Football Rolls to 66-35 Win Over Albany State

Roach sets record with five TD passes


SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba rolled up 643 yards of total offense and defeated visiting Albany State 66-35 in  a first round game of the 2007 NCAA II Football playoffs on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.  With the win, the 12th-ranked Catawba Indians improve to 11-1 and advance to face Valdosta State, the top-seed in the Southeast Region.  Albany State ends its season at 8-3.

Senior Brad Roach (Williamston, NC/Williamston HS) broke a Catawba record by throwing five touchdown passes in the win.  He finished the day going 18-of-34 for 340 yards.  Senior Brent Johnson (Hickory, NC/Hickory HS) was the top target as he pulled down nine passes for 155 yards and three scores.  Junior Antwan Strong (Charlotte, NC/W. Charlotte HS) had five catches for 130 yards and two scores.

Catawba would take an early 21-7 lead, but Albany State would rally to tie the game at 21-21 on a one-yard run by LiRonnie Davis (Macon, GA/Tennessee-Chattanooga) with 8:07 left in the half.  Catawba retook the lead just 11 seconds before the break on a 14-yard pass from Roach to Johnson.  The game would then see a wild opening five minutes of the third quarter that saw three touchdowns scored in a minute and a half.

After Cory Darnell (Rural Hall, NC/N. Forsyth HS) gave Catawba a 31-21 lead with a 31-yard field goal at the 11:16 mark of the third quarter, Albany State responded on an 84-yard kickoff return from Brian Porter (Gaitherburg, MD/W. Kentucky) to pull back within three points.  Two plays later, Roach would find Strong for a 63-yard score and a 38-28 edge.  The big play came two plays later when Ron Ellington (Charlotte, NC/Independence HS) returned a fumble 15 yards for a 45-28 lead with 9:44 to go in the third quarter.

Catawba would add three more scores to lead 66-28 before a late score by the Golden Rams on a 30-yard bass from Kisan Flakes (Lovejoy, GA/Illinois) to Cameron Smith (Atlanta, GA/Weber State).  Flakes completed 16-of-34 passes for 155 yards and added 44 yards on the ground.  Porter ran for 90 yards and added 142 return yards. 

The Catawba Indians scored on the opening possession as Roach threw a 19-yard pass to Strong.  Catawba cashed in on an interception on Albany’s first possession to grab a 14-0 lead at the 8:45 mark on a six-yard pass from Roach to Johnson.  Demetrice Johnson (Atlanta, GA/Georgia Military) scored the first of his two touchdowns with 3:16 in the opening quarter to pull the Golden Rams within 14-7.

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