Catawba follows up on guarantees
SALISBURY — Following Friday’s practice, confident true freshman cornerback Terence Williams promised Catawba coach Curtis Walker a pick-6 against Livingstone.
Walker smiled. He didn’t mind the bravado. A cornerback without swagger isn’t going to last long.
“A cornerback has got to have that confidence,” Walker said.
While it wasn’t quite as huge as Joe Namath guaranteeing a Super Bowl victory, Williams did deliver on his predicted pick, and it arguably was the single biggest play of Catawba’s 42-16 victory at Livingstone on Saturday night.
Catawba (2-0) led 7-0 late in the first quarter, but the teams were basically battling toe-to-toe, and Livingstone drove hard for first-and-goal at the Catawba 10.
A personal foul bumped the Blue Bears (0-2) back to the 23, and Drew Powell’s third-and-goal pass from there was intercepted at the goal line by Williams.
“I saw the quarterback throw it, and then I actually lost the ball in the sun a little bit,” Williams said. “But I reached out, and the ball was there. Then I got a good block from (safety) Mark McDaniel and took off. I got the pick I promised, but I guess I forgot about the 6.”
Walker didn’t mind. Williams had provided a key stop that gave Catawba momentum, and Catawba would keep that momentum until the game was no longer in doubt.
Stopped by Livingstone’s defense on three of its first four possessions, Catawba scored on its last three possessions of the first half and its first two of the second half to pull away from the Blue Bears.
Catawba piled up 516 yards.
“Our offense put a lot of things together and played very well today,” Walker said. “We were focused and well-prepared to play, and that’s the biggest step forward we took from our first game.”
Catawba stayed unbeaten all-time against Livingstone and won the Mayor’s Cup for the 13th time.
MVP Danny O’Brien was 20-for-24 passing for 262 yards and three TDs, and the offensive line didn’t permit a sack.
David Burgess, an inspiration to true freshmen walkons all over the world, scored twice for the Indians — once on the ground and once through the air.
“Just great blocking on the rushing touchdown — I didn’t see anything but green,” Burgess said. “On the passing touchdown, (tight end) Tyler Hamilton took my man inside with him, the way it’s supposed to work, and got me open. I put my hand up and Danny saw me. I thought at first, the pass was going to be short, but it was just perfect.”
Nate Charest and freshman Carlos Tarrats also caught scoring passes for the Indians. Cary Littlejohn and freshman Lorenzo Puller scored on the ground.
Chad Hollandsworth was 6-for-6 on PATs, and Damein Lee led a Catawba defense that gave up lots of real estate, but few points, and sacked Powell seven times.
“We had a freshman (Williams) make a big play and we got some turnovers, but most definitely, Livingstone has a great quarterback,” Lee said. “He’s so shifty and such a good athlete. I think in a few months you’ll look up and see that he’s the best quarterback in his league.”
Powell put up numbers — 24-for-38 for 334 yards — but Livingstone didn’t score until Leonardo Manzo kicked a field goal late in the third quarter to make it 42-3.
“We moved the ball from 20 to 20,” LC coach Daryl Williams said. “It hurt us that we fell behind early again, and we can’t keep doing that.”
LC got two TDs late on Powell’s 25-yard pass to Rodney Brown and a 1-yard run by Powell. Veteran LC receiver Anthony Holland made seven acrobatic catches for 126 yards. Linebacker Kenneth White Jr. made nine tackles and was LC’s MVP.
“We got beat by a better football team, but we’re close,” Williams said. “It was mostly simple stuff. Blown coverages, a fumble, an interception. It was all fixable problems and all correctable mistakes.”