College Football Preview: Lenoir-Rhyne at Catawba
SALISBURY ó There will be no playoff appearance for the Catawba Indians but the season can still be a success for Chip Hesterís team with a victory today over arch-rival Lenoir-Rhyne in the final game of 2011.
Thatís first-place Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Bears (6-3, 5-1) beat Newberry 54-42 last week to tie Mars Hill for first place in the South Atlantic Conference.
A win by Catawba (3-7, 2-4) at Shuford Stadium would not only kill what hope Lenoir-Rhyne has for the playoffs, but also be a stepping stone into next season.
Game time is 1:30 p.m.
Catawba snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 17-13 victory over Brevard so it does have momentum.
As Chip Hester said in a radio interview, you can throw the records out the window when these two teams battle. This will be the 91st meeting between the teams with Catawba holding a 46-40-4 advantage.
ěItís a rivalry game and our guys recognize that,î Hester told WSTPís Howard Platt. ěItís Senior Day and I hope our guys respond in a positive way.î
Hester said Brevard and Lenoir-Rhyne run the same type of offense but the Bears have better personnel.
One Lenoir-Rhyne player who must be stopped is a familiar name: Ike Whitaker, formerly of Salisbury.
The redshirt freshman fullback is the Bearsí leading rusher coming in with 728 yards. He averages 5.1 yards per carry and has scored five touchdowns. Heíd like nothing better than to shine in front of his family and friends.
Quarterback Major Herron is another threat. He has rushed for 722 yards and is averaging 106 yards per game passing.
And donít forget about third-leading rusher Corron Boston (512 yards). Newberry did and he punished the Wolves with 202 total yards (138 rushing) while scoring four times.
ěWeíve got our hands full,î Hester said.
NOTES: Lenoir-Rhyne has two other area players in Zach Long of Davie, a sophomore and one of the teamís leading tacklers, and freshman linebacker Andrew Leslie of A.L. Brown. … Long is fifth on the team in tackles with 41 in nine games. … Amazingly, Whitaker is listed in the defensive stats with five tackles. … The game will be broadcast by Buddy, Dan, Lance and the boys at WSAT 1280 AM.