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College Football: Catawba Notebook

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
The Catawba notebook …
Entering the season, a defensive unit with nine returning starters, was expected to be Catawba’s strength — and it has been. The Indians are allowing minus-rushing yardage for the season.
The offense, last in the SAC in total offense and rushing offense, has been limited to a pair of field goals so far. It hasn’t been any one thing or one person, just a combination of a lot of execution and timing issues.
“We’re missing assignments and we realize we’re not making enough plays outside,” head coach Chip Hester said. “Every team has its identity. We’re still looking for ours offensively.”
Slot receiver Nate Charest had eight catches for 102 yards on Saturday, but the receiving corps has been hindered by an unusual combination of circumstances.
There’s been injury (Jason Williams), illness (Levon Curtis) and unexpected academic ineligibility (veteran Gerron Bryant and 6-foot-3 freshman Joe Watson).
A freak athlete and emotional leader, Bryant likely would’ve been an All-SAC performer and a go-to guy for new QB Jacob Charest.
Davie product Watson has an NFL body and is a potential difference-maker for both the football and baseball squads. But two online courses he took in order to be eligible this season weren’t accepted by the NCAA clearinghouse.
So he’s in a redshirt year.
“We’ve had an awful lot of hits at that one position,” Hester said.
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INJURIES: Starting guard Kevin Alphonso, a sophomore, missed the Coastal game with a concussion. Corey Raven stepped into the starting lineup.
Alphonso appears to be symptom-free now.
All college teams are extra cautious with concussions now, but it’s possible Alphonso will be cleared to return Saturday against Newberry.
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KUDOS: Catawba offensive tackle Andrew Parsons transferred from Coastal Carolina, so he had an emotional game on Saturday.
“It would’ve been easy for him to get too emotional playing against so many buddies,” Hester said. “He handled it. He played hard and he played well, and I’m glad he’s got that one behind him.”
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DEFENSE: Catawba linebacker Cory Johnson already has 20 tackles. Tra Ingram, another linebacker, has 16.
Catawba only has two sacks, but it has a whopping 25 tackles for loss.
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NEXT: Newberry (0-2) is talented and will be just as hungry as Catawba to get a victory when the teams kick off SAC play at 7 p.m. at Shuford Stadium on Saturday night.
The player to watch for the Wolves is 6-4 receiver Brandon Bostick.
“Everybody will be ready for our first game at home,” Endres said. “Win that first conference game and it makes a big difference.”

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