BUENA VISTA, VA. – Freshman Trey Tillman's 16-yard scoring pass to senior Bryan Cain with 3:09 left enabled the Apprentice School to come from behind and knock off in-state rival Southern Virginia University 20-18 at Parry McCluer High School on Saturday.
The Builders opened the game scoring on their first possession driving 73 yards on eight plays as Tillman capped it off himself with a two-yard plunge. A roughing the passer penalty against the Knights helped keep the drive going which was followed by a 33-yard completion to Cain bringing the ball down to the SVU seven. One running play and another pass interference penalty later, Tillman bulled his way into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 9:38 left in the first.
Apprentice School's defense held firm on the first SVU possession forcing a fumble recovered by sophomore Robert Balarabe on the Knight 24. The offense couldn't take advantage and turned the ball over on downs.
Each team traded possessions, before the Knights were able to pin the Builders on their two-yard line after a 45-yard punt from Matt Mellor. Southern Virginia turned that into their first points as Luke Herndon sacked Tillman in the end zone for a safety cutting the lead to 7-2 with 2:47 left.
The Knights then took the ensuing possession and went 49 yards on four plays as Steven Andreasen scampered in from the three yard line to give the hosts a 9-7 lead with 1:13 left.
Apprentice School bounced back quickly as freshman Izhia Roundtree broke through several tacklers and took off on a 35-yard scoring run to close out the first quarter putting the Builders ahead 14-9.
No one punched it in during the second quarter and it took until the last 30 seconds of the third before the Knights regained the lead. Southern Virginia took advantage of a fumbled punt return gaining possession on their 40 with 1:41 left. Steven Scott started the drive with a 35-yard run bringing the ball down to the Builder 25. A pass interference penalty on the Builders moved the ball to their 13 before quarterback Zach Garner found Christopher Harper on a 13-yard scoring pass with 29 seconds left to put SVU ahead 15-14 after the extra-point attempt was blocked by James Lee.
In the fourth quarter, the Knights held the Builders on their first possession and went on a 53-yard drive bringing the ball down to the Builder nine. A delay of game penalty pushed the ball back to the 14 before Tyler Bowen connected on a 32-yard field goal with 7:09 left putting the hosts ahead 18-14.
Apprentice School then went on a 75-yard drive on nine plays to take the lead. Tillman was 5-for-7 on that drive finding Cain on three passes including the final one hitting him in the back of the end zone for the eventual winning touchdown with 3:09 left.
Tillman threw for 188 yards on the day, while Roundtree was the leading rusher in the game carrying 22 times for 85 yards. Bryan Shahlamian was the leading receiver with six catches for 69 yards, while Johnathan Jones topped the defense with nine tackles.
"The whole team saw adversity throughout the game and never gave up, they never stopped fighting," said Apprentice School coach Michael Vite. "Defensively they stepped up and stopped several fourth down attempts, offensively we took control on that last scoring drive, and overall it was a great win for everyone involved."
The Builders now travel to LaGrange, Georgia on October 30 as they'll face the LaGrange Panthers at 1 pm.