Ready, Samples set miletones as Football claims share of SAC title

SALISBURY, NC – Thirtenth-ranked Catawba defeated visiting Lenoir-Rhyne 26-18 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Indians claim a share of the SAC Championship with the win, improving to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the league. The Bears end theirits season at 3-8 and 1-6. Catawba will await its post-season future which will be announced on Sunday as the Indians are looking for a fifth straight trip to the NCAA II playoffs. Both wide receiver Corey Ready (Aiken, SC) and quarterback Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) surpassed milestones in the win for Catawba. Ready, a sophomore, caught seven passes for 127 yards and became the first to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in receiving for a season. Samples, a junior, passed for 279 yards and became the school’s all-time passing yardage leader. With two touchdown strikes, he stands tied with 53 career TD passes. After fumbling on its first possession, Catawba would take the lead on its second try as Samples found Ready open in the flat, who raced 46 yards for the initial score. Lenoir-Rhyne would answer back on the kickoff as Christopher Winford (Mooresville, NC) took a lateral and raced 96 yards for a score, but the point-after was missed. Early in the second quarter, Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) ran for a 29-yard score to give Catawba a 14-6 lead with 13:46 before the half. Catawba was driving for an additional score, when Tore’ Girty (Salisbury, NC) stepped in front of a Samples toss at the L-R goal line and returned the interception 100 yards to cut the lead to 14-12. A try for two-points failed. Catawba added two scores before the break. Wallace caught a 25-yard pass from Samples with 1:38 remaining and Allan Rohrbaugh (Lexington, NC) connected on a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Catawba led 23-12 at the half, limiting the Bears to just 21 yards on 25 plays. The Tribe offense totaled 312 yards. Lenoir-Rhyne cut the lead to 23-18 in the third quarter on a five-yard run by Josh Reeves (Kannapolis, NC), but the try for two points was again unsuccessful. Catawba would go on top 26-18 with 13:14 remaining on a 38-yard field goal by Rohrbaugh. The Bears drove to the Catawba 30 on its next possession, but was denied on fourth down. On its next possession, from the Tribe 28, Scott Branton (Maryville, TN) was intercepted in the end zone by Catawba’s Jamel Jackson (Concord, NC) with 3:02 remaining. The Bears had one last chance, but Branton was sacked by Marcus Huntley (Morven, NC) on the final play from the Tribe 43. Samples was 21-of-41 for 279 yards with two scored to lead Catawba. He has now thrown for 6,992 yards in three seasons. Ready improved his season totals to 70 catches (also a school record) for 1,043 yards. Wallace led the ground game with 80 yards, while Tony Hawkins (Fayetteville, NC) recorded three of the Tribe’s eight sacks on the day. Branton was 13-of-26 for 142 yards for L-R. Patrick Henson (Morganton, NC) ran for 51 yards. #####

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