Football Rebounds, Rolls to 40-20 Win Over Carson-Newman


SALISBURY, N.C. -- The Catawba defense forced five turnovers, Case Woodard (Snellville, Ga./Arabia Mountain/Ga. Military) had a momentum-changing 89-yard pick six, Brennan Lambert (China Grove, N.C./S. Rowan) kicked four field goals and Eamon Smart (Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral) ran for over 100 yards in a 40-20 victory over visiting Carson-Newman on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.  The Catawba Indians improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the South Atlantic Conference.  The Eagles fall to 1-2 and 0-1.

The game started well for Carson-Newman as the Eagles took the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards on 12 plays to grab a 7-0 lead after a Noah Suber 10-yard run and a Carson Wise conversion kick.  The Indians returned the favor the first time they touched the ball.  Smart would cap the 12-play, 75-yard drive with a six-yard run on third down.  Lambert’s kick tied it.

The Eagles reclaimed the lead late in the opening quarter on a 19-yard field goal from Wise and were driving again on their third possession when Woodard changed the game.  After moving inside the Catawba 10, Suber’s pass in the flat was read by Woodard, who stepped in front of the receiver and raced 89 yards to give Catawba a lead it never relinquished.

Woodard came up big on the next Carson-Newman possession as he partially blocked a punt that gave the Indians possession at midfield.  Catawba would tack on three more points on the first of Lambert’s four field goals.  The kick, from 27 yards, made it 17-10 with 5:49 left in the half.  The Eagles would march inside the Catawba 10 in the final minute, but settled for a Wise 27-yard field goal to make the score 17-13 at the break.

The Indians went up 24-13 after the second half kickoff with a 67-yard drive that ended on a 15-yard run by Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney).  Sheehan had kept the drive alive two plays earlier with a 10-yard completion to Bruce Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./N. Davidson) on a fourth and three.

Turnovers would begin to tell the tale after Catawba’s score to start the final half.  Carson-Newman drove inside the Catawba 30 when the march ended on a fumble recovery by Trevor Bembry (Disputanta, Va./Prince George) after a dropped pitch.  Following another third down conversion, freshman Quientel Goodwin (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond Sr.) raced 30 yards on another third down to make it 31-13.

The Eagles answered the drive when Antonio Wimbush scored from two-yards out to make it 31-20 with one tick left in the third quarter.  C-N had converted a fourth-and-seven to set up the score.  Lambert’s 20-yard field goal put Catawba on top 34-20 and CJ Barksdale (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest) recovered another fumble on a pitch out to set up Lambert’s third field goal from 35-yards out.

Carson-Newman’s last two drives would also end with turnovers.  Jamal Lackey (Mocksville, N.C./Davie Co.) sacked Suber and forced a fumble that Kyle Kitchens (Decatur, Ga./Decatur) returned 42 yards to the Eagle 15.  That led to the final score of the day as Lambert put through another 35-yard kick.  Dijonne Williams (Camden, N.J./Williamston/Livingstone) intercepted Suber for the fifth turnover and Catawba ran out the clock.

Smart had the most of Catawba’s 167 yards on the ground as he pounded out 109 yards on 24 carries.  Sheehan was 19-of-27 through the air for 147 yards.  Smith and Keyon West (North Augusta, S.C./N. Augusta) each caught five passes.

Suber was 13-of-25 passing for Carson-Newman for 236 yards.  Lonnie Williams had five catches for 102 yards.  Montavious Taylor led the ground game with 66 yards.

Catawba entered the game with only six third-down conversions in 30 tries.  Saturday, the Indians were 8-of-15.  Carson-Newman had also played turnover free football over its first two games before the five in the loss.

Catawba travels to Wingate next Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff against the Bulldogs.

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