OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Kneeling together in a huddle near their sideline while a teammate was being taken by stretcher to an awaiting ambulance, the Quincy University football players understood what came next could be seen as a defining moment.
"We always preach family and talk about family, but that was the time to prove it," sophomore linebacker Marvion Harris said.
This family stuck together.
Defensive end Marcell Scott suffered a serious leg injury on the first play of the second half Saturday with the Hawks trailing Kentucky Wesleyan 10-7. After a lengthy delay for trainers and medical personnel to tend to Scott, Harris intercepted a pass in the flat and returned to the Panthers' 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Jalen Griffin scored on a 1-yard run for the first of Quincy's four second-half touchdowns that cemented a 34-16 victory at Steele Stadium.
"That was a very, very big situation for us," said Harris, who had 10 tackles and two interceptions. "It impacted the team. (Scott) is our brother. He is our family. When he went down, we had to fight. We had to give the win to him."
It was only a portion of the resolve the Hawks were forced to show.
Quincy lost a pair of starting offensive linemen -- two-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection Justin Rosendahl and junior Mitch Carey -- to injuries in the first half, which contributed to the offense stalling following the first drive of the game.
"You never want to see things happen to the kids like they happened," QU coach Gary Bass said. "You never want to lose anyone to any kind of injury. But to watch how our guys rallied together to get things done shows you how they see this as a family."
A rally of any sort didn't appear necessary after the efficient way the Hawks opened the game.
A 13-play, 75-yard drive in which senior quarterback Andrew Rund completed all eight of his passes resulted in Melvin Brock catching a 13-yard hookup for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 3:55 into the game.
But on the next six drives before halftime, the Hawks managed 6 or fewer yards three times, lost a fumble on first and goal from the Panthers' 6-yard line and missed a 27-yard field goal. It all contributed to a 10-7 halftime deficit.
"We're seeing that we have some depth, but losing guys like we did goes beyond what they do on the field," Bass said. "It's a mentality thing, especially in Rosendahl's case. He sets the tone for what we do and is the leader out there."
Scott's injury felt like a double whammy then.
"Man, we really showed some resolve," Bass said.
One play epitomized it.
"It just gave us life," Harris said of his interception. "It showed us we could win this game, that we still had time."
All it took was for Harris to read Kentucky Wesleyan quarterback Wiley Cain's eyes and move to the spot he had locked in on. He stepped in front of the Panthers' Chauncey Greer to intercept the pass and set up the Hawks inside the red zone.
"I saw (Greer) out there and just had to get out on him," Harris said. "I broke on the ball and caught it."
As uplifting as it was for Quincy, it did little to demoralize Kentucky Wesleyan.
Two possessions after losing the lead, the Panthers blocked a Nathan Kewney punt and Jaylen Taylor returned it 51 yards for a go-ahead touchdown and 16-14 edge.
A six-play, 70-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard catch by Marlin Washington on third and 7 resulted in Griffin's second 1-yard touchdown run and the Hawks taking the lead for good. Washington caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and freshman running back Keenan Hailey had his first career score with a 5-yard run.
All together, it added up to 521 yards of total offense and the program's fourth straight victory dating back to last season.
"It was an ugly 521 yards," Bass said. "It shows you how we're progressing. It wasn't pretty, but we found a way to get it done."
Quincy 34, Kentucky Wesleyan 16
26 First downs 18
46-202 Rushes-yards 32-45
319 Passing yards 277
521 Total yards 322
24-41-2 Comp-Att-Int 29-48-3
14-136 Penalties-yards 12-159
3-3 Fumbles-lost 2-2
Quincy 7 0 14 13--34
Ky. Wesleyan 3 7 6 0--16
Q--Melvin Brock 13 pass from Andrew Rund (Michael Klotz kick), 11:05
KW--Chris Mangold 25 FG, :53
KW--Michael Walker 5 pass from Wiley Cain (Mangold kick), 2:27
Q--Jalen Griffin 1 run (Klotz kick), 13:55
KW--Jaylen Taylor 51 blocked punt return (Mangold kick), 10:25
Q--Griffin 1 run (Klotz kick), 8:34
Q--Marlin Washington 10 pass from Rund (Klotz kick), 9:09
Q--Keenan Hailey 5 run (kick failed), 6:41
RUSHING--Quincy, Griffin 21-129, Hailey 8-38, Rund 5-25, Oscee Calhoun 9-10, Brock 1-1, Burrows 1-1. Kentucky Wesleyan, Corey Johnson 10-31, Landon Newman 5-15, Dessi Austin 3-1, Cain 11-0, Brennen McGuire 1-0, Jatorian Dillard 2-(minus 2).
PASSING--Quincy, Rund 24-41-319-2. Kentucky Wesleyan, Cain 29-48-277-3.
RECEIVING--Quincy, Carlton Stamp 4-89, Washington 6-71, Brock 5-36, Chris Poindexter 1-34, Beau Kaffka 2-30, Brendan Gaston 2-26, Paul Sullivan 2-16, Brendan Lowery 1-15, Burrows 1-2. Kentucky Welseyan, De'Ondre Boggs 4-88, Michael Walker 3-50, Sam Thomas 4-35, McGuire 3-32, Peyton Peters 2-21, Newman 4-19, Jacob Yates 4-18, Javian Jackson 2-12, Austin 1-2, Johnson 2-0.