Football Claims 45-21 Win Over #23 Mars Hill
Game played in front of record crowd of 5,514
SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba capitalized on three second-quarter Mars Hill turnovers and claimed a 45-21 win over the visiting Lions in South Atlantic Conference football action on Thursday night at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Catawba Indians, ranked 14th in the AFCA Division II poll, improves to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the SAC. The 23rd-ranked Lions fall to 4-1 and 0-1.
Catawba grabbed the lead in the opening quarter on a 54-yard pass from Brad Roach (Williamston, NC/Williamson HS) to Lee Page (Dillon, SC/Dillon HS) at the 3:49 mark. Mars Hill was driving for a tying score midway through the second quarter when Catawba defensive end Arthur Cromartie (Fayetteville, NC/Sanford HS) intercepted a swing pass and raced 66 yards for a touchdown.
On the next Lion possession, Brandon McIntyre (Burgaw, NC/Pender County HS) would intercept Ricky Spradling (Roan Mountain, TN) and his 27-yard return put the ball on the Mars Hill 38. Catawba would cash in as Kory Fisher (New Bern, NC/New Bern HS) capped a drive with a 12-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead with 2:10 remaining in the half. The senior would eclipse the 2,000-yard mark for his career in the opening half, becoming just the sixth Catawba back to accomplish the feat.
Mars Hill would give Catawba a final chance to score in the half as Frankie Waters (Brevard, NC) fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Keith Brown (Tarboro, NC/Tarboro HS) recovered at the Lion 34-yard line. Five plays later, Roach plowed in from a yard out for the 28-0 halftime lead.
The Lions would get on the scoreboard on their opening drive of the second half as Spradling tossed a 10-yard pass to Jamel Fayson (Jacksonville, FL). Catawba answered the score with a 14-play, 68-drive that culminated in George Bell’s (Fayetteville, NC/Britt HS) eighth touchdown on the year, a run from two-yards out.
Mars Hill cut the deficit to 38-21 on a 38-yard pass from Spradling to Travis Prince (Jacksonville, FL) with 10:35 remaining, but Catawba used another long drive to eat away the clock. The Indians moved 60 yards in 17 plays to cap the scoring on Jamelle Cuthberton’s (Charlotte, NC/Harding HS) one-yard run with 2:17 left.
Catawba controlled the clock, possessing the ball for 34:18. The Indians were also 10-of-15 on third-down conversions. Fisher led a 187-yard rushing attack with 71 yards with Bell adding 59. Roach completed 17-of-23 passes for 249 yards with Antwan Strong (Charlotte, NC/W. Charlotte HS) making six catches for 93 yards. George Washington (Warner Robbins, GA) ran for 127 yards to pace Mars Hill. Spradling was 15-of-33 for 227 yards.
The game was played in front of record crowd of 5,514 in attendance for Catawba’s first Thursday game since 1968. The game was also the first live national television broadcast from Shuford Stadium. Catawba improved to 31-1 when scoring first under Head Coach Chip Hester.Related Item: Box Score