HICKORY, NC -- Lenoir-Rhyne quarterback Reuben Haynes (Commerce, GA) threw for a touchdown and ran for a score as the Bears defeated visiting Catawba 31-17 in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium. With the win, L-R snaps an eight-game home losing streak to the Catawba Indians, dating back to 1993. The Bears finish the season at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the SAC, while the Indians end up at 6-4 and 4-3.
Haynes had 71 yards rushing to lead the Bears, the top-ranked rushing team in NCAA Division II. L-R totaled 370 yards on the ground in the win. He completed his only pass attempt for a 15-yard touchdown late in the first half. It gave the Bears a 13-0 lead at the time.
Catawba scored in the final minute of the half to get on the scoreboard. Patrick Dennis (Durham, NC/Cedar Ridge HS) connected with Grayson Downs (Mount Pleasant, NC/Mt. Pleasant HS) for a 20-yard scoring reception with just 50 seconds left before break to cut the margin to 13-7 entering intermission. Catawba recovered the ensuing kickoff in Bear territory, but missed on a field goal try on the final play of the half.
Lenoir-Rhyne increased its lead to 28-14 after three quarters of play when junior tailback Jasper Thomas (High Point, NC) and Haynes scored on touchdowns runs of 25 and 42 yards, respectively. Catawba sandwiched a touchdown in between the Bears’ two scores in the third stanza on Dennis’ five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Bunn (Virginia Beach, VA/Fork Union/VMI).
The touchdown marked the 30th for Bunn in his career. However, the Indians couldn’t get any closer than two touchdowns the rest of the way as the teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter to make it a 31-17 final.
James Pone (Wilson, NC) added 69 yards rushing on just seven carries for the Bears, while Marcus Shuford (Newton, N.C.) and Demetrius Green (Cedartown, GA) finished with a team-high seven tackles each as L-R held Catawba to just 36 yards rushing.
Dennis completed 34-of-47 passes for 295 yards passing and two scores with Bunn added a game-high 10 catches for 78 yards and a score. On defense, Cory Johnson (Fayetteville, NC/Britt HS) led the Indians with a game-high 13 tackles.