Football falls at CN despite records by Samples and Ready

JEFFERSON CITY, TN – Sixth-ranked Catawba fell into a 31-3 halftime hole and couldn’t quite dig itself out, eventually falling 41-36 at 10th-ranked Carson-Newman in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium. The Eagle move into a three-way tie atop the SAC standings along with Catawba and Tusculum, improving to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the SAC. Catawba falls to 8-2 and 5-1. The game between the teams has been one of the most exciting in the nation over the past few seasons. Saturday's game again lived up to the hype and expectations. Carson-Newman built a 34-3 lead early in the third quarter before the Indians mounted a tremendous comeback, falling just short in front of a large crowd at Burke-Tarr Stadium. Both teams' quarterbacks had huge days. C-N signal-caller Shane Kelley (Sevierville, TN) was six-for-nine for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Kelley also scored two rushing touchdowns as he picked up 45 yards on eight carries. J.J. Chatmon (Catersville, GA) led the Eagles' ground game as he rushed for 104 yards on 18 carries. Catawba quarterback Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) had a record-setting day for the Indians. He was 38-of-66 for 492 yards and four touchdowns. He set a new school record for passing yards, attempts and completions and tied the record for touchdown passes. He is the first Catawba player to throw for over 400 yards in a game. Samples' favorite receiver was Corey Ready (Aiken, SC) who tied a school record for pass receptions in a single game with 12 (12-155 yards, one touchdown). Ready also established a new Catawba records for receptions and receiving yards in a season, eclipsing the marks of Ike Hill in 1968. Hill had 57 catches for 833 yards, while Ready now has 63 this season for 916 yards. The Eagle offense was in high gear in the first half as they built a 31-3 advantage through the first two quarters. Rayvon Howard (Brewton, AL) started the scoring binge with a three-yard run with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter. That would be the only scoring by either team in the first 15 minutes of play, but the second quarter belonged to the Eagles as C-N out-scored the Indians 24-3. Alvin Sanders (Sandersville, GA) was on the receiving end of a 64-yard strike from Kelley for the second quarter's first score. Angel Gonzalez (Miami, FL) nailed a 29-yard field goal and Kelley scored from 29 yards out with 4:41 remaining in the first half. Rush Rollins (Kannapolis, NC) booted a 32-yard field goal with 2:17 left in the second quarter for Catawba. The Eagles capped the first half scoring when Kelley found Damone Boone (Arlington, VA) for a 29-yard scoring pass. The Eagle defense held the Indians to minus one rushing yard in the first half on 13 carries. The C-N defense also ended the first half with a huge defensive stop on the Indian one yard line. Samples fired an 11-yard pass to Brian Carter (Alexandria, VA) at the one yard line, but Jarrod Houston (Jefferson City, TN) and Reed Atchley (Sevierville, TN) prevented him from scoring only inches away from pay dirt. The Indians scrapped the running game to begin the second half in favor of a passing game and the strategy produced big numbers for Samples as he threw for 313 yards in the second half. After Gonzalez had given C-N a 34-3 lead at the 10:22 mark of the third quarter, the Indians went to work. Ready caught a 34-yard pass from Samples with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. Mario Crowe (Charlotte, NC) ran a three-yard touchdown in to cut the lead to 34-16. The Indians started the fourth quarter with an eight-yard pass from Samples to Carter, but the two-point conversion failed. Kelley scored his fourth touchdown of the game for C-N with a one-yard run at the 9:02 mark. Carter scored another touchdown when he caught a seven-yard pass from Samples with 6:29 remaining and then Samples found Colin Reese (Charlotte, NC) for a 24-yard score to cut the lead to 41-36 with 3:01 left in the game. The Eagles picked up the necessary first downs in the final three minutes to run out the clock. #####

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