Story and photo courtesy of Mars Hill Athletics
MARS HLL, N.C. - The Lions football team defeated Catawba College, 35-28 in their annual Homecoming game Saturday afternoon in the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium. The Lions remain atop the SAC standings with a 4-0 mark in the league. Mars Hill is 5-2 overall.
Quarterback Jon Richt broke three school records to lead the Lions to victory. He set new marks for passing attempts in a game (52), completions in a game (33) and passing yards in a game (370). He also tossed four touchdown passes. Deunta Jennings was on the receiving end of 10 of Richt's passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. Dimitri Holmes also caught 10 passes for 100 yards. Jeremy Hughes had four receptions for 58 yards and two scores. Shaikel Davis rushed for 116 yards on 34 carries to record his fifth, 100+ yard rushing performance this season. It was his fourth in a row. Sammy Siasia led the Lions' defense with 12 tackles (7 solo) and two quarterback hurries. Rudy Cabral followed with nine tackles (5 solo) and three hurries.
Hughes put the first points on the board for the Lions with 7:43 on the clock in the first quarter on a two-yard pass from Richt. Davis then dove in from a yard out with 11:51 left in the second frame to put the Lions ahead 14-0. Richt then hit Josh Young on a 31-yard touchdown strike with 9:16 left in the half to put the Lions up 21-0. The teams carried that score into the locker room at the intermission.
B.J. Sherrill hit Joe Watson on a 13-yard scoring play with 5:34 left in the third stanza to put Catawba on the Board (21-7). Richt and Hughes answered the call for the Lions connecting on a 41-yard pass play at the 2:52 mark of the third quarter (28-7).
The Lions withstood a strong fourth quarter comeback by the Indians to hold onto the seven-point win. Catawba scored 21 point in the final quarter. Fourteen of those came directly off Mars Hill turnovers. Nate Charest caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sherrill with 14:41 left in regulation and then Jarrid McKinney ended up on the end of a 24-yard scoring pass from Charest on a trick play to trim the deficit to 28-21. Deunta Jennings made a great 17-yard catch with 8:30 left in the contest to score what would later prove to be the game winner.
Xavier Bond ended the scoring on a six-yard scamper with 6:40 left in the game. The Lions punted on the ensuing possession to give the Indians the ball at their own 21-yardline. The Lions defense held strong to make the Indians turn the ball over on downs with just over a minute to play. MHC ran out the clock to remain perfect in conference action.
Mars Hill will travel to Hickory, N.C. to face the Bears of Lenoir-Rhyne University next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. The Bears are 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the SAC.