Football falls 25-7 at Mars Hill

MARS HILL, NC -- Host Mars Hill capitalized on three turnovers and defeated 15th-ranked Catawba 25-7 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Meares Stadium.

With the win, the Lions improve to 4-1 and 1-0 in the SAC, while Catawba falls to 3-1 and 0-1.Mars Hill got the only score of the opening half early in the second quarter as Ricky Spradling connected with Kendrick Johnson for a 52-yard score. The point-after was missed to give the Lions a 6-0 edge at the break.

Catawba had two scoring chances in the second quarter, but fumbled away a chance on its next possession at the Mars Hill 32 and was stopped on downs at the Mars Hill one at the end of the first half. Turnovers would plague Catawba in the second half. Mars Hill earned a safety early in the third quarter for an 8-0 lead and went up 15-0 after Derrick Williams returned a Brad Roach interception 24 yards for a score with 4:02 left in the quarter. Catawba responded and drove 85 yards in 11 plays, capped by a Roach one-yard plunge to open the final quarter to trim the deficit to 15-7.

Roach would be intercepted on the next Catawba drive at the Mars Hill 38 and the Lions would add a short field goal by Chase Harris with 7:15 left. Mars Hill iced the game five minutes later as the Lions blocked a Tribe punt and tacked on a three-yard run by Johnson with 2:47 remaining. Johnson led rushed for 41 yards to lead the Mars Hill ground attack, while catching the one pass for a 52-yard score. Spradling threw for 80 yards on 4-of-8 passing and ran for 36.

The Lions had just 201 yards of offense, but the defense keyed the win by forcing three turnovers and also blocking a punt. Roach threw for 220 yards for Catawba, completing 17-of-38 passes. Robert Robinson led the way on the ground with 31 yards rushing, while Kory Fisher added 24 and caught four passes for 40 yards. Box Score #####

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