College Football: Griffith showed off his arm for Catawba
By Mike London
Cleaning out the Catawba-Livingstone notebook …
With Cam Sexton sidelined, former North Rowan standout Daniel Griffith moved up to No. 2 on the QB depth chart behind Patrick Dennis and made a positive impression in a 51-0 victory against Livingstone.
Griffith was first called upon to launch two unsuccessful Hail Marys toward the end zone in the final seconds of the first half. He returned late in the third quarter with Catawba leading comfortably and threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerron Bryant.
Griffith, Rowan County Offensive Player of the Year in 2006, redshirted in 2007. He played in seven games last season, started against Brevard and threw the first TD pass of his career against Wingate. Now he has two .
“As much as we compete with each other, we all want the quarterback who’s on the field to do well,” Dennis said. “It was great to see Daniel get that touchdown pass against his hometown team.”
BRAGGING ON BRYANT: Bryant, a junior, had 14 receptions and four TDs for the Indians in 2008 and has almost matched that production in Catawba’s first three outings of 2009.
Bryant, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, enjoyed a breakout game with three catches for 133 yards on Saturday.
“Gerron’s a very gifted athlete,” Dennis said. “He made great plays for both of us (Dennis and Griffith).”
Bryant transferred from Palm Beach Community College (Fla.), prior to last season. Half of his six career TDs have come against Livingstone.
“Gerron’s gone through a lot so it’s great to see good things happening for him,” Catawba coach Chip Hester said.
CASEY AT THE BAT: Casey Hall, Catawba’s No. 3 tailback, is a former Northwest Cabarrus Trojan and transferred to Catawba along with older brother, Calvin, a defensive back.
Casey got his turn to hit people Saturday and piled up 98 yards on 14 carries. The game was well in hand when he got his chance to shine, but his production still was very encouraging.
No. 2 tailback Josh Wright, a transfer from Western Carolina, chipped in with eight carries for 47 yards.
INJURIES: Catawba lost starting center Zane Gibson to a knee injury early in Saturday’s game. He did not return.
Coaches are optimistic Gibson’s injury is only a strain. He underwent an MRI exam. The Indians expect to get the results back today.
The offensive line is deeper than usual. The roles of Daylon McAlexander and Roy Carter Jr. will expand if Gibson is out for an extended period.
* Starting offensive right tackle Hunter Carnes left Saturday’s game briefly to get attention for a bloody elbow, but he’s OK.
* Sexton was injured early in the Sept. 5 game at Fayetteville State. He was on the sidelines in high spirits, even practicing his golf swing a few times during Saturday’s romp.
Hester said Sexton is making progress. The injury appears to be short-term.
Catawba has an open date this Saturday. It’s possible Sexton will be available for the SAC opener against Mars Hill at Shuford Stadium on Sept. 26.
HONEY BUNN: Junior Brandon Bunn hauled in his team-high fourth TD catch of the season on Saturday and has 13 TD grabs in his career.
DENNIS, THE MENACE: Dennis threw the 16th and 17th TD passes of his career on Saturday. He’s picked on the Blue Bears for seven of those six-point tosses.
DOMINATING DAVIS: Defensive end Marqus Davis recorded his sixth and seventh sacks of the young season on Saturday.
Davis, Terrence Porter, Brandon Sutton, Alex Hartsell and freshman DB Jumal Rolle all were involved in multiple tackles for loss while Wilbur Pender had five QB hurries.
Rolle, Calvin Hall, Derrick Brown, Terrence Jones and Kewone Harris were credited with pass breakups.
LIONS NEXT: Mars Hill’s running game may challenge Catawba’s stout defense.
Mars Hill sophomore Jonas Randolph broke a school record Saturday with 43 carries. He rushed for 216 yards in a 20-14 win against St. Augustine’s.