November 7, 2015
Football Secures Share of SAC Title With Convincing 24-6 Win at Tusculum
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Quarterback Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) accounted for three touchdowns and Catawba secured at least a share of the South Atlantic Conference football title with a 24-6 win over host Tusculum on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field. The Catawba Indians win their sixth straight in improving to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the SAC. The Pioneers fall to 4-6 and 2-4.
On another rainy Saturday, Sheehan completed 14-of-24 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns, while running for another score in the win. Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) finished with 100 yards on 21 carries, becoming just the eighth Catawba back to go over 2,000 yards in a career.
Catawba's defense held a Tusculum offense that averaged 31 points a game to just two field goals, posted three sacks and nine stops for losses. Kyle Kitchens (Decatur, Ga./Decatur HS) had three of the stops for losses and a sack. Jonathan Jean (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island HS) had a sack and two stops for losses among his nine tackles. Trey Evans (Barnesville, Ga./Lamar Co. HS) had nine stops and C.J. Barksdale (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest HS) had the other sack.
The Indian secondary held a Tusculum passing offense that averages over 300 yards a game to just 173 yards with 85 coming in the final quarter when the outcome was mostly not in doubt. Mark McDaniel (China Grove, N.C./S. Rowan HS), DaiQuan Lawrence (Chesapeake, Va./W. Branch HS/Wake Forest) and Case Woodard (Snellville, Ga./Arabia Mountain HS/Ga. Military) had stops for losses.
Tusculum led 3-0 after a quarter, but Sheehan engineered a 56-yard drive to put Catawba up for good early in the second. He converted a third down with a 12-yard strike to Gary Williams (Southport, N.C./S. Brunswick HS) then completed a 39-yard pass to Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) to the Pioneer seven. Two Sheehan runs put the Indians on top to stay.
The Indians cashed in on their next drive, covering 89 yards in eight plays. Passes to Williams and Littlejohn, along with a pass interference penalty on TC moved the ball to the Pioneer 31. David Burgess (Morganton, N.C./Freedom HS) got the score, taking a shovel pass and breaking tackles for 25 yards to make it 14-3.
Sheehan make it 21 unanswered points on the opening drive of the second half. On third down, he hooked up for 35 yards to Brandon Brown (Durham, N.C./N. Durham HS) for a 21-3 lead.
Catawba's defense stopped Tusculum twice on downs in the fourth quarter then ended hopes of a last-second score with a sack in the red zone on the game's final play.
Tarrats caught five passes for 85 yards on the day and moved over 100 career catches. Brown had three grabs for 44 yards.
Luke Lancaster completed 18-of-34 passes for the Pioneers and finished with 173 yards. Josh Jackson ran for 79 yards, while Justin Houston had seven receptions for 48 yards.
Catawba has earned its first title since 2007 and can win the championship outright in the season finale vs. Lenoir-Rhyne next week. Kickoff on Saturday at Shuford Stadium is set for 1:30 pm.
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