• 55°

College football: Indians crushed by Carson-Newman, 59-14

Staff report

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Down 21-0 at halftime, at Carson-Newman’s Burke-Tarr Stadium, the outlook was gloomy for the Catawba Indians.

Thirteen seconds later, things looked infinitely worse.

Marcus Williams accepted Catawba’s second-half kickoff at his 5-yard line, bolted up the middle, shrugged off one tentative arm tackle and headed for the end zone. That 95-yard return was a backbreaker, and it would turn into an endless afternoon of mistakes by the Indians and celebrations by their orange-clad conquerors.

Whatever halftime adjustments Catawba had talked about went up in smoke with Williams’ virtually unimpeded sprint to pay dirt, and they were buried 59-14 by their South Atlantic Conference rival.

It was over a long time before the scoreboard clock said it was officially over. Battered physically and emotionally, Catawba (1-5, 0-3) lost for the fourth straight week. Carson-Newman (4-1, 2-1) dropped a close one to Wingate on Sept. 21, but it stayed alive in the SAC race.

The 45-point loss was the most lopsided defeat in the history of the series. Catawba has been overwhelmed by the Eagles before — 50-7 in 1984,  63-24 in 1994,  55-21 in 2011 and 42-7 in 2012— but the Indians had never lost to Carson-Newman by 45.

Catawba never found any traction. Carson-Newman kicked off to the end zone for a touchback to start the game. On Catawba’s third snap, the Eagles got pressure on Catawba quarterback Kendall Davis. The result was an interception.

A Cameron Davis fumble recovery and an interception by Cris Page stopped early Carson-Newman thrusts, and the Indians were only down 7-0 entering the second quarter.

But that’s when Carson-Newman struck for a 56-yard pass play to set up a rushing touchdown. Then the Indians lost safety Brenden Westbrook to disqualification after the play that put the Eagles ahead, 14-0.

Carson-Newman quarterback Derrick Evans scooted for a 52-yard score with three minutes left in the half to make it 21-0. The quarterback keeper was a component of Carson-Newman’s triple-option offense that plagued Catawba. A 42-yard run by Evans, a fast QB, had set up Carson-Newman’s first touchdown. When Catawba covered up his pitch man, Evans quickly shifted direction from east-west to north-south, found an open lane and accelerated. Assignments were missed. The Eagles took advantage.

Staring at that 21-0 halftime deficit, a Catawba comeback was a long shot. Even that slim chance evaporated after the kickoff return to begin the second half.

Catawba trailed 31-0 when it finally got on the board when a Carson-Newman punt attempt brought chaos. Kobe Branch picked up a fumble by the punter and scored from 20 yards out to put the Indians on the board with 5:23 left in the third quarter.

Carson-Newman kept right on scoring, even with backup quarterbacks in the game, and held a 52-7 lead before Demonte Good broke loose on a 75-yard scoring run for Catawba with 3:10 remaining. That breakout helped Catawba’s statistical day considerably.

But Carson-Newman still got in the last word when Devon Moore returned the ensuing kickoff for 93 yards and Carson’s third special-teams touchdown of the day.  Moore, a certified sprinter, broke outside, hit the sideline and easily out-ran everyone.

Besides its two kickoff return touchdowns, Carson-Newman scored on a blocked punt.

Good finished with 17 carries for 124 yards, but Davis was held to 87 passing yards.

Meanwhile, Carson-Newman was rushing 50 times for 357 yards and five touchdowns and adding 119 aerial yards.

Carson-Newman’s monstrous advantage in return yards was 213-33.

There’s not a lot Catawba can do about this one —  except flush it and forget about it.

The Indians will be home next Saturday at noon against Newberry. Carson-Newman goes to Lenoir-Rhyne for one of the bigger SAC games of the season.

Comments

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day