Football Dominates Mars Hill To Win League Opener


MARS HILL, NC -- Catawba limited host Mars Hill to one score and recorded a 24-7 win over the Lions in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Meares Stadium.  The 23rd-ranked Catawba Indians improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Lions fall to 3-2 and 0-1.

The Indians took the lead on its second possession of the opening quarter after the defense held Mars Hill on a three and out inside its own 20.  Catawba moved 43 yards on six plays, scoring on a 13-yard pass from Howard Williamson (Greensboro, NC/Dudley HS) to Eric Morman (Rockingham, NC/Richmond Senior HS).

Mars Hill would come right back, tying the game on Elroy Harris’ three-yard run.  The score was set up by a nice catch by Tyrea Allen on a badly underthrown pass by Ricky Spradling.  The play covered 38 yards to the Tribe four and was the second of two third-down conversions on the drive for Mars Hill.

Catawba regained the lead with six minutes left in the opening half.  Williamson threw for his second touchdown pass of the game on a two-yard toss to Antonio Hall (Greensboro, NC/NE Guilford HS).  Grayson Downs (Mt. Pleasant, NC/Mt. Pleasant HS) helped set up the score with a one-handed grab and run deep inside Lion territory.  Williamson converted a third-and-eight with a nine yard pass to Brandon Bunn (Virginia Beach, VA/Fork Union) inside the Mars Hill five.

The Indians would get a boost just before the half as freshman Thomas Trexler (Wilmington, NC/New Hanover HS) connected on a 42-yard field goal on the final play to give Catawba a 17-7 lead at the break.  Catawba held Mars Hill to just 100 total yards in the first half.

The Lions had two chances to cut into the Catawba lead, but Michael Pinkerton missed a 33-yard field goal on its first drive of the third quarter and a 35-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter.  After the second miss, Jamelle Cutherbertson (Charlotte, NC/Harding HS) broke the big play for Catawba, racing 67 yards on a third-and-two run down to the Lion five.  On third down, Patrick Dennis (Durham, NC/Cedar Ridge HS) found Bunn for an 11-yard score and a 24-7 lead with 9:16 to play.

Mars Hill would be intercepted by Catawba’s Brandon Sutton (Snow Hill, NC/Greene Central HS) and failed on two fourth down tries on its next three possessions.  Catawba held a vaunted Lion ground game to just 39 yards on the day.

Cuthbertson had 115 yards on 11 carries for Catawba.  Williamson completed 9-of-19 passes for 83 yards and two scores.  George Stripling ran for 50 yards for Mars Hill, but the Tribe defense recorded three sacks.  Spradling was 18-of-36 for 239 yards and Allen hauled in five passes for 103 yards. 

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