As expected, an easy win for Catawba

By Ronnie Gallagher, The Salisbury Post

So why did head coach David Bennett have quarterback Scott Sensing take a knee each time and let the clock run out and the game with North Greenville end without getting any points?“One of our players asked me, ‘Coach, why don’t we want to score?’ ” Bennett said. “I told him, ‘Why do we need to score? Good gracious, we’re up 50 points.’ ”

59 to be exact.

North Greenville’s 0-7 Crusaders, who want desperately to join the South Atlantic Conference, got a good dose of what life might be like if its admittance ever comes to fruition. The 59-0 final could’ve been much worse.

Bennett actually showed some disdain for scoring at the end of the first half too, when the Indians let the clock run out again without trying a chip shot field goal.

But why did Catawba need to score? Good gracious, it was already up, 42-0.

At that point, Bennett’s main concern was playing time for all of the Indians and practically everyone but Maw Bennett herself got in on the action.

The offensive line so overwhelmed the young pups of North Greenville, it could have probably led his mother into the end zone. But the compassionate Bennett called off the dogs quickly and no one was more appreciative than North Greenville coach Joe Johnson.

“David’s a class act,” Johnson said. “But early on in his career ... well, he knows how it feels. He’s kinda been there, done that.”

Catawba used to give up 59 points when Bennett was an assistant but those days are long gone. The nationally fourth-ranked Indians (7-0 overall) did anything they wanted, any time they wanted and were so impressive so early that the third-stringers were playing in the first half.

“They were awesome,” marveled North Greenville’s best player Devon Wilson, who ran 12 times for minus-12 yards. “We watched them on film and knew they did everything to perfection. They have great team unity and are always where they’re supposed to be.”

In this case, they were always in the end zone. And they got there in a hurry. Anything more than a five-play drive was a surprise.

For instance, on Catawba’s second touchdown drive, it took four plays to score. Four first-down plays.

Cedric Squirewell caught a Luke Samples pass for 12 yards. Tony Hawkins ran for 19. Nick Means, who went over 100 career catches, latched on to a Samples throw for 16. And finally, Anthony Coulson went 19 yards up the gut for the score.

The drive took exactly one minute. And so it went.

On offense, seven different backs ran for at least 20 yards. At one point, it was an all-Davidson County backfield as Ledford’s Scott Sensing kept handing off to North Davidson’s Devan Hedrick and T.J. Lawson.

On defense, Shawn Sanders led the way with four tackles, a bad outing for the All-American on any other day. But he stood on the sidelines with the starters while a total of 20 — count ‘em, 20 — different defenders made tackles.

Although other SAC teams have scored more against his team (Mars Hill had 62 and Presbyterian had 61), there was no doubt in Johnson’s mind what team was his toughest opponent.

“Catawba is by far the best team we’ve played,” Johnson said. “They’re so balanced. And in terms of kicking, they’re the best we’ve seen. If somebody beats them, it would surprise me.”

Bennett sounded like a typical coach afterward.

“A game like this will scare you to death,” he admitted. “As a coach, you worry about your team taking them lightly because they haven’t won and you want to come out healthy.”

The highlight-reel play occurred with 6:31 left in the second quarter. Massive defensive lineman James McDowell scooped up a fumble on the North Greenville 12 and lumbered toward the end zone, dragging several Crusaders with him. The 300-pounder appeared to be wrapped up at the one but with the ball cupped in that big right paw, he stuck it over the goal line for the touchdown and was mobbed by his teammates.

“If I had been tackled on the one, I’d have been mad,” said a beaming McDowell. “That’s the first touchdown I’ve ever scored.”

Has Bennett found his own version of the Fridge?

“I don’t know about that,” Bennett laughed, “but that was an awesome play. James blocked a punt against them last year. If he gets his masters and doctorate, he could be the president of North Greenville.”

The Indians certainly owned that school Saturday.


NOTES: It was Catawba’s 23rd straight regular season win. ... Matt Gross hit eight extra points and a 22-yard field goal. ... Lawson, Mark Melvin and J.W. Petty all scored. ... Samples scored the game’s first touchdown and left early. ... Tight end Mark Sintich sprained an ankle and Austin Summers dislocated a knee. ... Catawba will face the opposite scenario next week when it travels to SAC power Carson-Newman for a 4 p.m. game.


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