Courtesy of Catawba Athletics
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Carson-Newman scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to claim a 42-16 win over host Catawba in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The final two Eagle scores came on interception returns for touchdowns in the waning minutes. Carson-Newman improves to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 4-2 and 2-1.
Nate Inman Fitzgerald, GA) ran for 165 yards and one score to lead the Eagles, who did not put the game away until just over two minutes remained. After Thomas Trexler (Wilmington, NC/New Hanover HS) pulled Catawba within 21-16 with 12:11 remaining, Carson-Newman marched 92 yards in 17 plays to go on top 28-16 with 2:39 left.
During the final drive that took over nine minutes, the key play for the Eagles was a 12-yard run by Jamie Bennett (Morven, NC) on a fake punt at the Catawba 37 with five minutes to play. Carson-Newman later converted a third-and-eight on a nine-yard run by Inman and capped the drive on Brandon Baker’s (Miami, FL) four-yard run.
Jaycob Coleman (Norton, VA) erased any Catawba hopes of a rally as he intercepted a desperation fourth-down pass and returned it 62 yards for a score with 1:19 left. Oliver Davis (Acworth, GA) added a 27-yard pick for a touchdown with just 27 seconds remaining.
Catawba held the early lead as the Indians went on top with 6:59 left in the opening quarter on a 13-yard pass from Patrick Dennis (Durham, NC/Cedar Ridge HS) to Gerron Bryant (W. Palm Beach, FL/Boynton Beach HS/Palm Beach CC). The Eagles answered on an 11-yard run by Doug Belk (Valdosta, GA).
The Indians would take the lead right back on a two-yard run by Josh Wright (Raeford, NC/Hoke Co. HS/W. Carolina) with 12:25 to go in the second quarter, but Carson-Newman scored twice in the final three minutes of the half to take the momentum. Inman hit for a 60-yard run at the 2:29 mark and following on interception by Tarvin Jones (St. Petersburg, FL), Baker threw a 32-yard halfback pass to Jason Brown (Plant City, FL) with 1:06 left before the break.
Baker added 74 yards on the ground for Carson-Newman and completed the one scoring pass. Belk ran for 57 yards and completed 1-of-6 passes for 10 yards. Wright led Catawba with a career-high 105 yards rushing. Dennis was 17-of-25 through the air for 165 yards, but was intercepted three times.
Anthony McAlister (Knoxville, TN) posted nine tackles for Carson-Newman and was in on two sacks. Jones had two interceptions as he also ended a third-quarter Catawba drive with a pick in the end zone. Alex Hartsell (Columbia, SC/Ridgeview HS/The Citadel) and Trey Ingram (Browns Summit, NC/NE Guilford HS) each made nine tackles for Catawba.