Grey Team Overcomes Halftime Deficit, Beats Blue Squad In 2013 Spring Game
As former All-American linebacker Cory Johnson left Shuford Stadium as Catawba’s coach this past Saturday after the annual spring football game, some patrons wanted to speak with him. A Chief’s Club member who was a former player came up to him and said, “I have been around this program for nearly 40 years and this is easily one of the best spring games I’ve ever seen here.”
The Catawba alumnus has a right to be optimistic after the performances that both Blue and Grey squads put together on Saturday. After being down 6-0 at the half, the Grey squad used turnovers and timely playcalls to defeat the Blue squad 10-6 in a contest that went right down to the wire.
The game began with both squads feeling each other out, trying to find the best strategy for success. The Blue squad struck first, as quarterback Mike Sheehan hit wide receiver Diante Hodges with a throw to his back shoulder for a 19-yard touchdown and the game’s first points. Sheehan also had a big gain on the ground during the drive. The Blue squad tried going for a two-point conversion to keep the Grey squad off balance, but wide receiver Nate Charest was stopped short of the goal line, keeping the score at 6-0.
This would be the score going into the half, with the Grey squad making some advances but nothing groundbreaking. This changed in the second half as the Grey offense, directed by quarterbacks B.J. Sherrill and Richard Shuping, moved the ball down the field.
Once inside the 10-yard line, Sherrill punched it in himself on a boot to make the score 7-6 after a Chad Hollandsworth extra point. On the next drive for the Blue offense, Sheehan threw an interception to defensive back and All-American hopeful LJ McCray, who returned it deep into Blue territory.
The turnover led to a Hollandsworth field goal after the Blue defense made a stand inside the 10, pushed their lead to 4 at the start of the fourth quarter. Both teams were stuffed on their ensuing drives, giving the Blue offense possession with a little over two minutes left. After the referees missed a pass interference down the field on the defense, Sheehan stepped up on the next play to hit receiver Shaq Hooper over the middle for a 21-yard pickup and then connected with receiver Bruce Smith down the Blue sideline for a 39-yard completion.
The Grey defense stepped up after that, sacking Sheehan twice and knocking down a desperation pass in the end zone as time expired, preserving the Grey victory.
“These folks that came to see you today came to see a competitive game and they did. They will come back if you keep fighting,” said head coach Curtis Walker afterwards. ”If you compete like that, they WILL come back to see you play again.”
Sheehan finished the day going 7 of 18 for 147 with a touchdown and two picks through the air. Sherrill threw for 63 on 8 of 15 passing. Smith was the game’s leading receiver, with two catches for 67 yards.
“I loved the competitive spirit today. You came out today and competed,” Coach Walker went on to say. After such a successful spring game for Catawba football, there is not reason not to be optimistic about the things to come this fall.