Defense leads Football to SAC-opening win at Presbyterian

CLINTON, NC – Catawba College, ranked 17th in the AFCA Division II Poll, limited the nation’s 22nd-ranked offense to just 165 total yards as the Indians spoiled Presbyterian’s Homecoming with a 20-17 win in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium. Catawba improves to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Blue Hose falls to 2-2 and 0-1. Catawba junior quarterback Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) threw for 233 yards and one touchdown on 20-of-34 passing, while the Indian defense held off a late Blue Hose comeback to preserve the win. In the final of the game, with Catawba holding a slim 20-15 lead, the Indians forced a turnover on downs as redshirt freshman defensive end Marcus Huntley (Morven, NC) sacked PC quarterback Zach Ellis (Tifton, GA) on the Indian 27-yard line to end PC's final scoring threat with 1:30 left in the game. Catawba tried to run out the clock and ended up taking a safety with seven seconds remaining to cut their lead to 20-17. PC was unable to move the ball on the ensuing kickoff as the Indians held on for the win. The Blue Hose took over their own 13-ayrd line after the free kick and tried several laterals on a short pass before fumbling to end the game. Both teams had turnovers on their opening possession and PC took the lead late in the opening quarter after a short Catawba punt. At the 4:28 mark of the quarter, linebacker David Behrendsen (Madison, GA), who was inserted at fullback, scored from one-yard out. On the extra point attempt, Derrick Keith (Toccoa, GA) mishandled a snap, but rolled out to find Zach Smith (Newnan, GA) in the end zone for the two-point conversion to give PC a 8-0 lead. Catawba cut the lead to 8-7 when junior running back Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) scored from 16 yards out at the 12:38 mark of the second quarter. Four minutes later, Allan Rohrbaugh (Lexington, NC) connected on a 30-yard field goal to give Catawba the lead for good at 10-8. The Indians would get another score before half as Samples found junior wideout Bryan Flynn (Lexington, NC) for a 12-yard TD pass with 2:27 remaining until the half for a 17-8 lead. Catawba’s defense dominated the opening half, limiting the Blue Hose to just 31 total yards. Thirty of those yards came on PC’s initial scoring drive in the first quarter. Presbyterian entered the game ranked fourth in NCAA II in passing at 320 yards per game, but Catawba held the Blue Hose to only 2-of-11 completions for 12 yards in the opening half and picked off Ellis three times. For the game, PC went 12-for-29 in the air for 110 yards and four interceptions. In the second half, Rohrbaugh kicked a 27-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-8 to cap off an eight-play, 51-yard drive at the 5:53 mark of the third. PC would cut the lead to 20-15 when Chris Charles (Lithonia, GA) scored from three yards out at the 1:43 mark of the third. Presbyterian had a score called back for offensive pass interference on its next possession and later had a drive ended on an interception by Eddie Wall (Albemarle, NC). PC’s next series saw the Blue Hose drive to the Catawba 20 where the drive stalled and ended on Huntley’s sack. On the day, Catawba out gained PC 315 to 165 yards in total offense, including Wallace running for 75 yards on 18 carries. Presbyterian was led by Corey Mitchell (Dalzel, SC), who ran for 45 yards on 11 carries while Ellis completed 12-of-29 passes for 110 yards, but threw four interceptions on the day. PC’s Terry Meng (Campobello, SC), the league’s second leading receiver, was held to just two catches for 28 yards, while Catawba’s Corey Ready (Aiken, SC) continued his stellar season with 90 yards on eight catches. Catawba defense end Khanis Hubbard (Raleigh, NC) helped lead the defense with five tackles, including a sack, a pass interception and a pass break-up. #####

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