Michael Crumbaker ran and threw for scores and Derek Church plowed in for a touchdown, but Catawba overcame a 21-16 deficit on their way to rallying to defeat the Tornados, 31-21, on Saturday afternoon.
Church led Brevard (3-3, 0-2 SAC) with 92 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries as the fullback got the Tornados offense going early in the ball game. Crumbaker added 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground and was two of 10 through the air for 64 yards and a score. Eric Watts was the recipient of the touchdown from Crumbaker, catching a 57 yard pass in stride for a touchdown with time winding down in the first half.
Defensively, Prince Simunyu led the Tornados with eight tackles and a sack, with two tackles coming behind the line of scrimmage. Trey Jenkins added eight tackles and Ryan Wannamaker had two tackles for loss and a sack in the contest for Brevard.
Patrick Dennis led Catawba (4-1, 2-0 SAC) on the afternoon, going 16 of 26 through the air for 219 yards and a touchdown, while Josh Wright broke the century mark on the ground, gaining 101 yards on 15 carries, including a 49 yard touchdown run to put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Jeb Bass, Lakeem Perry and Cory Johnson led the Indians on the defensive side of the ball as each recorded double digit tackles in the game, while Perry and Jumal Rolle each had interceptions.
Kelvin Jeter took the opening kickoff for the Tornados, returning it 47 yards to the Catawba 40 yard line to provide Brevard excellent field position for the opening drive. Turning to Church, the Tornados rode the senior fullback as he carried the ball six times for 28 yards before Crumbaker found a gap, carrying it from one yard out to put the Tornados up 7-0 with 9:54 left on the clock in the first quarter.
Dennis led the Indians on their first drive, carrying the ball twice for 10 yards and finding Eric Morman for a 15 yard gain as Catawba moved the ball inside Brevard territory. The Tornados stopped Dennis short of the first down, forcing a field goal attempt and Thomas Trexler converted the 40 yard attempt to cut the score to 7-3 with 6:31 left in the opening quarter.
Brevard marched down the field again on their next drive, aided by a Catawba personal foul in moving inside the Catawba 10 yard line. The Tornados moved down to the Indians two yard line, but on fourth down, Jumal Rolle stopped Jeter in the backfield to turn the ball over on downs, ending the Tornados threat.
The Indians got back on the board late in the first half after a Brevard fumble, moving the ball five yards on a carry by Wright before Trexler drove a 36 yard field goal through the uprights to put the score at 7-6 with 1:05 remaining in the opening half.
On Brevard’s next possession, the Tornados faced third and 11 before Church broke through a hole, carrying the ball 19 yards to the BC 43 yard line. Two plays later, Crumbaker found a streaking Watts as the junior tight end caught the ball on the left sideline and outraced the Indians to the pylon, covering 57 yards for the touchdown. Chase Henry’s extra point put the Tornados up 14-6 with 17 seconds remaining in the first half.
Catawba had one final drive in the half, receiving possession on the BC 43 yards line after a Brevard personal foul, but the Hail Mary pass from Dennis was knocked down by Gist in the end zone as the Tornados headed to the locker room up 14-6.
The Indians opened up possession in the second half and moved down the field, partly due to luck as a Dennis pass was tipped twice in the air before falling in the hands of Gerron Bryant at the BC 32 yard line to set up a Catawba first down. Two plays later, Wright gained 20 yards to move the ball down to the 10 yard line and Terwilliger carried the ball across the line shortly after from 11 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-13 with 12:28 left in the third quarter.
A 41 yard kickoff return by Justin Fleming gave the Tornados the ball on the Catawba 47 yard line. The Tornados drove the ball down to the Catawba four yard line, aided by a defensive pass interference call on Crumbaker’s pass to Corey Gwynn. Church handled it from there, carrying the ball in from four yards out on third down to put Brevard up 21-13 with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
The Indians took to the air on their next possession, as Dennis dropped back eight straight times, moving the ball from the Catawba 27 yard line down to the Brevard 20 as Bunn caught a 25 yard pass. A sack by Ryan Wannamaker moved the Indians back to the Brevard 29 yard line, but Trexler converted a 46 yard field goal attempt to put the score at 21-16 as the teams headed into the fourth quarter.
Catawba took the lead in the fourth quarter with 4:27 left in the game, opening their scoring drive on the Brevard 34 yard line, following a six yard punt by the Tornados. On third and goal from the four yard line, Dennis stepped up in the pocket, scrambling to his left before flipping the ball into the end zone over the outstretched hands of a BC defender, finding Wright for the four yard score. The two-point conversion was good as Dennis found Morman in the back of the end zone to put the score at 24-21 with under five minutes to play.
A sack by Weedon pushed the Tornados to a third and 24 on their next possession and Crumbaker’s desperation heave was picked off by Rolle at the BC 49 yard line. Catawba closed out the scoring on the next play as Wright broke through the line on his way to a 49 yard rushing touchdown to put the Indians up 31-21.
The Tornados return home to Asheville, N.C. next week as they host Lenoir-Rhyne University. Kickoff between Brevard and Lenoir-Rhyne at Asheville High School Memorial Stadium is set for 2 p.m. between the SAC rivals.