SALISBURY, N.C. (Newberry Sports Information) - The Newberry Wolves put together a fantastic defensive effort to shut out the Catawba Indians by a 27-0 count in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams at Shuford Stadium on Saturday night.
Newberry moves to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in SAC play and shuts out Catawba for the first time since 1992 and the first time in a SAC contest. Catawba falls to 2-1 and 0-1 in the league. Newberry hosts Mars Hill (1-2, 0-0 SAC) for a 6 p.m. contest next Saturday.
On a rainy night, the Wolves limited Catawba to 192 yards of offense, with only 72 passing yards. Newberry gained 296 yards total, with 193 yards passing and 103 yards rushing. For the first time this season, Newberry committed no turnovers.
Quarterback W.T. Murden (West Columbia, S.C.) was stellar in helping the Wolves out to the early lead, completing 17-of-28 passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
Wide receiver Corey Washington (North Charleston, S.C.) was on the receiving end of both touchdown passes, ending the night with five catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Dureal Elmore (Abbeville, S.C.) had a 2-yard touchdown carry in the third quarter and had five carries for 25 yards. Romelo Doctor (Summerville, S.C.) was Newberry's leading rusher with seven carries for 30 yards.
Defensively, B.J. Mazyck (Ridgeville, S.C.) was Newberry's leading tackler with nine stops, including one for a loss, as the Wolves made a total of 10 tackles for loss and limited Catawba to 3-of-15 on third down conversion attempts.
Letavious Williams (Ware Shoals, S.C.) made a sack and had two quarterback hurries on Catawba quarterback Danny O'Brien, who completed 10-of-21 passes for 72 yards.
Catawba's 120 yards rushing are the most by a Newberry opponent this season, but for only an average of 2.8 yards per carry.
All but two of Catawba's possessions ended in an attempt to punt - a fourth down conversion attempt in the fourth quarter failed and the Indians still had possession of the ball when the game ended.
On special teams for Newberry, Kyle Clark (Beaufort, S.C.) had a great night, connecting on field goals of 21 and 24 yards, while getting off six punts with a 42.0 yard average and a long of 47 yards.
After both teams struggled offensively early, it was the Wolves who found their stride first. Newberry drove down to the Catawba 34, but were held to fourth down. Outside of field goal range, the Wolves elected to go for it and Murden found Washington behind a defender and the receiver broke the play for a 34-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with 6:36 left in the opening quarter.
The Newberry defense then held Catawba deep in its own territory, with Williams coming up with a sack on third down at the Catawba 7. A short punt was fielded by Jason Livingston (Conway, S.C.), who returned it all the way to the Catawba 24. Just four plays later, Murden found Washington for the duo's second touchdown of the night, this time from 11 yards out. After the Clark PAT, it was a 14-0 Newberry lead with 1:44 left in the quarter.
After a slew of unproductive possessions by both sides, the Wolves drove deep into Catawba territory, chewing up 64 yards in 13 plays, with a Clark 21-yard field goal at the 5:39 mark of the second quarter making it a 17-0 Newberry lead.
The Wolves forced Catawba to punt on its first five possessions, and a botched snap on the sixth forced punt was picked up by Newberry's Nate Sichali (Anderson, S.C.), who returned it down to the Catawba 10. After a defensive pass interference call moved the ball down to the 2-yardline, Elmore punched it in for a touchdown to push the Wolves' lead to 24-0 with 2:45 left in the half.
Newberry limited Catawba to 76 yards of offense in the first half.
The Wolves moved the ball well again on the first drive of the second half, as a 40-yard completion from Murden to Jordan McDonnell (Bluffton, S.C.) set up Clark's second field goal of the night, this time a 24-yard connection to make the lead 27-0 with 10:26 to play in the third quarter.
Newberry continued to limit Catawba's offensive chances, as the Indians had no drives end in the Newberry red zone and ran only two plays inside the Wolves' 30-yardline all night.
Catawba did block a 40-yard Clark field goal attempt in the fourth quarter, but the Wolves' defense put the clamps on and held on to a great shutout win to start the SAC slate.