Home Finale Pits Teams With Similar Styles and Identical Records


The Catawba football team will look to secure a winning record as it hosts North Greenville on Saturday in a non-conference tilt.  The Indians and Crusaders enter the game with identical 5-4 records and run similar offensive and defensive sets.

Catawba is coming off a 35-7 loss at Mars Hill last weekend.  The game was played on Sunday due to winter weather in the mountains and shortened the Indians’ work week by a day to prepare for North Greenville. 

Mars Hill used several big runs early and benefitted from five Catawba turnovers in the win.  The Indians squandered four trips into the red zone, turning the ball over on a fumble, an interception and on downs while also missing a field goal.

Gary Williams caught a 23-yard pass to account for Catawba’s lone score.  Keyon West had the most productive day on offense with four catches for 94 yards.  Mark McDaniel had two interceptions on defense to take the league lead with five on the year.  Michael Peppers made nine tackles and Kegan Funderburk was in on two tackles for losses.

North Greenville rallied for a 24-14 victory over Wingate last weekend.  Trailing 14-10 early in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders blocked a punt and returned it 15 yards for the go-ahead score.  Simeon Byrd added a 44-yard TD run with 4:19 left to help put the game away.

Byrd finished with 104 yards on 17 carries with two scores.  Thomas Weeks made five catches for 95 yards, nearly half of the Crusaders’ 195 yards through the air.  The Crusader defense picked off three passes and posted five sacks in holding Wingate to 205 total yards.  Darius Custard had two sacks, while Quantel Mack had a pair of interceptions.

This will mark the sixth meeting between the schools in football with Catawba holding a 3-2 edge.  Catawba rallied for a 20-17 win last season on Chad Hollandsworth’s 23-yard field goal on the last play of the game.  The Indians trailed 17-3 at the break, but were sparked by a late third quarter pick six by Trey Evans.

Cary Littlejohn ran for 90 yards in the win, while Mike Sheehan entered for an injured Danny O’Brien to lead the fourth-quarter comeback.  Sheehan went 4-of-5 passing for 71 yards and ran for another 40 yards.  Trey Walker totaled 124 yards rushing for North Greenville.

Catawba will finish up its season next Saturday in Hickory, N.C., at nationally-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne with a 12:30 pm kickoff.

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