Courtesy of Catawba Athletics
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Catawba scored the final 18 points to rally past visiting Brevard for a 31-21 victory in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. Josh Wright (Raeford, NC/Hoke Co. HS/W. Carolina) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Catawba Indians improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SAC. The Tornados fall to 3-3 and 0-2.
Catawba fell behind 21-13 after a four-yard run by Derek Church (Franklin, NC) with 4:57 left in the third quarter. That would be the last points for the Tornados as the Indian defense allowed just one first down over Brevard’s next three possessions to rally. Thomas Trexler (Wilmington, NC/New Hanover HS) converted the last of his three field goals on the day, a 46-yarder, late in the third quarter to pull the Tribe within 21-16.
Wright would put Catawba on top for the first time in the game on a four-yard pass from Patrick Dennis (Durham, NC/Cedar Ridge HS) with 4:27 remaining. Eric Morman added a two-point conversion on a reception from Dennis for a 24-21 lead. One play after a Jumal Rolle (Wilson, NC/Beddingfield HS) interception, Wright scampered 49 yards to give the Indians the 31-21 edge. Lakeem Perry (Louisburg, NC/Louisburg HS) iced the game with an interception in the final minute.
Brevard took the opening kickoff and scored in 10 plays as Michael Crumbaker (Arlington, TX) went over from a yard out to give the Tornados a 7-0 lead. Trexler kicked field goals of 40 and 36 yards to pull Catawba within a point, but Brevard struck in the final minute of the half to go up 14-6. Church broke a 19 yard run on third-and-11 to the Brevard 43 and two plays later Crumbaker completed a 57-yard scoring pass to Eric Watts (Powhatam VA) with just 17 seconds remaining before intermission.
Catawba got a break on its first drive of the second half when Gerron Bryant (W. Palm Beach, FL/Boynton Beach HS/Palm Beach CC) caught a deflected pass for a 36-yard gain to the Brevard 32. After a 20-yard run from Wright, Brian Terwilliger (Wilmington, NC/New Hanover HS/VMI) ran in from 11 yards out to make the score 14-13.
A kickoff return near midfield set up the final Tornado score. Brevard converted three times on third downs and once on fourth in its 12-play, 47-yard drive that was capped by Church. Catawba then put its final scores together to rally.
After the last Brevard score, Catawba held the Tornados to just 31 yards on 20 plays. Brevard had entered the game as the league’s top rushing offense, averaging just over 250 yards a game. Catawba surrendered just 161 to the Tornados as it entered as the top run defense at 61 yards a contest.
Wright eclipsed the 100-yard plateau for the first time in his career with 101 yards on 15 carries. Dennis completed 16-of-26 passes for 219 yards. Bryant was the top target with five catches for 86 yards. Church totaled 92 yards to lead Brevard. Crumbaker completed 2-of-10 passes for 64 yards. Kelvin Jeter (Gastonia, NC/Forestview HS), who entered as the SAC’s top rusher at 129 yards a contest, was held to just 17 yards on 11 carries.
Jeb Bass (Newton, NC/Foard HS) recorded a career-high 12 tackles on defense for Catawba, while Perry added 11 stop and a forced fumble to his interception. Alex Hartsell (Columbia, SC/Ridgeview HS/The Citadel) and Brandon Weedon (Columbia, SC/Spring Valley HS) posted sacks. Prince Simunyu (Wake Forest, NC/Wakefield HS) and Ryan Wannamaker (Lugoff, SC/Camden Military) had sacks for Brevard.