Appy State rallies to beat Bucs

By Seth Bartee
STAR CORRESPONDENT
BOONE, N.C. -- It's hard for ETSU football to try to find something to hang their hats on. Coach Hamilton thought that his team had found something in the first half of Saturday's game against struggling Appalachian State.
At halftime the Buccaneers led the Mountaineers 7-0. But the second half saw the Bucs lose their 7-0 lead quickly. The Mountaineers eventually beat the Bucs 21-7 despite a slow first half that saw ETSU ahead of them in all categories.
"I cannot say enough words about this team," said Hamilton. "You cannot imagine the heart and commitment each of these kids puts into a game."
In the first half ETSU stopped ASU's running game down, only allowing them 54 yards. Defensively, inside linebacker Mike Cullen continued to lead the Bucs. Cullen halted an ASU drive when he sacked QB Richie Williams in the ETSU 30-yard line.
The Bucs found a way to score on an 18-play drive that saw Andre Brooks score on a second and goal from two yards out with 4:52 left in the second half.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Scott Butler and Dobyns-Bennett graduate started for the Bucs Saturday. He threw for 10 yards and rushed for 16 yards.
"I was excited to start and felt pretty good out there," said Butler.
Even though there was a fresh face on the field in the QB position, the Bucs saw a similar outcome.
Both ETSU QBs in the second half only threw for a combined 18 yards.
"We can't overcome the first eight minutes in the third quarter," said Hamilton.
ASU blew out the Bucs in third quarter, scoring all of their 21 points in under seven minutes.
ASU quarterback Richie Williams scored first for the Mountaineers on a 40 yard run with 11:25 left in the third quarter. Williams then put the Mountaineers on the board again with 8:29 on a one yard run in the end zone.
The second ASU touchdown was recovered after punter Jon Godfrey had a punt blocked for the third straight game turning the game in the Mountaineers direction.
"It's a good thing I'm fired already because if I wasn't I would be after having three straight games with blocked punts," said Hamilton. "There is a trend in our last few games, every time a punt is blocked we lose momentum."
Gaven Varner rushed for 104 yards Saturday.
"We have to find some way to put points on the board," said Varner. "I don't mind running a lot. I will do whatever we have to do to win."
ASU scored again in the third as Richie Williams connected on a 36-yard pass to Sterling Hayward to put the Mountaineers up 21-7.
"We work more on the punting game than I did when at the Air Force Academy," said Hamilton. "We will definitely have a different punting scheme the next game. It slices my heart to be 2-4 but it just can't be helped this season."
The Bucs will face Liberty on Oct. 18 at home on ETSU's last homecoming game.