College Football Preview: Catawba at Lenoir-Rhyne
There will be plenty of emotion when Catawba plays Lenoir-Rhyne tonight at 7 p.m., and not just because it is a big rivalry.
“There will be a lot of passion involved for both of us,” Catawba coach Chip Hester said. “Our kids understand this is a rivalry and how much of a rivalry it is. Our seniors would like to go out with a win.”
Catawba (5-4, 3-3, SAC) faces one of the nation’s top running games. The Bears rank sixth with an average of 256 yards per game. They have rushed for at least 175 yards in all 10 games.
The run game has helped Lenoir-Rhyne produce 100 more points than it had all of last season, and 11 different players have scored this season.
L-R (3-7, 1-5) averages a whopping 56 carries per game, so Catawba’s defensive line should get a workout in Moretz Stadium.
“If they hold on to the football, they’re really tough to beat,” Hester said.
Catawba had its worst passing day of 2008 last week in its 24-10 win over Brevard. This week, the Indians’ quarterbacks will face one of the SAC’s top secondaries. Barry Tate, the brother of North Carolina’s Brandon Tate, and Marcus Shuford are tied for first in the league in passes defended (12).
Hester has watched his team shoot itself in the foot at times.
“I’ve got mixed emotions about the season,” Hester said. “We struggled every week. It was a roller-coaster ride.”
Catawba has suffered through several deaths in players’ families as well.
“Our guys had a lot to deal with,” Hester said. “It was a very emotional ride for us.”
NOTES: Catawba leads the series 45-38-4. … The teams have played the regular-season finale every year since 1974. … L-R hasn’t beaten Catawba at home since 1993. … L-R will honor seven seniors prior to the game, including Davie County graduate Zac O’Brien. … Hester is going after his 53rd win as the head coach at Catawba.