Football Rally Falls Just Short in Loss to Mars Hill


SALISBURY, NC -- Mars Hill got 232 yards from Jonas Randolph (Daleville, AL), with a pair of first-half touchdowns, and held on to upset 13th-ranked Catawba 14-12 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday night at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.  The win improves the Lions to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 3-1 and 0-1.

Mars Hill used an early rain storm to benefit its ground game, churning out 132 rushing yards and a pair of scores in the opening half. Randolph did most of the work with 102 yards on 21 carries and both scores in the opening 30 minutes.  

The Lions took the opening kickoff and marched 71 yards in 14 plays to take the lead on Randolph’s one-yard run.  Randolph accounted for all but nine yards on the drive, including a key fourth-down and three conversion at the Catawba 18. 

Randolph finished off a 57-yard drive in the opening minutes of the second quarter with a 14-yard run that gave Mars Hill a 14-0 lead with 13:33 left in the half.  Catawba twice moved inside the Lion 30 in the second quarter, but could not come away with any points.  The best chance ended at the Mars Hill 15 on an interception in the end zone by Darin Baldwin (Florida City, FL) as a Catawba receiver fell down.

As the rains subsided late in the third quarter, Catawba began to make its rally.  The Indians managed just 115 total yards until it started a drive with 2:51 left in the third quarter.  Although that drive ended at the Mars Hill 35, Catawba got on the board on its next possession as Cameron Sexton (Laurinburg, NC/Scotland Co. HS) threw a 41-yard strike to Brandon Bunn (Virginia Beach, VA/Fork Union).  A bad snap on the point-after left the score at 14-6. 

Catawba would find the end zone on its next drive as the Indians went 73 yards in eight plays, capped by a 16-yard pass from Sexton to Bunn.  The two-point attempt failed leaving the Lions up by two.  Catawba held Mars Hill and got the ball back with 1:36 left.  The Indians moved to the Lion 47, but Sexton had the ball slip out of his hands on a second-down pass attempt to force a long third down and was later sacked on fourth down to end the contest.

Randolph got his 232 yards on 44 attempts to lead the Lions.  Mars Hill completed just 2-of-5 passes for 22 yards.  The Lions held a slight edge in total yardage at 295 to 279.

Antonio Hall (Greensboro, NC/NW Guilford HS) ran for 61 yards, while Levon Curtis (Elon, NC/W. Alamance HS) added 43 on the ground.  Sexton completed 11-of-31 passes for 174 yards and two scores.  He went 8-of-14 for 142 yards in the fourth quarter rally. 


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