College Football: Newberry 21, Catawba 13
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2011
By Mike London
SALISBURY ó If frustration were tangible, Catawba coach Chip Hester would have grabbed it, choked it and drop-kicked it right out of Shuford Stadium.
Catawba is 0-3 for the first time since 1983, losing to Newberry 21-13 on Saturday night despite another mostly stout effort by the defensive unit and 172 explosive receiving yards by soph Nate Charest.
ěSame song, just a different verse,î a drained Hester said. ěThe opportunities were there, but we didnít take advantage. Lack of execution. Lack of discipline. We need to start doing some things differently because what weíre doing now isnít working.î
Bryan Ehrlich threw three TD passes for Newberry, two to 6-foot-4 Brandon Bostick, who was Catawbaís biggest concern entering the contest.
Newberryís Wolves (1-2) were as starved for a breakthrough victory as Catawba and denied the Indians three times in the red zone to claim the SAC opener for both.
ěChipís got a good team,î Newberry coach Todd Knight said. ěDefensively, theyíre strong. Offensively, those two brothers (QB Jacob Charest and Nate Charest) are as good a tandem as youíll find in our league. There were just 5 yards of total offense separating the teams today, and the ball could just as easily have bounced their way instead of ours. Maybe we made one more big play than they did.î
This was by far the most painful of Catawbaís three losses because it was at home and it was in the league.
The frustration rarely subsided for the home team, which missed two field goals and had another blocked.
Misery began with Tarrell Thompson making a dazzling 91-yard punt return for a touchdown in the opening minutes only to have it called back by a holding penalty.
It continued when Catawba DB Kewone Harris forced a fumble by receiver Jason Livingstone only to have Bostick scoop up the ball and sprint 50 yards to the Catawba 27 to set up Newberryís second TD for a 14-3 lead.
Frustration peaked when Jacob Charest was picked off by David Davis on a first-down play from the Newberry 11 with 3:21 left in the game,with the Indians needing a TD and a two-point conversion to force overtime.
ěStuff just isnít clicking yet,î Catawbaís veteran center Daylon McAlexander said. ěWe know we have the size, the speed, the talent, but we just havenít found that magic yet to make it all click. Weíre killing ourselves in practice trying to figure out how to make it click. We know weíre a good team. We still believe that itís going to click.î
When Phillip Ochieng forced a fumble and Antione Parker recovered at the Newberry 11 early in the second quarter, Thomas Trexler kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
With Catawba down 14-3 and reeling late in the first half, the Charests hooked up for a desperate, 28-yard gain on third-and-11 to push the Indians within range for another Trexler field goal. It was 14-6 at halftime.
Catawba got its long-awaited first TD of the season with 9:59 left in the third quarter when Nate Charest beat the Wolves deep and his older sibling hit him in stride for a 67-yard scoring play. It was too early to try for a tying two-point conversion, and Trexlerís PAT made it 14-13.
Catawba had momentum but squandered great plays, such as Scottie Floydís leaping pick, the rest of the way.
ěName a mistake, and weíre making it,î Hester said. ěGuys are fighting, guys are competing, but we just left too many points on the field to beat a good team.î
The killer sequence came with Catawba still trailing 14-13 with nine minutes left. Levon Curtis returned a punt 45 yards to the Newberry 20, an effort which should have set up ó at the very least ó a routine, go-ahead field goal. But a disastrous personal foul shoved the Indians back to the 31, and Trexlerís 48-yard try barely missed, wide left.
ěSeems like weíre finding ways to give games away,î Catawba linebacker Jeb Bass said. ěWe know we can do it. We know we can beat anyone we play. But as a team, we just arenít getting it done.î