College Football: Mashore enjoyed career day
SALISBURY — There was a point Saturday when Catawba head coach Curtis Walker turned to an assistant and asked, “Are they really kicking it to him again?”
Senior Trey Mashore was the guy Brevard kept kicking to, and the Tornados did a fine job of containing Mashore on his first four returns. He was tackled at the 19 once and short of the 30 four straight times.
“That’s always our goal,” Mashore said. “Getting past the 30.”
Mashore got it rolling. His last two return opportunities were instrumental in Catawba’s harder-than-expected 42-37 homecoming victory at Shuford Stadium.
After Brevard sliced Catawba’s lead to 28-24, Mashore fielded the ensuing kickoff at the Catawba 7 and brought it out to the Indians’ 46. That provided field position that led to a touchdown.
After Brevard fought back to 35-31, Mashore grabbed the kickoff at the 20. He was finally brought down on the Brevard 28 after dashing and darting for 52 yards. Catawba pushed for another short-field TD from there.
“Trey cut across the field on that long return, and I thought he was going to score,” Catawba linebacker Michael Peppers said. “The last guy got him.”
Mashore played a vital role in the prep dynasty at West Rowan. The teams he played on from 2008-10 went 47-1 and won three straight 3A state championships. The Falcons had K.P. Parks and Dinkin Miller running the ball, so Mashore played defensive back. He produced five interceptions in his career.
Mashore also was a devastating return man in high school. As a sophomore, he returned a punt and a kickoff for TDs in the same game. As a senior, he scored five touchdowns. He had a pick-six, he returned a free kick after a safety for a TD, and he had three punt-return TDs.
Catawba was thrilled to get Mashore, although it’s always been a challenge figuring out exactly how to use his speed and quickness.
“I’ve just tried to fit in wherever the team needed me to fit in,” Mashore said. “I was a defensive back at first, and I then I moved to slotback. Then I moved to running back, then back to slotback, and then back to running back.”
Walker believes anytime Mashore has the ball under his arm, there are big-play possibilities. As a freshman in 2011, Mashore took a kickoff 100 yards against Mars Hill.
“When I came here, Mashore was playing defense, but everyone kept telling me how great a return man he was,” Walker said. “He’s been really good in that role, and we try to get the ball in his hands.”
Mashore is listed at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, although he plays bigger and stronger. Even on a team with David Burgess, Cary Littlejohn and powerful freshman Eamon Smart. Mashore has earned carries. His 16 carries and 120 rushing yards in Saturday’s game were career highs.
“My role has been mostly special teams,” said Mashore, who has contributed five tackles this season covering kicks. “But when the opportunities come, you always want to make the most of them.”
Mashore has 472 yards on kickoff returns this season and is handling more kicks while freshman Donte Means is sidelined with a knee injury. Mashore showed up on the list of national leaders this week.
When it comes to all-purpose yards, Mashore is Catawba’s runaway leader with 854 yards — better than 100 yards per game. All-purpose yards is a stat that measures returns, rushes and receptions.
“I just play as hard as I can each week,” Mashore said. “I was always taught that actions were louder than words,”
A biology major, Mashore’s all-out performance has raised the bar for his younger teammates.
“He’s a quality leader of this team by his work ethic and by his numbers,” Peppers said. “Trey is a guy that whenever he has something to say, everyone listens.”
Mike London: 704-797-4259; twitter.com/