November 8, 2014
Defense Clamps Down on NGU as Football Secures Winning Season
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Catawba shutout visiting North Greenville in the second half and rallied for a 28-17 victory in football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The win ensures a second-straight winning season for the Catawba Indians, who improve to 6-4. The Crusaders fall to 5-5.
Catawba held a big 485 to 303 advantage in total offense with 264 of the Indians’ yards coming on the ground. Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) led Catawba with 112 yards rushing, including 93 in the second half as he went over 1,000 yards in his career. Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) completed 18-of-24 passes for 221 yards, throwing for one score and running for two more.
The Indians used a 14-play, 62-yard drive to open the game to grab the early lead. Littlejohn capped the seven minute drive with a one-yard run. North Greenville quickly answered as Cedric Proctor (Chesnee, S.C.) returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to tie the score at 7-7.
North Greenville went on top late in the first quarter as Simeon Byrd (Spartanburg, S.C.) capped a drive on a five-yard run. That score was keyed by a 38-yard pass from Nelson Hughes (Roebuck, S.C.) to Thomas Weeks (Cowpens, S.C.) to the Catawba 12. The Indians tied it up on a 26-yard pass from Sheehan to David Burgess (Morganton, N.C./Freedom HS) on the second play of the second quarter.
Catawba was denied a chance to take the lead on its next drive when Sheehan’s deep pass was intercepted near the goal line by Nigel Gay (Newnan, Ga.). The Crusaders went on top in the final minute of the half as Justin Gravely (Pickens, S.C.) booted a 25-yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining before the break. Catawba’s defense held the Crusaders to the three points after NGU had a first-and-goal at the one.
The Indians took the lead for good on its first drive of the second half. Catawba converted on three third-down tries, the last on a 28-yard pass to Tyler Hamilton (Charlotte, N.C./Vance HS) on a third-and-11 to the NGU 17. Sheehan later took it over from the three to make it 21-17.
The Catawba defense came up with another red zone stand to keep the Indians on top. The Crusaders went on a fourth-and-two from the Tribe three, but came up a yard short on a tackle by Gabe Evans (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest HS). Kyle Kitchens (Decatur, Ga./Decatur HS) had a sack to help stop the next NGU drive and the Catawba offense delivered a 14-play, 76-yard that gave the Indians a 28-17 edge.
Sheehan set up the final score with a 20-yard pass to Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) to the Crusader three. Sheehan plowed in from the one two plays later. North Greenville benefitted from a partially blocked punt late in the fourth quarter, but the Indian defense denied the Crusaders on downs from the 15 and the offense ran out the final 3:49 on the clock.
Trey Mashore (Woodleaf, N.C./W. Rowan HS) followed Littlejohn with 66 yards rushing and Sheehan added another 65. Freshman Keyon West (N. Augusta, S.C./N. Augusta HS) had four catches, while Hamilton, Tarrats and Dalton Pierce (Mooresville, N.C./Mooresville HS) all had three receptions.
Hughes threw for 239 yards for the Crusaders. He completed 18-of-34 passes. Weeks made six grabs for 117 yards and Robbie Brown (Swansea, S.C.) had five catches for 50 yards. Byrd was the top ground gainer with 35 of the 64 yards by NGU.
Ed Robinson (Callahan, Fla./Paxon School) joined Kitchens with a sack for Catawba. Rai Smith (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman HS) broke up two passes. Jason Taylor (Bahama, N.C./Northern HS) led the unit with eight tackles.
Taylor Anderson (Boiling Springs, S.C.) recorded 13 tackles for North Greenville. Quan Weeks (Gaffney, S.C.) added a dozen stops.
Catawba will travel to nationally-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne next Saturday to close out its season. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
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