Football Looks to Bounce Back From Wingate Loss


If the trend holds, Catawba should be able to get back into the win column on Saturday against UNC Pembroke.  The Indians have alternated wins and losses this year and are coming off a 30-19 loss at Wingate last week.

Against Wingate, Catawba turned in its poorest offense outing of the season.  Not only were the Indians held to 271 yards, two hundred under their average, but the unit also committed six turnovers.  Despite that, Catawba went into the fourth quarter tied with the Bulldogs.

Catawba’s defense kept the Indians close, allowing Wingate only two scores off of those six turnovers.  In fact, out of 15 turnovers this season the opposition has managed to score after just four of them.  Catawba caused three turnovers at Wingate as Mark McDaniel, Michael Peppers and Gabe Evans recorded interceptions.

UNC Pembroke fell to fifth-ranked North Alabama 27-6 last week and come into the game with a 1-4 record.  Two of the losses are against ranked teams as the Braves dropped their opener to then-ranked #14 Winston-Salem State.

While Catawba has scored over 30 points in four of its six games, UNC Pembroke has failed to score 20 points in any if its first five contests.  The Braves have scored only 49 points this season and averaged just 207 yards of total offense a game. 

UNC Pembroke has won the last two meetings with Catawba in the young series that began in 2011.  Catawba won the initial meeting 42-33 at Catawba, but the Braves claimed a 27-20 at Pembroke in 2012 and won 34-31 in Salisbury last season.

The Indians fell behind 24-3 early in the third quarter in last year’s game, but McDaniel’s 33-yard interception return for a score sparked an Indian comeback.  A minute later, Nate Charest threw a 68-yard pass on a reverse to Carlos Tarrats to get Catawba within a score.  The Braves were able to stay in front with a late TD in the third and a field goal midway through the fourth to take the win.

Mike Sheehan, who leads the conference in passing yards, touchdowns and total offense, will look to shake off his five interception day at Wingate.  The sophomore had thrown just three interceptions in the previous five games.  Gary Williams, Tarrats and Tyler Hamilton all have over 20 catches with Keyon West posting 18.

On the ground, Cary Littlejohn and David Burgess both average just over 50 yards a game.  Littlejohn is 90 yards away from reaching 1,000 for his career.

Jason Taylor continues to lead the defense in tackles with 54 on the year.  He shares the team in lead in tackles for loss with Jamal Lackey as each have seven on the year.  Two freshmen linebackers, Peppers and Kyle Kitchens, have stepped into starting roles due to injuries and have made an impact over the past few weeks.  Peppers has 26 tackles and an interception, while Kitchens leads the team with two sacks.

Saturday’s kickoff is set for 1 pm at Johnson Stadium in Pembroke.

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