Football Wins Thriller at Carson-Newman 55-49

Johnson set record with 13 catches, Roach throws for 486 yards


JEFFERSON CITY, TN – In one of the most exciting games in school history, Catawba rallied from a 35-13 deficit to knock off seventh-ranked Carson-Newman 55-49 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium.  The Catawba Indians, ranked 12th, remain undefeated as they improve to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the SAC.  It also marked the first win for Catawba at Carson-Newman since 1987.  The Eagles fall to 6-1 and 2-1.

 George Bell (Fayetteville, NC/Britt HS) scored the last of his three touchdowns, running over from a yard out with 26 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Indians.  The final score capped a wild day that saw the teams combine for 1,280 yards.  Brad Roach (Williamston, NC/Williamston HS) threw for a career high 486 yards and four touchdowns, while Brent Johnson (Hickory, NC/Hickory HS) set a new mark with 13 receptions.

 Catawba trailed 35-20 at the half, but Kory Fisher (New Bern, NC/New Bern HS) opened the second half with a 69-yard run to the C-N seven and Jamelle Cuthbertson (Charlotte, NC/Harding HS) got the score from a yard-out to pull Catawba within 35-27.  Carson-Newman drove down inside the Tribe 20 on its possession, but a bad snap on a field goal attempt ended the drive without points.

 Catawba got a big play on its possession as Walter Horne (Statesville, NC/Statesville HS) turned his first catch into a 41-yard score.  Roach tossed a two-point conversion pass to Antwan Strong (Charlotte, NC/W. Charlotte HS) which tied the score at 35-35 with 7:18 left in the third quarter.  Carson-Newman continued the shootout, scoring in just three plays to regain the lead on a 41-yard pass from Alex Good (Greensboro, NC) to Otis Miller (Miami, FL). 

The Indians drove to the C-N 19 on its drive, but failed on fourth down.  Carson-Newman moved back down the field then misfired on a 38-yard field goal.  The Indians would tie the score once again with 6:32 left, converting three third downs and two fourth downs on a 19-play, 79-yard drive that ended on a Bell one-yard pass from Roach on fourth down. 

 The Eagles used another big play to go back on top as Good teamed up with Reggie Hubbard on a 74-yard play which ended with Hubbard turning a diving flip into the end zone resulting in a key unsportsmanlike conduct foul.  Catawba returned the ensuing kickoff from the 15 back to the C-N 41.  The Indians used a four-play drive, all on the ground to knot the game at 49-49 on a Bell 11-yard run with 3:11 to play.

 The Catawba defense finally made a key stop, hauling down James Banks (Indianapolis, IN) on a second-and-one reverse for an 11-yard loss.  An incomplete pass forced a punt and Catawba took over at its own 40 with 1:42 remaining.  Roach came up with the big play, finding Joe Mitchell (Tallahassee, FL/Florida HS) for a 31-yard gain to the Eagle one.  Bell scored from there and the Indians held on despite a desperation completion to the Tribe 16 as time expired.

 Hubbard sparked Carson-Newman to a 35-20 lead at the break with three big kickoff returns and a pair of touchdown receptions.  Hubbard returned the opening kickoff to the Carson-Newman 39 and capped the opening drive with a 20-yard scoring catch from Good.  After a short Catawba punt, Hubbard hauled in a 34-yard pass from Good for a 14-0 lead with 6:37 to go in the first quarter.

 Catawba got on the board on a 30-yard field goal by Cory Darnell (Rural Hall, NC/N. Forsyth HS), but Hubbard jaunted 47 yards to the Tribe 38 on the ensuing kickoff.  Ricky Harris (Perry, GA) capped the short drive with an 11-yard run.

 Roach completed a pair of passes totaling 66 yards on the next Catawba possession to cut the lead to 21-10.  His first went to Johnson, who made a leaping catch for 38 yards on a thrird-and-12.  Three plays later he connected with Brandon Bunn (Virginia Beach, VA/Kellam HS) for a 28-yard score.

 Hubbard struck again with a 43-yard kickoff return, but the Eagles fumbled at the Tribe 20 two plays into the drive.  The Indians used the arm of Roach (50 yards on three completions) to get into field goal range for Darnell, who connected on a career-long 44 yarder to pull Catawba within 21-13 with 7:07 left in the half.

 Carson-Newman added two more scores before the break.  Good ran 54 yards for one score, while Harris added a six-yard run with 1:38 left in the half.  Roach drove Catawba 71 yards in the final minute and a half, completing six-of-10 passes, including a 15-yard pass to Strong on a fourth-and-10 to the Eagle nine.  Roach then tossed a pass to Johnson for the score with just six seconds left before the break.

 Catawba finished with 651 yards of total offense with Roach completing 37-of-64 passes with no interceptions and the four scores.  Fisher tallied 120 yards on the ground on 11 carries.  Johnson’s 13 catches went for 172 yards, while Strong added nine grabs for 110 yards.  Good was 12-of-22 passing for 315 yards and ran for another 161.  Harris picked up 103 yards on the ground and Hubbard finished with 154 yards on five catches. 

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