WSSU Falls To Catawba In Season Opener

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: August 29, 2006

WSS LOGOSALISBURY, N.C.– What started out as a promising season opener for the Rams of WSSU in the first quarter was put to rest early in the second half as they fell victim to penalties, turnovers, and lack of a sustained offense.

Catawba’s Kory Fisher scored three touchdowns to help lead the Indians to a 21-7 win over the Rams before an excited crowd at Shuford Stadium in Salisbury.

The Indians were playing their final game vs WSSU (because the Rams are moving to Division I football in the MEAC) and also playing under the lights for the first time in over 30 years.

Both teams looked like they were in scrimmage mode with early mistakes but it was the Rams who would settle down and score first. WSSU took the opening possession down the field impressively with a 10 play 65 yard drive using 5:19 and taking the early lead after a 1 yard run by Tionti Powell giving the Rams a 7-0 lead.

The defense for the Rams also came out in the 1st quarter, field with passion and were fast, furious and physical holding Catawba to only 39 yards of total offense. After leading by a touchdown after the 1st quarter, the Rams have several opportunities to add to their lead but the forementioned penalty bug and turnovers started to show it’s ugly head on several possessions in the 2nd quarter.

WSSU had several key penalties and a fumble in the 2nd quarter leading to excellent field position for the Indians. Tionti Powell fumbled in the 1st quarter and it was recovered but in the 2nd, he wasn’t as fortunate.

Powell’s fumble and a key penalty against a tired Ram defense, led to a short field and eventual touchdown for the Indians on a 7-play, 31-yard drive finishing with a Fisher 4-yard touchdown run.

The extra point was missed andWSSU held onto a slim 1 point lead going into the locker room at halftime. The Rams outgained the Indians on the ground with 120 yards to only 16 but the Indians totaled more yards overall with 202 yards thanks mostly to 186 yards passing to 0 for the Rams.

In the 3rd quarter, the Rams looked confused on offense and defense. The offense couldn’t get the running game going and it seemed to be a reluctance to allow the All-American candidate quarterback Monte Purvis to throw the ball.

Purvis was 0 for 4 in the 1st half and finished the game only 2 of 8 for 14 yards and 1 interception. Defensively, after controlling the Indians offense in the 1st have, seem to be playing the guessing game in the 2nd half.

When the Rams were thinking the Indians would pass, they ran the ball, when they anticipated the Indians running the ball, quarterback Brad Roach and his talented group of receivers were throwing the ball down the field.

Quick slants, a skinny post, deep outs and dump downs in the flats can best describe the arsenal Roach and his receivers Antwan Strong, Lance Johnson, Brent Johnson and even Fisher displayed late in the 3rd quarter and early in the 4th quarter in taking the lead in the 2nd half.

The Indians went on an impressive 7 play, 73 yard drive late in the 3rd quarter taking a 14-7 lead on a 2 yard run from the star of the game Fisher. The Indians extended their lead and close out the scoring for the game after another impressive long drive going on a 7 play, 74 yard drive finishing with Mr. Fisher scoring his 3rd and final touchdown on a 1 yard run making the final 21-7.

WSSU did make a final push into the red zone after a gadget play got them inside the 10 yard line but they couldnt put the ball in the end zone and gave up possession on downs.

Roach finished the game 18 of 26 for 241 yards while Fisher rushed for 57 yards on 19 carries, caught 3 passes and of course scored 3 touchdowns.

The Rams fought hard and played hard, but too many mistakes and a lack of offense for 3 quarters was the reason they came up short in Salisbury.

WSSU will go to Greensboro for a short road trip this Saturday in the much anticipated “I-40 Battle” against their re-newed rival in the MEAC, the North Carolina A & T Aggies.

The Rams will need more offense, big plays from Purvis, poise and discipline to win against the Aggies.

Game time is set for 6:30pm.