McDaniel's Three Picks Sparks Football Past Limestone


GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Catawba battled the elements for a third straight week and won 10-3 over host Limestone on a sloppy tract at The Reservation at Gaffney High School on Saturday night.  Mark McDaniel (China Grove, N.C./S. Rowan HS) snuffed out the final try by the Saints with his record-tying third interception of the game with just over a minute to play.  The Catawba Indians improve to 4-2, while the Saints fall to 1-4.

The Indians put the game in the hands of the defense in the final half and the unit held Limestone to just a field goal which came late in the third quarter.  Catawba netted just two total yards in the second half and did not pick up a first down.

Catawba converted two McDaniel first-half interceptions into 10 points.  The senior ended a Limestone drive into the Indian red zone in the first quarter with a pick at the eight and returned it to the Saint 44.   Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) would cap a drive with an 18-yard run for the lone touchdown of the game to stake Catawba to a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.

With both offenses trading three-and-outs, McDaniel would earn Catawba another  interception to set the Indians up at the Limestone 31.  Catawba’s drive bogged down, but Chad Hollandsworth (Kernersville, N.C./E. Forsyth HS) connected on a 31-yard field goal with just 22 seconds left in the half for the 10-0 margin at the break.

Limestone put together an 11-play, 50-yard drive midway through the third quarter.  The Saints moved to the Catawba 14, but had to settle for a 31-yard field from Logan Ard to make it 10-3 at the 4:13 mark of the quarter.  The Saints got the ball right back on an interception and drove to the Indian 10.  A penalty helped back the Saints up and DJ Jackson (Powder Springs, Ga./Hiram HS) broke up a second-down pass in the end zone.  Limestone failed to score, missing on a 39-yard field goal try.

The Saints were intercepted on two their last three drives, one by Chris Carpenter (Fredericksburg, Va./Courtland HS) and on the final drive by McDaniel.  Limestone had started its last drive at midfield and had converted once on fourth down to the Catawba 27.  Facing another fourth down at the Indian 24, McDaniel picked off a pass at the one and returned it 84 yards to the Limestone 15.  The Indians were able to kneel down and run out the final 1:09 on the clock.

Sheehan ran for 92 yards to lead the offense.  The quarterback had 53 yards on the first drive of the game that failed to produce points after a missed field goal.  Littlejohn ran for 20 yards and Eamon Smart (Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral HS) 11 yards.  Sheehan completed 2-of-6 passes for 12 yards.  Littlejohn had one catch for no yards and Bruce Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./N. Davidson HS) one for 12 yards.  Smith’s catch converted a third-and-11 and led to Hollandsworth’s field goal.

Limestone outgained Catawba 234 yards to 124 yards.  The Saints had 134 yards rushing, led by quarterback Matthew Harkness’ 65 yards.  Wide out D’Anta Fleming picked up 45 yards.  Harkness was 6-of-12 in the air for 52 yards, but was intercepted twice.  Jonathan Clark was 4-of-8 for 48 yards and also threw two picks.  Deondre Baskett caught four passes for 57 yards.

Michael Peppers (Clemson, S.C./Daniel HS) led the Indian defense with 11 tackles.  He made back-to-back stops, one for a loss, to help hold the Saints to the field goal in the third quarter.  C.J. Barksdale (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest HS) made 10 tackles, while Trey Evans (Barnsville, Ga./Lamar Co. HS) was in on nine stops and two and half for losses. 

McDaniel became the sixth Indian to intercept three passes in a game.  The most recent was Nolan Peterson, who did the trick in a 17-3 win over Carson-Newman in 1996.  Harvey Stratton (1953), Larry Taylor (1966), Tom Burdette (1969) and Jay Aldridge (1984) also share the record.

Catawba returns home to Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field next week as the Indians host Mars Hill at 1:30 pm.  A win would mark the 500th in program history.

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