Football

Catawba wide receivers finally get ‘out' of slump

By Bret Strelow, The Salisbury Post

WINGATE — Wideouts Nick Means and Arnold Gaither both have a lot to prove this year.

Catawba’s duo of outside receivers picked Saturday to finally get in on the action.

Means and Gaither combined for 10 catches and 125 receiving yards in the Indians’ 12-0 win against Wingate.
The two players had totaled only three receptions for 14 yards in Catawba’s first two games. Instead, the Indians’ slot receivers were getting most of the catches.

“Me and Nick were talking about this all week. Nick said it’s our turn,” Gaither said. “It’s time for us on the outside to do our thing.”

That they did. Gaither came up big in the waning moments of the first half, then Means stole the spotlight in the third quarter.

Means scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Scott Sensing with 1:19 left in the third to give Catawba a 12-0 lead.

Sensing, who hit his elbow on a Wingate helmet on a throw in the Indians’ previous series, pumped once and connected with Means on a pass down the right sideline.

Sensing was still hurting from the hit, and his pass to Means was underthrown. But Means reached over the back of Wingate DB Derrick Bryant, caught the ball and raced the final 20 yards into the end zone.

“His fingers were numb, so he couldn’t hold the ball real good,”Means said. “He threw it up, I came back — it was a jump ball — and luckily I caught it. It was a foot-race from there on.”

Means, a preseason first-team All-SAC selection, came into the game with only two catches for nine yards. But he had seven receptions for 89 yards against the Bulldogs.

“The SAC coaches sort of set expectations for me, but I set bigger expectations for myself over the summer,”Means said. “When I’m working out, I try to set high goals for myself. As long as I strive for those goals, I won’t go wrong.”

Gaither, a senior from North Iredell, is running out of time to fulfill his goals. But he is intent on finishing his Catawba career with a bang.

Gaither caught three passes for 36 yards in the first half, all of which produced first downs for the struggling Indian offense.

Two of his three catches came on Catawba’s final drive before the break, which led to a 39-yard field goal by Matt Gross.

Sensing found the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Gaither over the middle for 15 yards to give Catawba a first down at the Wingate 31.

On the next play, Sensing hit Gaither over the middle again, this time for a gain of 13 yards with 25 seconds left before halftime.

“I don’t know how they missed me, but everybody has a position to play, a spot to go to,” said Gaither of his ability to sneak into an opening in the middle of the field. “I guess I just got lucky and got open, and the quarterback found me.”

That’s not that tough of a job for Sensing.

“If I miss up and throw it high, I know A.G. can go get it,”he said.

Catawba’s next tallest receivers in the regular rotation on Saturday — Means and O.J. Lennon — are five inches shorter than Gaither.

Gaither is nine inches taller than Bulldog cornerback Terrance Johnson, who guarded him for much of the afternoon.

“He’s a big target for the quarterback to throw to,” Means said. “A lot of guys think he’s slow because he’s so big and looks like a tight end out there, but he has the skill and agility to play wideout. It’s a big asset for him to be so big.”

Up until Saturday, Gaither wasn’t getting the chance to show it. He entered the game with one catch for four yards.

The Indians’ two slot receivers — Lennon and Cedric Squirewell — caught 56 percent of the Indians’ completed passes in two games.

Gaither, the only senior in the bunch, was happy to be part of the act.

“I’m still out to prove myself as a senior, as a wide receiver,” Gaither said. “I’m ready to prove myself.”

Gaither and Means figured out in the week leading up to the Wingate game that Saturday might be the best chance for both of them to do just that.

“We looked at the film, two of the inside guys had big games in the last two games,”Means said. “We hadn’t had many balls thrown at us, so we knew our time was coming, just be patient.”

***

Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com .

Today's Events

Softball vs CARSON-NEWMAN, 0-5 LStats
Baseball @ Wingate, 9-5 WVideoStats
Softball vs CARSON-NEWMAN, 3-2 WStats
Lacrosse (W) vs. TUSCULUM, 13-11 WVideoStats
Baseball @ Wingate, 6:00VideoStats
Lacrosse (M) vs. TUSCULUM, 7:00VideoStats

Calendar

«April 2018»
123
April 3

Golf (M) @ Tennessee River Rumble - Day 1 (Tennessee National GC)

Softball @ Newberry 5-2

Tennis (W) @ JC Smith 9-0

Tennis (M) @ JC Smith 8-1

Softball @ Newberry 3-5

Lacrosse (M) vs. MARS HILL 11-9

4
April 4

Golf (M) @ Tennessee Rumble - Day 2 (Tennessee National GC) 10th of 16

Tennis (W) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 3-6

Tennis (M) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 4-5

Baseball vs. North Greenville (Flour Field) 5-6

56
April 6

Tennis (W) vs. MARS HILL 9-0

Tennis (M) vs. MARS HILL 8-1

Baseball vs. NEWBERRY 18-12

Lacrosse (M) vs. LIMESTONE 11-12

7
8
April 8

Golf (M) @ SAC Championships - Day 1 (Cobbs Glen GC)

Softball @ Anderson 1-2

Softball @ Anderson 0-4

Baseball vs. NEWBERRY 8-6

Baseball vs. NEWBERRY 8-6

9
April 9

Golf (M) @ SAC Championships - Day 2 (Cobbs Glen GC)

10
April 10

Golf (M) @ SAC Championships - Day 3 (Cobbs Glen GC) 10th of 11

Baseball vs. MOUNT OLIVE 13-9

11
April 11

Softball vs WINGATE 3-4

Tennis (M) @ Coker 1-8

Tennis (W) @ Coker 4-5

Lacrosse (W) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 9-14

Softball vs WINGATE 2-4

Lacrosse (M) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 11-20

12
April 12

Tennis (M) vs. SHAW 5-4

Tennis (W) vs. SHAW 7-2

13
April 13

Baseball vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL 3-6

14
April 14

Track/Field @ Phoenix Invitational

Football Spring Blue/White Game

Lacrosse (M) @ Queens 10-18

Baseball vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL 8-9

Lacrosse (W) @ Queens 10-16

Baseball vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL 13-12

15
April 15

Golf (W) @ SAC Championships - Day 1 (Woodcreek CC)

Softball vs LANDER, ccd. 2 p.m.

Softball vs LANDER, ccd. 4 p.m.

16
April 16

Golf (W) @ SAC Championships - Day 2 (Woodcreek CC)

17
April 17

Golf (W) @ SAC Championships - Day 3 (Woodcreek CC) 9th of 11

Softball @ Coker 2-3

Softball @ Coker 1-4

Baseball vs. BARTON 16-10

1819
April 19

Track/Field @ SAC Outdoor Championships (Day 1)

20
April 20

Track/Field @ SAC Outdoor Championships (Day 2) M-9th; W-10th

Baseball @ Wingate 2-8

21
April 21

Softball vs CARSON-NEWMAN 0-5

Softball vs CARSON-NEWMAN 3-2

Baseball @ Wingate 9-5

Lacrosse (W) vs. TUSCULUM 13-11

Baseball @ Wingate 6 p.m.

Lacrosse (M) vs. TUSCULUM 7 p.m.

222324
April 24

Lacrosse (M) in SAC Tournament (1st Round)

Lacrosse (W) vs. LINCOLM MEMORIAL (SAC Tourn. - 1st Round) 4 p.m.

Baseball vs. UNC PEMBROKE 5 p.m.

2526
April 26

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

27
April 27

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

Lacrosse (M) @ SAC Tournament (Semifinals)

Lacrosse (W) @ SAC Tournament (Semifinals)

Softball @ SAC Tournament

28
April 28

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

Softball @ SAC Tournament

29
April 29

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

Lacrosse (M) @ SAC Tournament (Championship)

Lacrosse (W) @ SAC Tournament (Championship)

30
April 30

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

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