ROME - Every football team hopes to develop a balanced offense with a two-pronged attack of rushing and passing.
The Darlington Tigers seem to have found that perfect balance, thanks in large part to quarterback Nash Nance.
The junior signal caller did it all on Friday night, leading the Tigers to a 21-14 upset win over No. 9 Wesleyan at Chris Hunter Stadium. Nance had 136 yards passing and 62 yards rushing, and he had a part in all three Tiger scores.
Nance capped off his big night by rambling 42 yards on a quarterback keeper for the go-ahead touchdown with 6:27 left in the game. He then hit Collie Powers for the 2-point conversion to give the Tigers a seven-point cushion.
Darlington's defense then sealed the deal, with A.J. White and Will Jones coming up with big interceptions on Wesleyan's final two drives of the game.
Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen saw his team have some offensive balance as well, but crucial mistakes down the stretch cost the Wolves a chance to win.
"We're pretty balanced when we can execute, but we need to get better at that," Pridgen said. "We got a few big plays, but we didn't get some big stops when we needed to in the fourth quarter. And you can't turn the ball over against a good team like Darlington."
Wesleyan (1-1) took an early lead when quarterback Conor Welton hit Bobby Worthington for a 37-yard TD pass, and Spencer Short's extra point made it 7-0.
Nance answered for Darlington (1-1) when he scored on a 2-yard TD run later in the first quarter, and Ben Davidson's PAT made it 7-7.
The Tigers grabbed the lead right before halftime when Nance hit Will Orr with a 4-yard scoring strike. However, the snap on the PAT was fumbled, leaving the score 13-7.
Wesleyan went back in front with 9 minutes left in the game, when Lee Ellis caught a 14-yard TD pass from Welton, and the PAT gave the Wolves a 14-13 lead.
But Nance capped off a 65-yard drive with his long TD run on the Tigers' next drive, and Jones then picked off Welton on Wesleyan's next possession.
White then intercepted Welton at midfield with less than a minute remaining to secure the win.
Welton was 14-of-25 for 146 yards passing, while Kyle Karempelis had 69 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards to lead the Wolves.