Catawba wins SAC opener
NEWBERRY, S.C. — Catawba survived a double-overtime thriller in its SAC opener, winning 37-34 at highly-regarded Newberry on Saturday night.
Mike Sheehan’s 11-yard TD pass to Carlos Tarrats decided it, after the Indians’ defense held Newberry (1-2) to a field goal.
Regulation ended in a 24-24 draw, and both teams scored TDs in the first overtime.
It was a huge win for the Indians (2-1). Newberry was a D-II playoff team last season, scored 70 points last week and was picked well ahead of Catawba in the SAC preseason voting.
It was back-and-forth in the first half. Catawba answered Newberry’s first TD with a Sheehan-to-Tarrats touchdown connection of 20 yards. Catawba responded to Newberry’s second TD with a 35-yard scoring run by Trey Mashore.
After the Wolves took their third lead at 17-14, Chad Hollandsworth’s 41-yard field goal sent the teams to the locker room tied 17-17.
“We felt good about the way we played in the first half, but against Davidson and Western Carolina we played very good first halves but didn’t play at that same level in the second half,” Catawba coach Curtis Walker said. “That was the challenge for our young men — to play this one for 60 minutes.”
The Indians responded to Walker’s challenge.
A 23-yard scoring run by Sheehan gave the Indians a 24-17 lead in the third quarter, but Newberry came back.
Catawba had two chances to win late in regulation, but it lost a fumble and missed a 35-yard field goal.
“It could’ve been disheartening,” Walker said. “But we never stopped fighting.”
David Burgess scored Catawba’s TD in the first OT.
Sheehan was 15-for-26 passing for 241 yards. Cary Littlejohn had a 77-yard jaunt and 117 rushing yards.
Newberry’s W.T. Murden threw for 321 yards and four TDs.
Defensively for Catawba, Jason Taylor, Philip George, Kegan Funderburke and Ray Smith were standouts.