The Student Newspaper of Catawba College


Stew’s Views on Catawba Football: The Heroes in Our Midst

Joshua Stewart, Sports Editor

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In mainstream American culture, superheroes are celebrated. They possess uncommon abilities such as speed or strength, and almost all heroes carry a unique ability that is integral to their character. The Catawba Indians 2017 football team has found success this year through the performances of several different superheroes. Some of these heroes have already become fixtures in Catawba folklore. Others are making a name for themselves for the first time this season. However, one thing is for certain: If this Catawba Football team expects to win a championship, we will need to see many more heroic efforts.

In the second game of the season, Catawba went to battle against a Division I school: Virginia Military Institute.  During the game, QB Reid Carlton would exit the field with a foot injury. With Carlton injured, the Indians were in need of a hero to keep the season afloat. Against VMI, the hero happened to wear the #12. Patrick O’Brien, a 6’4 Quarterback who transferred from UNC-Pembroke, helped Catawba overcome a 10 point halftime deficit by throwing for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 27-20 victory. O’Brien emerged as a hero with his ability to step right into a new role, and perform at a high level. When asked how he was able to come in and perform at a high level so quickly, the veteran quarterback jokingly responded: “Well when you’ve played as many games as I have, you learn a thing or too. There’s nothing new under the sun.” O’Brien, who has played college football since 2011, has used his experience in a heroic way.

However, O’brien definitely isn’t the sole hero on this Catawba football team. Senior wide receiver Sam Mobley continues to light up opposing the team’s secondary with his supersonic speed. In his first 5 games of the season, Mobley averaged 100 yards and 1 touchdown per game. The Indians won 4 of those games. Super Sam Mobley’s speed and senior wide-out Keyon West’s “Super Glue” hands have propelled an offense that scored at least 30 points in 3 of their first 4 games. Senior running back Eamon Smart has used his super strength like a bulldozer, rumbling for nearly 100 yards per game in his first 5 contests.

Catawba’s defense is so committed to the superhero theme, they have chosen to refer to themselves as actual fictional characters. The defense is led by Catawba’s all-time sack leader Kyle Kitchens, AKA “Bane”. Just like the super villain, Kitchens combines his brute strength with exceptional intelligence which has lead to 4 years of terror for opposing backfields. Kitchens is joined by fellow linebackers Trey Evans (Mr. Freeze), Michael Peppers (Freddy Kruger), Isaiah Huffin (Venom) and LJ Melvin (Green Goblin). The line-backers, combined with defensive linemen Jordan Hemingway (The Bull) and Ryan Watts (The Rhino) have wrecked havoc on quarterbacks all season, providing 13 sacks in the first 5 games. Catawba’s secondary has been a No-Fly Zone featuring Cristoff Page as “Two-Face”, Jeremy Addison as “The Joker”, Trey Murray as “Deadshot”, and DJ Jackson as “Dr. Doom”. This menacing secondary picked off 7 passes by the start of October, and surrendered the fewest amount of yards passing in the whole conference.

While super heroic play has been the key to Catawba’s success so far, the conference season is just underway. Teams like Carson Newman, Newberry, and Lenoir Rhyne have villains of their own, who care nothing about the feats and abilities of Catawba’s elite. Fortunately, just like we’ve seen in recent films, when superheroes team up and combine their talents and strengths into one pursuit, the success against their adversaries is exponentially increased. If this Catawba Indians team can continue find the hero within themselves, the demanding challenge ahead of them can EASILY result in another SAC title.

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Stew’s Views on Catawba Football: The Heroes in Our Midst