College football: Lions too much for Catawba

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 24, 2021

Staff report

MARS HILL — The Mars Hill Lions proved they’re legitimate South Atlantic Conference contenders with an impressive 31-14 win against Catawba on Saturday afternoon.

Catawba (4-2, 1-2) is 0-2 on road trips.

The Indians got down 14-0 in the first quarter. They rallied within a touchdown on two occasions in the third quarter, but both times the Lions (6-2, 4-1) were able to easily answer.

Mars Hill did whatever it wanted to do offensively, with Jimmy Urzea throwing for 281 yards and two touchdowns and with Joraye Morrison rushing 30 times for 128 yards and two scores.

The Lions banged out 218 rushing yards.

Urzea connected with tight end Ty Snelson for a 76-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. Four minutes later, Morrison scored on a 5-yard run for a 14-0 edge.

It was still 14-0 at halftime.

Catawba got its offense untracked in the third quarter. Ken Avent III threw a 30-yard TD pass to Rasheed Singleton, but the Lions came right back three minutes later with Urzea passing to CJ Thompson for a 27-yard touchdown and a 21-7 advantage.

The Indians employed trickery for a touchdown with 8:37 left in the third quarter. Running back Daniel Parker pulled up on what looked to be a routine running play and passed to Will Sheehan for the 60-yard score that cut the Lions’ lead to 21-14.

That still didn’t turn momentum. Morrison got loose for a 21-yard scoring run, and the Lions pushed their lead back to two touchdowns.

Hunter Bridges kicked a field goal for the Lions for the only points of the fourth quarter.

Catawba struggled to get its ground game going for the second straight week. Avent was intercepted three times and sacked twice.

Kujuan Pryor had five catches for 77 yards for the Indians.

John Oxce had three tackles for loss and a forced fumble to spark Catawba’s defense. Jeremiah Ferguson was in on 12 stops, while Izaiah Taylor was credited with 11 tackles.

Former Salisbury High standout Jabril Norman had three tackles and a pass breakup for the Lions.

Catawba hosts Tusculum at 1 p.m. next Saturday. It will be homecoming for the Indians.