Football overcomes mistakes to top PC 19-14

   SALISBURY, NC – Catawba College overcame 14 penalties and four turnovers to hold off Presbyterian 19-14 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.  The Indians, ranked sixth in the NCAA II AFCA poll, improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while Presbyterian falls to 2-3 and 0-1.
The Tribe opened the scoring, taking the opening kickoff and moving 86 yards on 16 plays to go up 3-0 on a 22-yard field goal by Allan Rohrbaugh (Lexington, NC).  Catawba had marched 55 yards on its next drive before a fumble ended the threat.  Presbyterian would answer, aided by a Catawba personal foul and an offside on a third and short, to take the lead with 15 seconds left in the opening quarter on a Zach Ellis (Tifton, GA) 10-yard pass to Eric Bendig (Mt. Pleasant, SC).

Presbyterian had an interception deep in Catawba territory early in the second quarter, but Kolby Fisher (New Bern, NC) sacked Ellis on the first play and forced a fumble.  Neither team moved the ball effectively in the second quarter, but with just 16 seconds remaining in the half, Trevan Davis (Thomasville, NC) blocked a Blue Hose punt and Jonus Scott (Union, SC) picked it up and ran 10 yards for a score to give the Indians a 10-7 lead at the break.

A out-of-bounds kickoff and a personal foul on Catawba to start the second half gave Presbyterian possession at midfield and Ellis came up with a fourth-and-12 completion to Kip McAlister (Richburg, SC), covering 28 yards for a 14-10 Blue Hose lead at the 12:18 mark of the third quarter.  Mario Crowe would answer for Catawba, capping a six-play, 65-yard drive with a 10-yard run.  The conversion was missed, leaving the Tribe holding a 16-14 lead.

Presbyterian escaped a 50-yard interception return for a score by Catawba’s SaMario Houston (Charlotte, NC), which was nullified by an offside call, but on the next play Scott forced a fumble and recovered near midfield.  Rohrbaugh would boot a 40-yard field goal with 5:06 left in the third quarter to give Catawba a 19-14 lead.

Both offenses were ineffective from that point and the Blue Hose got one last chance with a minute remaining.  A hook-and-lateral play covering 41 yards gave Presbyterian the ball at the Tribe 32 with 30 seconds left, but after two incomplete passes, Scott intercepted McAlister at the five to end the game.

Catawba held a 37-23 edge in time of possession and totaled 405 yards to 227 for the Blue Hose, but lost 118 yards on 14 penalties and had three interception and a fumble.  Catawba held PC to just 28 yards on the ground and had three interceptions and recovered two fumbles.  Fisher had three sacks and forced two fumbles.  Catawba ran for 172 yards with Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) leading the way with 115 yards on 19 carries.  Ellis was 20-of-31 for 199 yards through the air for Presbyterian with a pair of touchdowns.


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