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Reinvented Concord beats State 23-16

The traffic accident that sidelined its veteran quarterback did not change Concord's ultimate goals, of course, but it did bring some modifications to the offense.

Second-year coach Garin Justice, a former West Virginia University offensive lineman, seems to welcome the challenge.

"It's kind of fun as coaches to try and reinvent yourself,'' he said.

The new quarterback, redshirt freshman Albert Rose, adapted nicely to the revised approach Saturday afternoon at Lakin Field, scrambling for a touchdown and throwing for two others, to lead Concord to a 23-16 victory over West Virginia State. A crowd of about 450 attended.

Rose assumed the starting role Sept. 15 in the Mountain Lions' game against the University of Charleston, replacing senior Zack Grossi, who had thrown for more than 7,000 yards in his career but suffered season-ending injuries in a traffic accident Sept. 10.

Grossi's play last year helped the Mountain Lions to a West Virginia Conference championship - and helped them erase the memories of the 0-11 season of 2008.

Against State late in the first quarter on Saturday, Rose dropped back to pass but opted to run and sprinted 26 yards for a touchdown, tying the score at 7.

He connected with Calvinaugh Jones on a 28-yard TD pass with 15 seconds left in the first half, giving the Mountain Lions a 14-7 advantage, and hit Tiko Henderson on a 44-yard pass-and-run score late in the third quarter, snapping a 16-all tie.

Rose, an Orlando, Fla., resident whose father, Chris Rose, is a Charleston native, completed 11 of 17 passes for 129 yards with one interception and carried eight times for 68 yards.

"He can do some stuff with his legs,'' said Justice. "He scrambled for a touchdown and got a couple first downs. He's different than our other guy. He's a better runner. With the Grossi kid, we liked to throw it down the field a little more. Now we're more of a run-option-read type of offense. We do a little more of the spread concepts.''

"I thought we did very well,'' said Rose. "We executed the game plan the way the coaches wanted us to execute it.''

For the Yellow Jackets (1-3), it was the continuation of losing by margins of a touchdown or less. Last year, they suffered four such defeats en route to a 1-9 season.

"I thought we played pretty well,'' said State coach Earl Monroe, "but we can't keep blowing opportunities. There are no moral victories. We've got to get victories. We have to win football games. And when you look at it, it's one play here or one play there where we didn't do what we were supposed to do. We can't keep losing that way.''

Trailing 23-16 with 1:57 left in the game, State took possession at its 40 and drove to the Concord 28 with 49 seconds left. A personal-foul penalty, however, moved the ball back to the 43 and the threat died.

State quarterback Ricky Phillips completed 23 of 37 passes for 262 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown to Keionn Garrett. Phillips also ran 2 yards for a TD.           

"We're going to bring 'em back,'' said Monroe. "[Concord] was the conference champion, so maybe we'll feel we should be able to play with anybody in the league.''

Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhiteford@wvgazette.com.


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