College football: Indians fall at Wingate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 28, 2021

Staff report

WINGATE — The temperature was a pleasant 71 degrees on Saturday at Irwin Belk Stadium, but eventully Wingate’s football team turned up the heat.

Catawba’s defense contained Wingate’s first three possessions, but once the Bulldogs broke through they never lost momentum.

Wingate won 33-6 in a South Atlantic Conference game that Catawba hoped would be one of the highlights of a four-game spring season.

A young Catawba squad found out it still has a lot of work to do to close the gap with Wingate. The Bulldogs were 10-1 in 2019 and have been in the playoffs three straight seasons.

Wingate’s first score was a safety after Catawba got pinned deep by a Wingate punt late in the first quarter. Catawba QB Ken Avent III was running for his life in the Catawba end zone when he was called for intentional grounding.

By halftime it was 19-0.

It was 33-0 before Catawba (0-2) got on the board on an Avent-to-Kujuan Pryor 19-yard connection with 7:28 left in the game.

Wingate QB Shaw Crocker threw for 227 yards. The Bulldogs totaled 216 yards rushing and 249 passing.

Avent, a bright spot in the 28-21 opening loss to Newberry, had a tough day — 9-for-26 for 111 yards and two picks. He was sacked twice.

Wingate (2-0) completely shut down Catawba’s running game, which made it challenging to throw. The Indians netted just 15 yards on 29 rushing attempts.

Devonte Tanksley led Catawba receivers with four catches for 56 yards.

Robert Chery, an experienced lineman, had nine tackles for the Indians. Chery and Izaiah Taylor were credited with forced fumbles. Taylor’s forced fumble stopped Wingate’s first drive.

Joshua Pixley made an interception for the Indians.

Catawba is home against Barton next Saturday at 1 p.m. Barton’s program has been revived under the leadership of former Catawba head coach Chip Hester.