Football Falls Just Short in Upset Bid Against #10 UNC Pembroke


SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba came up a field goal short in an attempt to knock off #10 UNC Pembroke, falling 34-31 in football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Braves stay undefeated at 6-0, while the Catawba Indians fall to 3-4.

Catawba pulled within 34-31 with 3:41 remaining on an eight-yard pass from Danny O’Brien (Kernersville, NC/E. Forsyth HS/Wisconsin) to Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, FL/Raines HS), but the Braves made two first downs and were able to run out the clock.  The last one came by inches when Luke Charles (Murphy, NC) found John Rich (Hamlet, NC) at midfield.

Charles finished the day with 336 yards passing, completing 29-of-43 passes.  He threw for three touchdowns, but was intercepted twice.  Ben DeCelle (Rockwell, NC) had eight catches for 82 yards and Tamari White (Jacksonville, NC) added 53 yards on the ground.

O’Brien went 31-of-41 for Catawba for 253 yards and one score.  Tarrats caught the final touchdown and also threw a 68-yard scoring pass to Nate Charest (Charlotte, NC/Butler HS).  Charest had a huge day with 10 catches for 153 yards.  Charest has moved into fourth place on Catawba all-time receiving chart with 161 catches.

The first half settled into a defensive struggle until the final minutes.  Catawba turned an early interception by freshman JaMarcus Moore (Chester, SC/Chester HS) into a 47-yard field goal by Chad Hollandsworth (Kernersville, NC/E. Forsyth HS) just five minutes into the game.  It took a full quarter before any more points went on the board, but a field goal of 29 yards from UNCP’s Connor Haskins (Lumberton, NC) tied the contest at the 10:52 mark of the second quarter.

A 10-play, 73-yard put the Braves on top to stay late in the half.  B.J. Bunn (Burlington, NC) capped the drive on a two-yard pass from Charles.  The biggest play of the opening half came with a minute to go as Charles connected with Rich on a third down play for 81 yards and a 17-3 lead at the break.

The Braves looked to be in control when Rontonio Stanley (Nakina, NC) scored from a yard out with 10:06 to go in the third quarter, but Catawba was able to rally.  Mark McDaniel (China Grove, NC/S. Rowan HS) started it with a pick-six as he intercepted a pass from Charles and raced 33 yards to cut the margin to 24-10.  A possession later, Tarrats found Charest deep on a reverse pass to make it 24-17 at the 4:50 mark of the quarter.

UNC Pembroke picked up a touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter when Charles found Te’vell Williams (Omaha, NE) from eight-yards out.  Catawba answered when David Burgess (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) capped a 75-yard drive with a 24-yard scoring run.

Haskins gave UNCP a 10-point lead with 7:59 left as he booted a 48-yard field goal.  O’Brien led the Indians on another 75-yard drive that culminated in the eight-yard pass to Tarrats, but Catawba never got the ball back.

Jason Taylor (Bahama, NC/Northern HS) led Catawba with 10 tackles.  Moore also had a sack as did Montravius Evans (Barnsville, GA/Lamar Co. HS).  Kellen Rankin (Snow Camp, NC) posted 11 tackles for UNCP and Fred Williams (Fayetteville, NC) added 10.  The Braves recorded three sacks, one each by Cadarreus Mason (China Grove, NC), Matt Turner (Winston-Salem, NC) and DeVante Bush (Fayetteville, NC).

Catawba returns to South Atlantic Conference action next week, traveling to Brevard for a 5 p.m. kickoff.


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