Catawba Notebook: Season filled with frustration
By Bret Strelow
The Catawba notebook …
Chip Hester joined Catawba’s football staff in 1995, and he’s in his eighth year as the Indians’ head coach.
This season stands apart from the rest.
“It’s the most frustrated I’ve ever been in coaching,” Hester said. “It’s disappointing and all those things. I know our supporters are frustrated, and there’s no one more frustrated at me than me. It’s one of those years that’s unlike any I’ve ever been a part of.”
A 42-17 home loss to Wingate dropped Catawba to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the SAC. The Indians play at Brevard (6-3, 2-3) on Saturday and finish the season with a home game against Lenoir-Rhyne (4-5, 1-4).
Offensively, Hester said the Indians have “found zero balance.” Catawba has averaged 68 yards rushing per game ó at a rate of 2.3 yards per carry ó in its four SAC defeats. Falling behind early in games is partly to blame for the ground struggles.
Defensively, Hester remains unhappy with the number of missed tackles.
“As a coach you can think you’ll figure some new things out and it might make it worse,” Hester said. “There’s a fine line in trying new things and getting better at the things you’re supposed to be doing right in the first place.
“I just haven’t done a good job pointing our program in the right direction at this point, and I have to find a way to get it switched around.”
Out of 148 teams, Catawba ranks 108th in rushing defense and 111th in rushing offense.
SIX AT A TIME: Junior receiver Brandon Bunn’s prolific season continued with a two-touchdown performance against Wingate. Eleven of his 25 receptions this season have been TDs.
The NCAA doesn’t have an official listing for touchdown reception leaders in Division II, but Bunn appears to be tied for fourth place nationally.
“He’s a great route runner,” Hester said. “Some guys are great with the ball in their hands and the run after the catch. His gift is the run before the catch.”
Northwest Missouri State’s Jake Soy (15 TDs, 46 total catches), West Liberty State’s Kashif Walls (14 TDs, 45 catches) and Missouri Western State’s Cedric Houston (12 TDs, 42 catches) are ahead of Bunn. Seven other players have made 11 TD catches, and all of them have at least 47 receptions.
YOU NEVER KNOW: The SAC is as unpredictable as ever, but Catawba’s only breakthrough occurred against Tusculum, which was winless in league play prior to a 34-31 victory at Newberry.
Brevard lost 77-7 to a Carson-Newman team that had edged Lenoir-Rhyne by a 17-13 count one weekend earlier. Brevard beat Lenoir-Rhyne in late September, and the Tornados were without quarterback Michael Crumbaker at Carson-Newman.