Football survives in opener at Livingstone

SALISBURY, NC - Twelfth-ranked Catawba College escaped Saturday night with a 30-22 win over cross-town rival Livingstone at Alumni Stadium in the football opener for both teams. The win give the Indians its third straight win in the Mayor’s Cup series. Catawba opened the scoring in the first quarter as Nick Hopper (Shelby, NC) blocked a punt and returned it inside the 10-yard line. On the first offensive play of the season, Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) took a quarterback draw seven yards for the early lead. Livingstone drove near mid-field on its next possession, but Jamel Jackson (Concord, NC) intercepted an errant pass and returned it 42 yards to the Blue Bear 16-yard line. The Tribe was unable to punch in a touchdown, but red-shirt freshman Alan Rohrbaugh (Lexington, NC) converted a 34-yard field goal for a 10-0 edge with 6:24 left in the opening quarter. Late in the first quarter, Samples was sacked by Jason Ocean and fumbled to set up Livingstone at the Tribe 39-yard line. After converting a fourth down at the 30, Livingstone put its first points against Catawba on the board in four meetings as quarterback Scott McCrimmon ran in from two yards out. The Blue Bears stopped Catawba on a fourth down try on the next series and McCrimmon hit Reginald Alston on a 16-yard pass to put Livingstone ahead. Alston scored on a two-point conversion after an initial fumble on the try, but Catawba would fumble the ball back and Alston ran down the sidelines from 20-yards out to make it 15-10 with 7:12 left in the half. O.J. Lennon (Greensboro, NC) quickly got the momentum back for Catawba as he took the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to the Livingstone 38-yard line. After an incompletion, Samples found Preston Lewis (Mt. Airy, NC) for 27 yards, then tossed a 10-yard strike to Cedric Squirewell (Ridgeway, SC) to regain the lead for Catawba at 16-15 after the point after was missed. Squirewell helped set up the next Catawba score as he returned a short punt 16 yards to the Livingstone 46-yard line, where on the next play Samples connected on a pass to Nick Means (Thomasville, NC) for a 23-15 edge with 5:05 to go in the half. Jemonte Battle (Rocky Mount, NC) blocked a 39-yard field goal try by Livingstone on the final play of the half and the teams battled through a scoreless third quarter before the Tribe got back a comfortable margin. A 16-yard pass from Samples to Lennon with 10:59 remaining put the Indians ahead 30-15. The margin didn’t last long as McCrimmon connected with Chris Jeter on a 50-yard strike with 7:54 to go, bringing the Blue Bear back within a score at 30-22. The Indians began its next drive on its own 20-yard line and after failing to gain a yard on two plays, Samples went up top to Jasonus Tillery (Newport News, VA) for 40 yards to give the Tribe some breathing room. The play helped punter Danny Jenkins (Kannapolis, NC) to pin Livingstone at its own 11-yard line with only 6:07 remaining. The Blue Bears advanced inside the Tribe 35-yard line, but were stopped on downs with 1:50 to play and Catawba was able to run out the clock. Livingstone held the advantage in yardage, totaling 334 yards to 228 for Catawba. Corbey Jones led the Blue Bear running attack with 107 yards on 23 carries. Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) led Catawba on the ground with 36 yards as the Tribe was held to 29 yards rushing. Samples completed 12-of-28 passes for 199 yards and three scores. Defensively, transfer Buddy Tabron (Wake Forest, NC) recorded 11 tackles for Catawba, while Khanis Hubbard (Raleigh, NC) had 10 stops, including three for losses and a sack. #####

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