Wright Runs Football Past Mars Hill 38-28


MARS HILL, NC -- Josh Wright (Raeford, NC/Hoke Co. HS/W. Carolina) ran for a career-high 152 yards and added three scores as Catawba knocked off Mars Hill 38-28 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium.  With the win, the Catawba Indians stay atop the league standings improving to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the SAC.  The Lions fall to 5-4 and 3-2.

The Indians rallied from a double-digit deficit for the second straight week, scoring 28 straight points in the second half after falling behind 21-10.  Catawba used a 35-yard kickoff return by Nate Charest (Charlotte, NC/Butler HS) to midfield to begin its comeback.  A 21-yard run by Rashaun Gaither (Yadkinville, NC/Starmount HS) led to a two-yard run by Wright to cut the deficit to 21-17.  After a Lion fumble, Patrick Dennis (Durham, NC/Cedar Ridge HS) threw a 60-yard strike to Gerron Bryant (W. Palm Beach, FL/Boynton Beach HS/Palm Beach CC) to put the Indians up 24-21 with 4:42 left in the third quarter.

Penalties hurt the next Mars Hill drive which was ended when Jumal Rolle (Wilson, NC/Beddingfield HS) intercepted Richt at the Catawba 10-yard line.  Wright burst through for a 58-yard run to get the Indians out of its own end, but the drive ended inside the Lion 10 on downs.  A bad snap on a punt led to the next Catawba score with Gaither running for 22 and Wright taking it in from the three.  Mars Hill failed to convert on a fourth-down try deep in its own end and Gaither salted the game away with a 22-yard scoring run.

Gaither nearly reached 100 yards to join Wright, finishing with 97 yards on nine carries.  Dennis completed 12-of-21 passes for 146 yards.  Jonas Randolph (Daleville, AL) led Mars Hill with 188 yards rushing and three scores.  Catawba limited the league’s top rusher to 41 yards in the second half.  Jon Richt (Watkinsville, GA) was 17-of-27 through the air for 245 yards.  P.J. Gore (N. Myrtle Beach, SC) had six catches for 125 yards.

Mars Hill fumbled the ball away on its first three possessions of the game and Catawba built a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.  Damein Lee (Reidsville, NC/Reidsville HS) forced two of the fumbles and finished with two sacks and three stops for losses.  Wright got the first score after the Indians took over at the Lion five.  A Thomas Trexler (Wilmington, NC/New Hanover HS) 31-yard field goal pushed the lead to 10-0 with 12:45 to go in the half.

The Lions rallied back.  Randolph scored on a 47-yard run to pull Mars Hill within 10-7 and added a three-yard following a Catawba fumble to put the Lions up 14-10 with 3:35 to go in the half.  The Lions struck to start the second half as Richt threw an 81-yard pass to Gore to set up a short run by Randolph to give Mars Hill the 21-10 edge.  

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