Football gets 29-17 win at Tusculum to set up showdown with Carson-Newman

   GREENEVILLE, TN -- Catawba College, ranked 10th in the AFCA Division II poll, scored 21 second quarter points and held on to defeat #24 Tusculum 29-17 on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field in South Atlantic Conference football action.  The Indians, who improve to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the SAC, claim their sixth straight win and fourth in a row over Tusculum as Catawba prepares for next Saturday's league clash with No. 3 Carson-Newman College in Salisbury, NC.  Tusculum falls to 6-3 and 2-3.
         The Tribe converted four Tusculum turnovers into a pair of touchdowns, including a TC fumble on the opening kickoff.  Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) rushed for 86 yards on 25 carries including a pair of touchdowns.  Sophomore quarterback Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) went 18-for-30 for 242 yards and rushed for a pair of scores in the Catawba victory.

         Carson Bradley (Paradise Valley, Calif.) had another fine day for the Pioneers in his second straight start.  Bradley accounted for 316 yards on 24-for-43 passing including a pair of touchdowns to senior Jason Nance (Lakeland, FL).  Nance finished the contest with five receptions for a game-best 127 yards.

         Tusculum out-gained the Indians by a 373-346 margin, including a 271-91 margin in the second half, but the Pioneers went 2-for-5 in their trips inside the Catawba 20-yard line, while Bradley was sacked on four
occasions.  The game was littered with penalties by both squads. TC was flagged 10 times for 103 yards, while Catawba was penalized 11 times for 90 yards.

         On the opening kickoff, TC's Ricardo Colclough (Sumter, SC) fumbled on the return and was picked up by Catawba's Rod Tenor (Coolemee, NC) and returned to the TC 34.  Four plays later, Wallace found the end
zone from two-yards out at the 13:25 mark of the first frame.  The Indians pulled some trickery on the point after.  Holder Danny Jenkins (Kannapolis, NC) rolled out on the fake and found John Vernon (Walnut Cove, NC) in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion and an early 8-0 Catawba lead.

         The Pioneers answered later in the quarter as Bradley hooked up with Nance on the first of his two touchdowns, this one on a 21-yard completion at the 6:27 mark.  Brice Stefanick's (Travelers Rest, SC) kick
cut the deficit to 8-7.

         On their first possession of the second quarter, Catawba orchestrated a 13-play, 64-yard drive, capped off by Samples’ one-yard plunge into the end zone on fourth down with 8:12 left before halftime.  The Indians added another tally three minutes later.  Following three and out by Tusculum, the Indians took over at their own 39.  Wallace rushed for five and 13 yards respectively to set up the play of the drive when Samples completed a 42-yard pass to Cedric Squirewell (Ridgeway, SC) to the TC one-yard line.  Wallace scampered in from there for his second score of the day.

         The Indians converted their second Tusculum turnover into a score as with 3:38 left in the half, Khanis Hubbard (Raleigh, NC) jarred the ball free from Bradley, which was recovered by Piotr Kalinowski
(Raleigh, NC) at the TC 37.  Wallace rambled off a 12-yard gain and Samples connected with Nick Means (Thomasville, N.C.) for a 21-yard completion to the TC 4.  Samples would carry for the score on a two-yard
run with 1:53 left at the half. The Indians would take a 29-7 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, the momentum looked to be turning towards the Pioneers.  The TC defense held Catawba in check on their opening series including a sack by Daris Robinson (Birmingham, AL), forcing the Indians to punt.  Three plays later, Nance got behind the Catawba defense as he hauled in a 58-yard scoring strike at the 11:18 mark to cut the deficit to 29-14.

         The Pioneers got another golden opportunity two minutes later when Samples was intercepted by TC junior Craig Pritchett (Rossville, GA), who returned the pick 25-yards to the CAT 20.  But on the next play, TC's Divine Peters (Wyandance, NY) fumbled the ball and was recovered up by the Indians' Eddie Wall (Albemarle, NC).  The Pioneer defense held once again giving the offense good field position at the TC 32.  This time the Pioneers would dent the scoreboard as Kevin Wolcott (Crossville, TN) made back-to-back receptions, including a diving 35-yard catch on third down to the CAT 16.  The drive stalled and TC would settle for a 33-yard Stefanick field goal to cut the deficit to a dozen (29-17).

In the opening moments of the fourth quarter, Tusculum drove into Catawba territory to the 15.  But on fourth and three, Bradley's pass to Nance was hurried by Hubbard ending the TC threat.  Tusculum got another chance with 5:27 left in the game when Marvin Kelly (Bennettsville, SC) returned a punt 53 yards to the CAT 22.  But the turnover bug plagued the Pioneers again as Bradley was intercepted in the end zone by Jamel Jackson (Concord, NC) to halt the Tusculum rally.

For Catawba, Means finished the day with seven catches for 91 yards, while Squirewell hauled in four receptions for 69 yards.  Defensively, Hubbard accounted for eight tackles, including four for loss, a pair of sacks and three quarterback hurries.  Todd McComb (Thomasville, NC) led Catawba in tackles with a dozen, including two for loss and a sack.  Antyone Sims (Pasedena, CA) and Pritchett each finished with 11 hits apiece for the Pioneers, while Robinson made nine stops, including two for loss and a sack.  


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