a third-quarter touchdown to cut into its deficit, but App State's defense applied constant pressure to Stockstill the rest of the way, and Sutton capped the scoring on an 11-yard touchdown with 13:06 remaining.

Willis and Godwin recorded sacks on the next series, enabling App State's coaches to play senior quarterback Zeb Speir, senior receiver Brad Absher and many other reserves in the closing minutes.

As time wound down, players repeatedly chanted Ivey's name. He was even lifted into the air and carried across part of the field.

As the celebratory, Ivey-led song suggests, it wasn't nothin' but an App State party.

That's all for a memorable, record-setting 2018 season

"For me personally, this was my last game," Godwin said, "and I just wanted to leave everything on the field."



App State is the only FBS program with no losses or ties in at least four bowl appearances, and it has accomplished that feat in just four postseason-eligible seasons. It won the Dollar General Bowl in 2017 following back-to-back Camellia Bowl wins in 2016 and 2015.

Thanks to a 34-0 shutout of Toledo in 2017 and a 45-13 win against Middle Tennessee, App State has outscored its last two bowl opponents 79-13.

The Mountaineers are 47-11 in their last 58 games. They won the last six games of their FBS debut in 2014 before going 11-2 in 2015, 10-3 in 2016, 9-4 in 2017 and 11-2 this season.

App State's 41 wins in the last four seasons lead Group of Five programs and is tied for sixth place nationally, topped only by Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia.

App State had five touchdown passes Saturday and allowed just eight all season.

App State finished with season with 37 offensive plays of at least 30 yards and only 10 plays of at least 30 yards allowed. The Mountaineers allowed just one play of at least 50 yards — a 57-yard gain by Georgia Southern.

Of the 22 starters for App State on offense and defense Saturday, only one offensive starter and three defensive starters were seniors.


App State didn't allow 20 points in any of its 11 wins this season. Discarding a non-offensive touchdown by Coastal Carolina, Appalachian's defense allowed an average of 10.5 points in the team's victories.

With 73 interceptions in the last four seasons, App State ranks first nationally, one ahead of San Diego State's 72. Josh Thomas and Tae Hayes intercepted passes Saturday.

Senior defensive end Okon Godwin recorded career highs of 2.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss in his final college game. His previous single-game highs were one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Outside linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither had a team-high 10 tackles to give him 105 for the season.

True freshman defender Hansky Paillant made his App State debut in the fourth quarter.


App State lost only five fumbles all season, and its running backs didn't fumble a single time in 417 rushing attempts that gained 2,533 yards. The running backs in 2018 were Jalin Moore, Darrynton Evans, Marcus Williams Jr., Camerun Peoples, Daetrich Harrington, D'Andre Hicks and DeMarcus Harper.

For the fifth straight year, App State's offensive line will rank in the top 25 nationally in both rushing yards per game and fewest sacks allowed. The Mountaineers rushed for 233 yards Saturday and didn't allow a sack.

Running back Darrynton Evans rushed for 1,187 yards as a sophomore even though he didn't become App State's primary back until the fifth game, when Jalin Moore suffered a season-ending injury. Evans had at least 100 rushing yards in seven of the Mountaineers' last nine games.

With two touchdown receptions, Corey Sutton increased his season total to 10, the highest mark at App State since Brian Quick had 11 in 2011. Sutton's total ranks fifth in App State's single-season records.

Zac Thomas finished his first season as an FBS starting quarterback with 2,039 passing yards, 21 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. He rushed for 504 yards.

Left tackle Victor Johnson returned to the starting lineup after missing the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game with an injury, giving him 38 starts in 39 games over the last three seasons, but Cole Garrison filled in at left tackle after the first series.


Senior long snapper Elias McMurry, who had held that position for each of the last 51 games, sat out the bowl win with an injury. True freshman Max Durschlag snapped on field goals and extra points, and true freshman Keaton Forbes snapped on App State's only punt.

Clayton Howell's only punt was a 60-yard kick that A.J. Beach downed at the 1-yard line.

The Catawba Valley Community College men’s basketball team defeated visiting Johnston Community College 86-70 on Saturday afternoon during the final day of the CVCC Christmas Classic at the Tarlton Complex.

With the win, the Red Hawks (10-1) match their win total from just one season ago.

Catawba Valley built a comfortable 34-20 lead with six minutes to go in the first half against Johnston, but a barrage of 3-pointers by the Jaguars’ Kavon Ward and Josiah Simmons and a scoreless drought by CVCC in the final two minutes, 48 seconds helped Johnston pull within 38-34 of CVCC by halftime.

Sophomore forward Isayah Johnson, who sat out most of the first half with early foul trouble, returned to the Catawba Valley line up with a vengeance in the second half. Johnson and fellow sophomore Jordan Powell helped their team go on an 11-1 scoring run to start the half — a spurt that carried the Red Hawks through the rest of the game.

Powell scored a team-high 25 points — 17 of them in the second half — to lead the Red Hawks, and Johnson recorded 15 of his 17 points in Saturday’s game during the second half. The 20-point performance by Powell is his third and four games.

Ward helped keep the Jaguars (2-10) within striking distance by scoring a game-high 31 points, including eight made 3-pointers, but his performance would not be enough for Johnston to rally.

Freshman Jahleer Black also reached double figures in scoring for CVCC with 11 points.

The CVCC men’s basketball team returns to the court on Tuesday. The Red Hawks travel to Raleigh, N.C. to face Wake Tech (6-5, 5-0) in a 7 p.m. contest featuring the top two teams in the Region X standings.

Sunday, 16 December 2018 21:41

App State Men's Basketball Lose At South Florida

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Appalachian State men's basketball trimmed a 12-point second half deficit to as little as three points, but came up on the short end of a 76-69 decision at South Florida on Saturday afternoon.

With 4:51 remaining in the game, the Bulls (7-2) opened a 69-57 lead on a three-pointer by Alexis Yetna. From there, App State (4-6) scored the next nine points to trim the USF lead to 69-66 with 1:39 left in the game.

South Florida answered with the next three points, before a free throw from Isaac Johnson pulled the Black and Gold back to within five points at 72-67 with 35 seconds left. USF came right back with a pair of free throws, but App State got two freebies from Justin Forrest with 25 seconds left to trim its deficit to 74-69.

The Mountaineers fouled again and David Collins of USF hit two free throws with 19 seconds to play. The Mountaineers came down and a three-pointer by Forrest was no good. The Bulls grabbed the rebound and hung on for the victory.

A layup by Ronshad Shabazz at the 12:58 mark of the first half gave the Mountaineers a 14-12 advantage. The Bulls responded with the next 14 points to build a 26-14 lead. USF was able to take as large of a lead as 15 points in the first half, but App State cut its deficit to nine points, 38-29, at the break.

Shabazz tallied a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) shooting, to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Also in the game, he moved into fifth place on the all-time scoring list, passing Billy Ross (1,656).

Forrest tallied 13 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 shooting at the charity stripe, while adding two assists and two steals.

Isaac Johnson finished with six points and 10 rebounds, marking the third time in the past four games he has had double digit rebounds. Hunter Seacat added a career-high five blocked shots.

Laquincy Rideau finished with a game-high 18 points for the Bulls. Yetna added 13 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, while Xavier Castaneda had 12 points and three rebounds off the bench.

App State went 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) from the field and 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

Appalachian State will return to action on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Georgetown. The contest will be broadcast on FS1.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Team dropped its second straight contest, falling by a final score of 74-69 on Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference play at Anderson. Anderson started hot and scored 44 points in the first half to claim the victory.

Djibril Diallo was outstanding for the Bears in a losing effort as the senior guard finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He was one of four Bears to score in double digits on the day.

Mason Hawks tied his second-highest scoring output of the season with 11 points. Hawks knocked down a trio of triples in the game.

Cory Thomas (11) and R.J. Gunn (10) also scored in double figures for LR who dropped its third game in their last four contests after starting 7-0.

The hosts were paced by Gage Ellis who poured in a game-high 25 points and added 10 boards for the double-double. Teammate Shawn Bernard was one rebound shy of his own double-double, notching 17 points and nine rebouds.

LR shot 43.5 percent. from the field in the game and hit just 6-of-22 from long range (27.3 percent).

After shooting just 27.3 percent from long range in a loss to Clayton St., the Bears would rebound to convert 45 percent from long range in this one.

Anderson entered the game off a tough 102-101 double overtime loss to SAC power Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday night.

LR falls to 8-3 overall, 2-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears returns to action when they travel to Belmont Abbey on Wednesday. Tip off is scheduled for 12:30.

Sunday, 16 December 2018 21:25

Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Falls at Anderson

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The Lenoir-Rhyne University Women's Basketball Team traveled down to Anderson, S.C. for a South Atlantic Conference match up with the Anderson Trojans, where the home team defeated the Bears and snapped their four-game winning streak, 70-59, on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears were led by a season-and-career high performance from freshman Madeline Hardy, who led all scorers with 21 points – 13 in the first half alone. The only other Bear to put up a double-digit scoring effort was senior Kendall Toineeta (17).

LR came into the game as an elite free throw shooting team, but only hit 50 percent of their shots (7-of-14) from the free throw line.

Neither team shot it well as the Bears limited the Trojans from deep (4-of-18 for 22 percent) and LR only hit four of its 17 attempts (23.5 percent).

The lone category the Bears held the advantage was in overall shooting percentage, 40.7 to 39.7.

The Bears loss ended the four-game winning streak and gave them their first blimish on the road, now standing at a 3-1 mark in true road games.

With the win the Trojans have a perfect 3-0 mark in SAC play.

The Bears are 6-4 overall and 2-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. L-R will look to get back in the win column with a nonconference contest against Lees-McRae on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Sunday, 16 December 2018 21:22

CVCC Men's Basketball Defeats Central Carolina CC

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The Catawba Valley Community College men’s basketball team stretched its winning streak to six games with an 89-74 victory against Central Carolina Community College on Friday during the first day of the CVCC Christmas Classic.

Isayah Johnson scored 18 points to lead the Red Hawks, who set a new program record for best start to a season (9-1).

CVCC powered ahead of the Cougars at halftime, leading 48-27. Sophomore forward Jordan Powell scored 11 of his 13 points to help the Red Hawks gain the early advantage.

Despite its halftime lead, Catawba Valley struggled early in the second half, but Johnson powered his team down the stretch, scoring 14 of his 18 points during the half en route to the victory.

Rodney Alston scored a game-high 23 points, including making five 3-pointers, to lead Central Carolina (9-5).

Girls basketball:
Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference:
Draughn: 51
Hibriten: 45

East Burke: 54
Bunker Hill: 44

Patton: 67
West Iredell: 41

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference:
West Caldwell: 52
St. Stephens: 20

Forbush: 51
Maiden: 18

Hickory: 50
Statesville: 45

Newton-Conover: 56
Fred T. Foard: 46

North Iredell: 58
Alexander Central: 27

Boys basketball:
Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference:
Bunker Hill: 55
East Burke: 45

Draughn: 66
Hibriten: 56

Patton: 49
West Iredell: 40

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference:
St. Stephens: 55
West Caldwell: 54

Alexander Central: 67
North Iredell: 38

Hickory: 59
Statesville: 58

Maiden: 63
Forbush: 39

Newton-Conover: 79
Fred T. Foard: 73

Thursday, 13 December 2018 11:20

App State Football Hires Drinkwitz as New Head Coach

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With a track record and style that are ideal fits for Appalachian State’s high-scoring, championship-winning program, Eliah Drinkwitz has agreed to become the Mountaineers’ next head football coach.


Drinkwitz, 35, has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for record-setting NC State teams the past three seasons, as he joined the Wolfpack after excelling in a similar role at Group of Five conference power Boise State. His five-year contract, which runs through the 2023 season, was approved Thursday morning by Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees and is subject to North Carolina Board of Governors approval.


Drinkwitz will be introduced as the 21st head football coach in App State history on Monday in the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex. The Mountaineers play Middle Tennessee on Saturday night in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.


“I’m excited to welcome Eliah and his family to App Nation,” App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “The App State football program is in great position to continue its championship ways. Eliah is committed to excellence academically, competitively, socially and to the well-being of our student-athletes. There was significant interest in our process throughout a national search. Eliah has great character and a clear vision for the future of Mountaineer football. I’m excited about the future of our football program.”


From coaching in high school to both the Group of Five and Power Five levels in college, Drinkwitz has proven to be a consistent winner.


Drinkwitz has succeeded while running an offense similar to what App State has used in winning three straight Sun Belt Conference championships.


“My family and I are excited to embrace and build upon the proud tradition of Appalachian State Football,” Drinkwitz said. “I am thankful to the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Everts, Doug Gillin and the entire App Nation for the opportunity to be the head coach at this great university. This is a special time for App Nation, and we will work tirelessly to uphold the championship tradition.”


Drinkwitz graduated magna cum laude and served as the student body president at Arkansas Tech before beginning his coaching career in 2005, and he was a quality control assistant at Auburn when the Tigers won the 2010 national championship.


Drinkwitz was a key figure in back-to-back Sun Belt championships in 2012-13 as a running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, and he coached tight ends at Boise State in 2014 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Broncos in 2015.


He helped Boise State go 12-2 in 2014 en route to a Mountain West Championship and No. 16 final national ranking. As QB coach the next year, Drinkwitz helped the Bronco offense rank in the top 15 nationally in points per game (39.1) and yards per game (501.3), setting the stage for the Wolfpack of the ACC to bring him to North Carolina as NC State’s offensive coordinator.


Following a 9-4 season in 2017 with a 9-3 mark going into this year’s bowl game, NC State has posted back-to-back seasons of nine wins for the first time since 1991-92. Averaging 35.6 points per game this year, the Wolfpack has a 1,000-yard rusher for the third straight year, two 1,000-yard receivers and a quarterback with nearly 3,800 passing yards.


Under Drinkwitz’s direction, the Wolfpack offense rose from 63rd nationally in total offense in his first season to 25th in 2017 and 16th this season.


App State has increased its total to seven straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, and NC State has had a 1,000-yard rusher in each of Drinkwitz’s three seasons after going without one since 2002. The Wolfpack’s offense had three players taken in the 2018 NFL Draft.


A native of Norman, Okla., Drinkwitz and his wife, Lindsey, have three daughters: Addison, Emerson and Ella.


Drinkwitz’s Coaching Career:

2005 – Alma (Ark.) HS – Assistant Coach

2006-09 – Springdale (Ark.) HS – Offensive Coordinator

2010-11 – Auburn – Quality Control Assistant

2012 – Arkansas State – Running Backs

2013 – Arkansas State – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs

2014 – Boise State – Tight Ends

2015 – Boise State – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

2016-18 – NC State – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks


Drinkwitz’s Impact as OC (national ranks in parentheses):

Boise State (2015) – Total Offense (15), Scoring Offense (15)

NC State (2016) – Total Offense (63), Scoring Offense (75)

NC State (2017) – Total Offense (25), Scoring Offense (40)

NC State (2018) – Total Offense (16), Scoring Offense (22)


What They’re Saying about Drinkwitz:



Auburn head coach

“Appalachian State is not only getting a great coach, but an even better person. Eliah has a true gift to get the most out of his players on and off the field and will lead his team with great character and integrity. I'm very proud of him and excited to see the great things to come for Appalachian State Football.”



Former head coach, Iowa State and Auburn

2010 National Champion

“Eliah is a rising star in this profession. He is a great football coach, a great family man and will be a great mentor and role model for young people. He is a great offensive mind, very creative, innovative, detailed and thorough in his approach. He uses his personnel as effectively as anybody in the country. Appalachian State just hired a great leader of men!”



South Carolina head coach

“Eliah is an outstanding person and football coach. He creates major issues for you as a play caller. He has done a great job at NC State. Appalachian State is getting a great one.”



Wake Forest head coach

“Eliah Drinkwitz is one of the coordinators that I had the most respect for in the ACC. He has a proven ability to develop QB’s, and I always felt his game plans were creative and innovative. I believe Appalachian State University has made a great hire to lead its football program.”



Missouri head coach

“I’ve gotten to know Eliah over the past few years and am so impressed by his vision, work ethic and ability to relate to all. His abilities show through in the ways his team plays. He sees the big picture and will put his kids in a position to be successful in every area of their lives.”

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team has signed 18 players to dawn the Cardinal and Black starting in the 2020 season. This group of signees has given the Bears a nationally-ranked signing class, good for fourth in the entirety of Division II, according to Perfect Game.

The nationally-heralded class of 18 contains 12 nationally-rated prospects, according to the service. 10 of those 12 hail from inside the state of North Carolina. This group includes two right-handed pitchers, two catchers, four outfielders and four infielders (2B/SS/3B).

"We are incredibly excited to welcome this group of Bears to campus for the 2019-20 academic year," Head Coach Tom Fleenor said. "Assistant coaches Chaz Frank and Nick Flachofsky went above and beyond to secure this unbelievable collection of amazing young men. The future is incredibly bright for LR Baseball, on the field and off."

This class sits atop the South Atlantic Conference and only trails Young Harris College (third), USC-Aiken (second) and UC San Diego (top class overall). Carson-Newman is the closest and finds themselves in sixth place in the national rankings while sharing the same amount of national rated signees as Lenoir-Rhyne.

2019 LR Baseball Signing Class

Caleb Fluno
Max LeCroy
Ethan Smith
Jackson Benjamin
Joey Cobb
Chipper McGinnis
Jacob Campbell
Davis Turner
Dillon Taylor
Bryce Stober
Dayton Romig
Bryson Smith
Jackson Reid
Michael Misenheimer
Case Kermode
Andy Cook
Pres Cavenaugh
David Bell

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