Football Tops Newberry 37-34 in Double Overtime


NEWBERRY, S.C. -- Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS), lifting Catawba to a 37-34 double overtime win over host Newberry on Saturday night at Setzler Field in both teams' South Atlantic Conference football opener.  The Catawba Indians improve to 2-1 overall, while the Wolves fall to 1-2.

The final pass marked the second time on the night that Sheehan and Tarrats hooked up for a score and came after the Indians held Newberry to a field goal on its offensive possession.  Both teams scored a touchdown in the first overtime.  Catawba was the first to score on a one-yard run by David Burgess (Morganton, N.C./Freedom HS).  The Wolves survived after getting a pass interference call on fourth down then tying the game when W.T. Murden threw a touchdown pass to Jalen Cook.

Sheehan completed 15-of-26 passes for 241 yards and the two touchdowns, both to Tarrats.  He also ran for a score.  Tarrats totaled four catches on the night for 67 yards.  Tyler Hamilton (Charlotte, N.C./Vance HS) made five receptions for 41 yards.  Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) topped the 100-yard mark with 117 yards on 11 carries.

Murden had four touchdown passes for Newberry, completing 26-of39 passes for 321 yards.  Byron  Dickerson made five catches for 95 yards and two scores.  Cook also had five catches along with Jackson Swindler.  Ryan Barnwell led a balanced rushing attack with 53 yards.

Catawba had a chance to win at the end of regulation in a frantic final few minutes.  On the final play of regulation Chad Hollandsworth (Kernersville, N.C./E. Forsyth HS) had his 35-yard field sail just wide to the right after a high snap.  The Indians could have had a better opportunity a minute earlier, but a fumble on a handoff at the Newberry five denied the chance.  Rai Smith (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman HS) got the ball right back for the Indians, intercepting Murden on the first play.

The teams played to an even first half, going to the locker room tied at 17-17.  Each team scored on their opening drive.  Newberry drew first blood as Murden connected with Dickerson for a 37-yard score. 

Catawba was backed up to its own 10 to start its initial drive, but Littlejohn ripped off a 77-yard run to set the Indians up at the Newberry eight.  After a pair of negative plays, Sheehan threw a 15-yard pass to Tarrats for an apparent touchdown, only to have it called back for a penalty.  The duo came right back on the next play for a 20-yard score to tie the game.

The Wolves retook the lead in the second quarter, cashing in a 14-play, 70-yard drive on another pass from Murden to Dickerson.  This time from 17 yards away.  Catawba answered on its next drive, aided by a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt.  Two plays after the penalty, Trey Mashore (Woodleaf, N.C./W. Rowan HS) raced 35 yards for a touchdown.

The teams traded field goals in the final six minutes of the half.  Kyle Clark connected from 21 yards for Newberry and Hollandsworth  from 41 yards away for the Indians.  The Wolves missed a chance to take lead at the end of the half, but Clark missed from 40 yards.

Catawba took its first lead of the night midway through the third quarter on Sheehan's 23-yard run at the 7:47 mark.  Sheehan had set up the opportunity with a 51-yard completion to Brandon Brown (Durham, N.C./N. Durham HS).  Newberry answered as Murden threw a 45-yard pass to John Gadson then a five-yard TD pass to Ozzie Exume.  That would be all the scoring until the overtime.

The teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense.  Newberry had a slight edge 489 yards to 471 yards for the Indians. 

Jason Taylor (Bahama, N.C./Northern HS) had a huge game on defense for Catawba making 16 tackles, including two for losses.  Ed Robinson (Callahan, Fla./Paxon School) had 10 stops with a sack.

Catawba will host Carson-Newman for its home opener next weekend.  Kickoff at Shuford Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m.

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