Football

No hard-sell required for Catawba-Presbyterian clash

By Mike London, The Salisbury Post

This time, though, that’s hardly the case. When Catawba College (3-0) takes on Presbyterian (1-1) today at Bailey Memorial Stadium, no hard-sell is required.

If you can make it to Clinton, S.C., for the 1:30 kickoff, by all means — go. This SAC battle could be the best game played in the Carolinas today. It’s a matchup of the best defense in Division II against the best offensive player in D-II.
Catawba’s zero-tolerance defense you already know all about unless you’ve been stranded with Tom Hanks the last three weeks.

Meanwhile, PC quarterback Todd Cunningham already owns all the school records. Hopefully the SAC records are written in pencil, because he’s going to erase them, too. TC already has 80 — yep, 80 — career TD passes and has chucked for 7,811 yards. Catawba coach David Bennett says Cunningham will get his vote for anything he runs for. Bennett says UPS can go ahead and pack up the Harlon Hill Trophy — awarded annually to D-II’s best — and forward it to Cunningham’s dorm.

Put it this way: passing days of 300 yards are considered awesome achievements. On opening day, Cunningham tossed for 505. And he did it against 12th-ranked West Georgia. West Georgia’s not Georgia Tech, but it’s not Austin Peay, either.

Veteran Catawba linebackers Shawn Sanders and Shawn McBride are fearless, determined men. But when they speak of Cunningham, awe creeps into their voices. Catawba’s shining Shawns talk about this second coming of Cunningham like he’s Randall Cunningham in his prime.

“He releases the ball so quick,” says Sanders. “He’s great at creating space, buying time. It’s like you’ve almost got him, but then you don’t quite get there. We just can’t get frustrated.”

“If we don’t get in his face,” adds a solemn McBride, “he’ll pick us apart.”

Last year, Catawba picked on Cunningham, picking him off three times in a 27-14 win. But that one was at Shuford Stadium. This one’s not. And that’s why if Las Vegas bookmakers offered a line, the Blue Hose would be favored.

Forget that PC’s ranked 22nd and Catawba sixth. It’s been next to impossible for the Indians to win in Clinton.

Maybe it’s time for Bennett to do one of those “Hoosiers” things when his troops get off the bus. He could produce a a tape measure and prove to his guys that the goalposts are the same height, the field the same length and width as Shuford.

“We lost at PC in 1994, in ’96, in ’98,” says Bennett. “They have great tradition. Winning there is always a challenge.”

No doubt. Catawba’s last win at PC was in 1992. PC leads the series 37-15-2.

Bennett’s sure of one thing: Catawba had better generate some offense. He says PC’s defense is better than Wingate’s and 12 points won’t get the job done today. No way Catawba’s “D” can be asked to silence a PC offense that put up 34 on West Georgia.

PC, by the way, has selected Catawba as its homecoming guest, a move that should rile up both teams. It’s also worth noting that every Clinton trip is a homecoming of sorts for Bennett, a proud member of PC’s Class of ’84.

“It’s special, but it ain’t special to go down there and lose,” Bennett said. “I don’t want to put pressure on our guys, but a win would mean an awful lot.”

***

Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com

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Calendar

«April 2018»
123
April 3

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

Tennis (W) @ JC Smith 9-0

Softball @ Newberry 5-2

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 (M) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 4-5

Tennis (W) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 3-6

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

56
April 6

Tennis (M) vs. MARS HILL 8-1

Tennis (W) vs. MARS HILL 9-0

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

Baseball vs. NEWBERRY 8-6

Softball @ Anderson 0-4

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 7-3

Lacrosse (M) vs. TUSCULUM 14-10

222324
April 24

Lacrosse (M) @ Queens (SAC Tourn. - 1st Round) 12-21

Lacrosse (W) vs. LINCOLM MEMORIAL (SAC Tourn. - 1st Round) 18-10

Baseball vs. UNC PEMBROKE, ccd. 5 p.m.

252627
April 27

Baseball TBA @ SAC Tournament noon

Softball vs. Coker (SAC Tournament) 3 p.m.

Lacrosse (W) vs. Queens (SAC Tournament - Semifinals) 7 p.m.

28
April 28

Softball @ SAC Tournament

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

29
April 29

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

Lacrosse (W) @ SAC Tournament (Championship)

30
April 30

Baseball @ SAC Tournament

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