FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Nicholas Searcy and Brendon Scott combined for 252 rushing yards and three touchdowns as LaGrange beat Methodist 39-30 on Sept. 16 in a USA South game. The victory was the first of the season for the Panthers (1-2, 1-0 USA South) and for new head coach Steve Pardue.
"I'm proud of the way the kids fought today," Pardue said. "We had a great week of preparation and then we get down but we responded well to the adversity. For most of the second half, we played with a ton of energy. We need to learn to play at a high level for four quarters."
Searcy ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns while Scott had 119 yards that included a 50-yard run for a touchdown. It was the first time since the 2012 season the Panthers had a 100-yard rusher in a game and two in a game. The 234 yards rushing as a team was the 10th most in a game for LC.
"We had really emphasized running the football during practice," Pardue said. "I thought the offensive line did a great job in the second half."
Methodist (0-3, 0-1 USA South) took a quick 7-0 lead when Tristan Ellerbe returned an intercepted Connor Blair pass 23 yards for the score. Scott set up the Panthers with great field position with a 61-yard kickoff return. Blair threw a 7-yard pass to Marcus Campbell, cutting the Monarchs' lead to 7-6.
Trailing 14-6 in the second quarter, Blair hooked up with Kiontai Button on a 45-yard scoring play. The two-point conversion failed as the Panthers trailed by two at halftime.
The Monarchs took advantage of another Panther turnover in the third quarter to extend their lead to 21-12. LC responded with four straight scoring drives.
Searcy ripped off a 35-yard run that drew the Panthers within two, 21-19. On the next drive, Scott burst right up the middle for his touchdown run to give the Panthers their first lead, 26-21. Blair threw his third touchdown of the game, a 24-yard strike to Djeimon Owens as the Panthers took a 32-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Searcy capped his career day with a 25-yard touchdown run as the Panthers opened up a 39-21 lead. Methodist got a touchdown later in the quarter and the Panthers took an intentional safety on the final play of the game for the 39-30 final. It is the first win in six tries for LC against Methodist.
Ryan led the LC defense with nine tackles, including a quarterback sack. Xavier Coaxum had eight tackles, while Demetrius Rodgers had his first career interception.