Football takes Battle of Indians 45-26 over Newberry

   NEWBERRY, SC -- Catawba College, ranked 12th in the AFCA Poll, claimed a 45-26 win over host Newberry in South Atlantic Conference football action  at Setzler Field on Saturday afternoon.  The vaunted Catawba defense forced Newberry to three plays and out on four of its first six possessions, while the visiting Indians scored twice on possessions of two plays or less to build a 24-0 lead on the way to victory.  Catawba improves to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the SAC, assuring a winning season for the eighth straight year.  Newberry falls to 1-7 and 0-4.
Neither team committed a turnover in the game, but Catawba's special teams kept the battle of field position towards the visitors, and even set-up the offense for an easy score with a blocked punt in the first half.  Catawba did its damage through the air, as sophomore quarterback Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) was 17-for-24 passing for 240 yards and two touchdowns, hitting eight different receivers. The Catawba ground game was equally effective, netting 149 yards, led by sophomore tailback Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC), who had 66 yards rushing on 15 carries, with a score.

The special teams unit for Catawba was the difference maker, as the visiting Indians had an average starting field position of their own 45, as opposed to the host Indians, who started on their own 23 as an average for the ballgame, including five times inside the 20-yard line. Newberry fumbled twice on kick returns, and even though neither was lost, both times the host Indians had to start inside their own 10-yard line. In both instances, Newberry had to later punt.

    Catawba would score on its opening drive, getting the first of two scores from Corey Ready (Aiken, SC).  The red-shirt freshman took a direct snap from center and scored for 10-yards out.  Samples would put the Tribe up 14-0 early in the second quarter with a 41-yard strike to Cedric Squirewell (Ridgeway, SC).

The big play of the game was late in the second quarter, when senior Maurice Price (Charlotte, NC) blocked a Newberry punt, giving Catawba the ball on the Newberry three-yard line, setting up a Wallace score on the next play. That possession gave Catawba the 24-0 lead.  Newberry would score with 2:44 remaining in the half on a 35-yard pass from Brian Shealy (Leesville, SC) to Kendal Brown, but Samples led Catawba to an answering score on a 28-yard pass to Nick Means (Thomasville, NC) with a minute in the half for a 31-7 advantage.

Newberry did outscore Catawba in the second half and drove the ball well, getting a pair of long fourth quarter touchdown drives. Newberry had a 15-play, 74-yard drive, and followed that with a 13-play, 79-yard drive on consecutive possessions to get 12 points in the fourth quarter.  The host Indians were led on the ground by freshman tailback Daniel Gray (Spartanburg, SC), who rushed for 70 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Brian Shealy (Leesville, SC) was pressured all afternoon, but managed 171 yards on 15-for-31 passing, with two touchdowns through the air.


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