Football

Catawba defense takes a hit

By Bret Strelow, The Salisbury PostCurtis Walker is a tremendous defensive coordinator, I thought his game plan was beautiful,”Tomsula said. ‘Everyone wants to point a finger I guess, and if you’re going to point one, you point it to the defensive line coach. You point it at me.” The defense did have a few bright spots, but they only temporarily stopped a determined Eagle squad. With the game tied at 20-20 in the fourth quarter, Carson-Newman looked poised to take the lead. The Eagles drove down to the Indian 7-yard line, and Antwon Oliver appeared to score on a first-down play. The Carson-Newman sideline celebrated, but the officials ruled Oliver down at the 1. Quarterback Shane Kelley went for a sneak on the next play, but Catawba’s James McDowell ripped the ball out of his hands to give the Catawba offense the ball back. The Indians rushed on three plays and punted, but Alvin Sanders and Mikkal Jenkins both tried to catch the ball and fumbled it at the Catawba 47. Darris Morris recovered with 12:09 left, and the Indians marched down the field and scored on Tony Hawkins’ 7-yard burst around left end on fourth-and-inches to put Catawba ahead. “That changed the whole game right there,”Khanis Hubbard said.“If they would have scored, it would have been a backbreaker.” Instead, Carson-Newman fought back and made it a heartbreaker. The Eagles went 78 yards on four plays — thanks largely to a 65-yard reception by Sanders — to tie the game with 6:53 left. Carson-Newman didn’t slow down in overtime, scoring two times in what was a rare offensive duel between the two teams. Before Saturday, neither squad had scored more than 30 points since the Eagles put up 41 in a 20-point win in 1995. “It’s nothing we are going to dwell on, we still have two games to go,” Hubbard said. “Come back Saturday and be 8-1, come to the Saturday after that and be 9-1. Try to make it to the playoffs and win a national championship.” Sounds like a defense that hasn’t lost its confidence. #######

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