Catawba, Blue Bears at home
Catawba (4-4, 2-3) is slowly but surely improving in all facets of the game — and that includes special teams.
Dalton Pierce, a receiver, has been at the forefront of those special-teams strides and made two tackles on kickoffs in last Saturday’s 34-17 win against Brevard.
Pierce, 5-9, 160, will be counted on again today when the Indians host Mars Hill for a 1:30 p.m. SAC game.
Pierce played for the Blue Devils, breaking school receiving records in football and twice making All-State in wrestling.
On the mat, he placed fourth in the state as a senior in the 145-pound class. Colleges recruited him much more vigorously for wrestling than football, even though he was an all-conference prep receiver even after Mooresville moved up to 4A.
“I just really enjoy the grind of football and wanted to play football in college,” Pierce said. “I like the practice and the preparation that goes into it each week.”
The clean-cut Pierce is a smaller version of one of his best friends — Jon Crucitti.
Crucitti grew up in Mooresville and then played a huge role on state-championship teams at West Rowan before heading to West Point.
“When I was at Mooresville, we had some great battles with West Rowan, against guys like Chris Smith and (K.P.) Parks,” Pierce said. “Those were fun games.”
Pierce was serving as Catawba’s long snapper before the Indians decided to go with 205-pound freshman Steven Bartlett in that role.
Pierce is now the backup snapper and a backup receiver (he has four catches), but he makes his biggest impact on special teams.
“They put me on the kickoff team and the kickoff return team and the punt return team,” the junior exolained. “So I’m getting 30 to 40 snaps most games, and every one of those special-teams snaps is a very important snap.”
In the Brevard game, Pierce made the hit on the opening kickoff to set the tone.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s a great student,” Catawba coach Curtis Walker said. “He’s very tough on himself. If he makes a mistake, he’s beating himself up before the coaches can even yell at him.”
Livingstone (2-6) tries to break a four-game losing streak today when it hosts CIAA Southern Division rival Fayetteville State (5-3) at 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
It’s homecoming for the Blue Bears, who haven’t tasted victory since Sept. 28, and it’s the last home game for LC. Livingstone closes the season at Virginia-Lynchburg next week.
A.L. Brown crushed West Charlotte 66-14 for a MECKA win on Friday.
Damon Johnson started at quarterback with Andrew Ramirez sidelined by a finger injury. Johnson’s 4-yard TD pass to Gabe Lucero put the Wonders (7-3, 4-2) on the scoreboard first.
Brown pushed its lead to 35-0 at halftime, with Johnson throwing TD passes to Johnny Delahoussaey, Jalen Cagle and Rodney Edmonds. Daveon Perry added a score on a pick-6.
A defensive TD by Kenon Jones and a scoring run by R.J. Fowler pushed the Wonders’ lead to 49-8 after three quarters.
• The Salisbury-West Davidson football game was postponed on Friday. The Hornets will entertain the Green Dragons in the CCC matchup at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Brevard’s Darius Moose (Carson) scored 18 points and pulled down six rebounds at Joel Coliseum in a 93-66 exhibition loss to Wake Forest on Friday night.
• Tusculum’s men’s basketball team lost at Notre dame 93-44 in an exhibition on Friday. Neal Spinks had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Pioneers.
• UNC beat UNC Pembroke 82-63 in a Friday exhibition in Chapel Hill.
James McAdoo had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
Catawba Valley Community College swept Guilford Tech on Friday in the Region X tournament.
Aimee Cloninger (Carson) had 13 kills for the Bucs, and Tiffany Brooks (South Rowan) had six.
Cloninger had nine digs, and Cloninger and Brooks also contributed blocks.
Cloninger, a freshman, was named the Region V Player of the Year.
• Catawba’s volleyball team was swept 25-20, 25-2 and 25-18 by Tusculum.
in SAC action on Friday.
McKenzie Garrison had 11 kills for the Indians (4-14, 4-12).