Football tops Lenoir-Rhyne for 10th straight year

HICKORY, NC -- Catawba College closed out its regular season with a 35-14 win over host Lenoir-Rhyne in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday night at Moretz Stadium.  The Indians improve to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the SAC, finishing in a four-way tie for second place and now wait on its post-season future.  Lenoir-Rhyne ends its season at 3-8 and 2-5.  It marked the 10th straight win for Catawba in the series with L-R.

The Indians scored on its first two drives, keeping the opening effort alive with a fake punton a fourth-and-one at midfield.  Mario Crowe (Charlotte, NC) would score the first of his three touchdowns from three yards out to cap the drive.  Crowe ran in from 26 yards out to put the Tribe up 14-0 at the 2:16 mark of the opening quarter.

Lenoir-Rhyne  got on the board after a 14-play, 80-yard drive that was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty on Catawba.  Kurtis Koester would hook up with Aaron Caldwell for the first of their two touchdowns from a yard out to cut the margin to 14-7.  With 2:11 before the break, Catawba took a 21-7 lead on a one-yard dive by Crowe.  The touchdown was the 16th by junior this season and 14th on the ground.  The score was set up by a 21-yard screen pass to the one from Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) to John Vernon (Walnut Cove, NC).

Koester would fumble a snap at his own six inside the final two minutes of the half and Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, NC) scored from six yards out with 1:40 remaining in the half for a 28-7 Catawba lead at the break.  Catawba held a 205-94 edge in total yards in the opening half and Samples hit on 10-of-12 passes.

The Bears scored their final touchdown at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter as Koester hit Caldwell from 19 yards out.  That score held until the final quarter as Catawba capped a 13-play, 77 yard drive with a Kory Fisher (New Bern, NC) one-yard run with 13:54 remaining for the 35-14 margin.

Catawba ran for 213 yards on the night as Wallace led the way with 71 yards.  Crowe added 68 yards and Fisher totaled 54 yards.  Samples was 17-of-21 passing for 173 yards, connecting seven times with Corey Ready (Aiken, SC) for 74 yards.  The Bears were held to 171 yards, including just 52 on the ground on 31 attempts.  Koester was 11-of-21 through the air for 119 yards, but was sacked five times.  Caldwell had four receptions for 50 yards.  Tim Clarke made 21 tackles for the Bear defense, while Dustin Cox led Catawba with 10 stops.  Kolby Fisher was in on two sacks and totaled three stops for losses.


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