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College football: Catawba clobbered on road at Limestone

 Staff report
GAFFNEY, S.C.  —  The gains the Catawba Indians thought they made in an encouragingly tight loss to unbeaten Wingate on Sept. 28 turned out to be a mirage.
Catawba was thumped, 52-24, by Limestone at Gaffney High School on Saturday afternoon. Limestone had lost by 28 to Tusculum in its only previous South Atlantic Conference contest.

Catawba trailed all the way. Limestone piled up 600 yards of offense. The Indians lost the all-important turnover battle, 3-1, and dropped their third game in a row.

The start to the South Atlantic Conference contest was horrific for the Indians, as Limestone (2-3, 1-1) scored brisk touchdowns on its first four possessions. Catawba’s only resistance during that span was a Clayton Crile 42-yard field goal, and those three points were answered by a long kickoff return by the Saints that led to their fourth touchdown.

Down 28-3 after the first quarter, Catawba put together a solid stretch to temporarily get back in the game. Quarterback Kendall Davis capped a 75-yard scoring drive with an 8-yard scoring run and threw a 24-yard scoring pass to Kolby Easley to trim Limestone’s lead to 28-17.

When Catawba safety Brenden Westbrook picked off a Limestone pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown with 3:24 left before halftime, it was one of those two-score swings that appeared to be a potential game-changer.

But with the Indians all the way back to 28-24, Limestone responded with a pivotal touchdown before halftime, moving 75 yards in eight plays. The score came on a 25-yard pass from DJ Phillips to Juwan Scott 13 seconds before the break and turned out to be the biggest play of the day.

Limestone went to the locker room with momentum back on its side and controlled the second half.

Catawba (1-4, 0-2) basically had five possessions in the second half and came up empty each time. The Indians punted twice, threw their second and third picks, and were stopped on downs with 2:37 remaining to essentially end the game.

Phillips threw two of his four TD passes in the second half, as Limestone’s lead snowballed.

Limestone had a pair of 100-yard rushers and got 334 passing yards from two QBs. Scott totaled 144 receiving yards.

Davis accounted for 88 percent of Catawba’s offense, but his 96 rushing yards and 269 passing yards (to eight different receivers) were partly negated by the three interceptions.

Demonte Good had 44 rushing yards for the Indians.

Westbrook and cornerback Cris Page were Catawba’s leading tacklers with 10 each. Linebacker LJ Melvin had nine. Linebacker Jeremiah Ferguson accounted for Catawba’s only sack.

Elijah Banks blocked a Limestone field goal in the second quarter when things were going Catawba’s way.

Next for Catawba is a trip to Carson-Newman. The Eagles pummeled UNC Pembroke, 69-18, on Saturday.

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