Football Overcomes Early Miscues to Top Limestone


GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Patrick O’Brien threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns as visiting Catawba overcame three first-half fumbles to score a 45-28 win over Limestone in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at The Reservation at Gaffney High School. The Catawba Indians improve to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the SAC, while the Saints fall to 4-5 and 3-3.

O’Brien completed 26-of-36 passes on the day with three of scores coming in the second half as Catawba rallied from a 17-10 deficit at the break. O’Brien is the fourth Indian quarterback to eclipse 400 yards, joining Luke Samples (492), Brad Roach (486) and Danny O’Brien (444).

The Indians nearly reached 600 yards of offense, adding 185 yards on the ground to finish with 588 on the day. Kenyatta Greene had 96 yards on 17 carries and caught four passes for 53 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Sam Mobley (7 catches, 132 yards) and Jourdan Osinskie (6 catches, 105 yards) led the receivers as O’Brien hit seven different targets.

Greene’s final score came just after Limestone had cut a 31-20 deficit to 31-28 with 8:04 to play. Josh Patton ran in from five yards for the touchdown and Deondre Baskett caught a two-point conversion pass from DJ Phillips. After an out-of-bounds kickoff and a roughing-the-quarterback penalty, Greene broke off an 18-yard run to the Limestone 32. He caught a pass from O’Brien on the next play that led to a 38-28 edge.

Catawba’s defense put an exclamation point on the win on Limestone’s first play after the kickoff. Phillips was hit by Isiah Huffin and his pass was intercepted by Trey Evans, who returned the pick 30 yards for a score with 7:00 to play and giving the Indians their final margin of 45-28.

Evans finished the day with 10 tackles, including one for a loss. Kyle Kitchens was in on one of three Catawba sacks, two which were recorded by Omar Staley. Caleb Allen posted seven tackles and blocked a Limestone field goal try early in the fourth quarter with the Indians on top 31-20.

Phillips threw for 413 yards in a losing effort for the Saints. He completed 25-of-51 passes with a pair of scores and the interception. Vyncent Smith had seven grabs for 180 yards, while Jumill Hornsby added five catches for 109 yards. Both had a touchdown catch. Patton ran for 80 yards on 18 carries.

Limestone had a long opening drive, but missed a field goal. Catawba fumbled on its first play and the Saints took the early lead on a 27-yard pass from Phillips to Smith. The Indians appeared to be poised to tie the game quickly, but Eamon Smart fumbled just before the goalline after a 52-yard run.

The Indians would tie the game on its next possession. After forcing a punt, O’Brien connected with Mobley for a 74-yard score. Catawba took the lead with 6:49 to go in the half as Lee Brackman hit on a 33-yard field goal that capped a 15-play, 70-yard drive.

Nick Smith tied the game on a 33-yard field goal with 1:40 to go then the Saints took the lead after Catawba’s third fumble of the half. The Indians had moved into Limestone territory, but a fumble ended the threat with 34 seconds to play. Phillips hit Hornsby on the first play after the turnover for a 59-yard touchdown and a 17-10 lead at the break.

Greene scored two touchdowns around a 37-yard field goal by Smith to put Catawba up 24-20 with 5:46 to go in the third quarter. He capped the opening drive of the second half with a 10-yard catch from O’Brien then run for a 37-yard touchdown. O’Brien had a 33-yard touchdown pass to Keyon West that gave the Indians its 31-20 lead late in the third quarter.

Catawba will entertain Newberry on Saturday at 1:30 pm in the first of its back-to-back home games to end the regular season.

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