November 4, 2017
Football Downs Newberry in Defensive Struggle
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Patrick O’Brien connected on a pair of touchdown passes to Keyon West and Catawba won a defensive battle with Newberry, 17-13, in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Catawba Indians push their record to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the SAC, while the Wolves fall to 4-6 and 2-4 with a fourth straight loss.
O’Brien twice broke ties with his tosses to West, both coming on third down plays. The first came in the final 30 seconds of the first half when he found West for an eight-yard score and a 10-3 edge at the break. The last snapped a 10-10 tie early in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard strike.
O’Brien completed 19-of-26 passes on the day for 173 yards and his two scores without an interception. West snared seven passes for 51 yards, while Sam Mobley caught six balls for 94 yards. Kenyatta Greene led the Indians on the ground with 61 yards on 13 carries. Neither team garnered 300 yards of offense as Newberry finished with 269 yards and Catawba 244 yards.
Markell Castle led the Newberry offense as he had six receptions for 110 yards. Darius Clark totaled 29 yards rushing as the top ground gainer. Greg Ruff went 6-of-12 in the air for 112 yards in the first half, but left with an injury. The Wolves did not use a quarterback in the second half, having backs and receivers take the snap.
Newberry converted four third downs on an opening drive that lasted 17 plays and nearly 10 minutes before culminating with a 49-yard field goal by Shea Rogers. Catawba tied the game midway through the second quarter with a 13-play, 81-yard drive with a Lee Brackman 18-yard field goal.
The Indians went on top with its last drive of the half. The big play was a 34-yard pass from O’Brien to Mobley to the Newberry 10. Three plays later, O’Brien connected with West for a 10-3 lead.
The Wolves pulled even late in the third quarter, capitalizing on the lone turnover of the game. Catawba would fumble at its own 25 and Newberry found the end zone in seven plays. Baptiste Staggers carried in from four yards out with 2:35 to go in the quarter.
Catawba’s winning drive bridged the final two quarters and started with a pair of runs by Greene. He ran for 15 yards on the first play and came back for an 18-yard run two plays later to the Newberry 35. A pass to Mobley moved the ball to the Newberry 13 which set up the third down pass to West for a 17-10 lead.
Newberry closed within 17-13 on a 34-yard field goal by Rodgers with 6:51 to go. Catawba ran off nearly five minutes of clock before giving the ball back to the Wolves at their own eight with 1:57 left. Newberry hit one pass on the first play to just inside midfield, but the Indian defense held from their and the Wolves turned the ball over on downs with 51 second left.
Catawba puts a cap on the regular season as it hosts Lenoir-Rhyne next Saturday at 1:30 pm.
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