Saturday, September 24, 2016

Catawba Defense Forces Seven Turnovers, Ends Five Year Skid to Wingate

WINGATE – The temperature was not the only thing that was hot on the field at Wingate’s Irwin Belk Stadium. The Catawba defense was red-hot as well, forcing seven turnovers on the way to a 48-26 victory over the host Bulldogs in South Atlantic Conference action. It was Catawba’s first win over Wingate in five years and the first win in the series for Indians coach Curtis Walker.

Catawba’s first turnover was a Cris Page interception that was returned to the Wingate 30 yard line, setting up a Joseph Dress two-yard touchdown run a few plays later giving the visitors an early 7-0 lead. Wingate made it 7-3 at the end of the first quarter with a 36-yard Caleb Baird field goal.

The second quarter began a bit slowly, but a hard hit by Catawba’s Case Woodard led to a Wingate fumble that was recovered by Indian defensive back Trey Evans. Quarterback Mike Sheehan (Laney) and the Catawba offense took full advantage of the turnover, marching the forty-three yards down the field and scoring to extend the lead to 14-3. It was the first of Sheehan’s two rushing touchdowns on the day.

Case Woodard was not done making defensive plays for Catawba, though. On Wingate’s ensuing possession, defensive back Chris Carpenter forced another Wingate fumble and Woodard picked up the ball and raced fifty-four yards to the end zone.

As if one scoop-and-score in a game wasn’t enough, Wingate’s Cornel Cheron returned the favor early in the third quarter, sprinting ninety-eight yards to bring the Bulldogs within two scores. But, it wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs as Catawba answered back with two scores, a thirty-four yard strike from Sheehan to Jourdan Osinski (Southern Alamance) and a four yard run by Sheehan.

One of the outstanding offensive plays of the day was the sixty-seven yard catch and run by Catawba’s Sam Mobley (Parkwood). This early fourth quarter score is what really put the game out of reach and gave the Catawba faithful something to celebrate in the stands for the rest of the afternoon.

Not to be lost on anyone is the great day had by Wingate’s Lawrence Pittman (Mallard Creek). The Bulldog running back amassed 155 rushing yards on twenty-one carries, giving him over five-hundred yards four games into the season.

Both teams travel to South Carolina next week Catawba (2-2) takes on SAC rival Newberry while Wingate (3-1) battles Limestone in a non-conference matchup.