Football Rides Three-Game Streak Into Saturday's Game With UNCP


SALISBURY, N.C. -- The Catawba football team will ride a three-game winning streak into this weekend’s non-conference tilt with UNC Pembroke.  The three wins, two of them conference victories, have pushed the Catawba Indians into a first-place tie with Wingate with a 3-1 SAC mark.  Catawba is 5-2 overall.

The Indians are coming off a 29-10 win over Mars Hill last week.  It marked the first game since winning at Carson-Newman on Sept. 19 that Catawba played on a dry field.  Mike Sheehan ran for 113 yards and accounted for two scores, one rushing and one passing, in the win.  He capped a four-play, 89-yard drive on Catawba’s first possession with a 17-yard run for a 7-0 lead then tossed an 18-yard TD pass to Gary Williams midway through the fourth quarter for a 22-10 edge.

Catawba’s defense surrendered 273 yards on 53 Mars Hill plays in the first half, but limited the Lions to just a field goal in four trips into the Indian red zone.  Catawba blocked a field goal and intercepted two passes.  Kyle Kitchens turned one pick into a score, going 90 yards to put the Indians up 14-3 at the 6:54 mark of the second quarter.  Case Woodard ended the final drive of the half with an interception inside the 10.

Mars Hill managed just 138 yards of offense in the second half with 63 coming on a touchdown run on a wide receiver reverse that made it 14-10 in the third quarter.  After controlling the ball just 10 minutes in the opening half, Catawba’s offense totaled nearly 20 minutes of possession time in the second half.

UNC Pembroke is 4-2 on the year and traveled to North Alabama last week.  UNA built a 48-14 edge by the half and went on for a 62-28 victory.  The Braves scored on a pair of TD runs by Rontonio Stanley, from 84 and 27 yards out.  UNCP had a 49-yard fumble return by Chris Phipps and a 25-yard pass from Patrick O’Brien to B.J. Bunn in the second half.

Stanley had a big day vs. the Lions as he ran for 148 yards on 13 carries.  O’Brien went 18-of-36 through the air for 165 yards with Bunn grabbing five catches for 49 yards.  The Braves had three turnovers on the day.

Catawba and UNC Pembroke have met four times with each team grabbing two wins.  Catawba won the initial meeting at Shuford Stadium in 2011.  UNCP won in Salisbury in 2013, holding off a late Catawba rally.  The Indians claimed last year’s meeting 30-17 at Pembroke.

Kickoff on Saturday is set for 1:30 pm.  The Indians will face three South Atlantic Conference games after this week as Catawba pushes for its first post-season berth since 2007.

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