Football Puts Scare Into #3 LR Before Falling 27-21


HICKORY, N.C. -- Catawba gave third-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne a battle on Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium before falling to the Bears 27-21 in its final South Atlantic Conference football game of the season.  The Bears finish undefeated at 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians end up 6-5 and 3-4.

Chris Robinson led Lenoir-Rhyne with 130 yards rushing and a score to pace an offense that totaled 447 yards, 361 on the ground.  Michael Patrick nearly reached 100 yards, finishing with 96 yards, while Jarrod Spears added 78.  Quarterback Miles Freeman ran for two scores and completed 5-of-11 passes for 86 yards.

Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) threw for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass for the Indians, both in the second half.  Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) ran for a team-high 69 yards and a touchdown.

Robinson put LR on the board late in the first quarter on a two-yard run that capped a 14-play, 91-yard drive.  After a Catawba fumble on the ensuing drive, the Bears added a field goal for 10-0 lead at the 11:55 mark of the second quarter.

The Indians cut into the deficit late in the first half as Littlejohn went in from two yards out to cap an 89-yard drive with 2:24 left before the break.  The junior broke off runs of 18 and 11 yards to help set up his score.  Lenoir-Rhyne was able to answer that score in the final minute.  Freeman was able to score on a nine-yard run with 46 seconds on the clock.  He set up the score with a 22-yard pass to Patrick to the nine.

Catawba stunned the Bears to open the second half, taking over following a Robinson fumble.  After a lateral, Tarrats completed a 43-yard strike to a wide open Gary Williams (Southport, N.C./S. Brunswick HS).  Freeman came back two drives later to push the LR lead back to 10 with a one-yard run with 3:31 to go in the third quarter.  A key third-and-13 completion to Greyson Wells kept the drive alive.

  Down 27-14 with just over three minutes to play, Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) led Catawba on a 72-yard drive to pull the Indians within a single score with 58 seconds left.  Tarrats got the score on a 15-yard pass.  The Bears recovered the onside kick, but Catawba did force a punt and got one final chance from its own one-yard line with 26 seconds to go.  Sheehan completed a pass to David Burgess (Morganton, N.C./Freedom HS) out to the 30, but two plays later, Chris Shaffer sealed the game with an interception on the final play.

Jason Taylor (Bahama, N.C./Northern HS) finished the contest with 14 tackles for the Indians.  Derrick Lee (Siler City, N.C./Jordan-Matthews HS) recorded a sack and Philip George (Columbia, S.C./Kenan HS/Coastal Carolina) had an interception. 

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