An early advantage in the race to the Division II Playoffs is on the line, as the only two remaining undefeated teams in Super Region Two face off at Setzler Field on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
In the game Newberry will take on Carson-Newman.
Newberry is the only three-win team in the region.
All three South Atlantic Conference Players of the Week are playing in this game. Newberry quarterback W.T. Murden was named the SAC Offensive Player of the Week, Newberry defensive lineman Alstevis Squirewell was named the SAC Defensive Player of the Week and Carson-Newman kicker Curt Duncan was named the SAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Newberry defense intercepted Catawba five times last week, with Brian Spencer grabbing two INTs to move into a tie for the conference lead with three picks on the year.
Lance Richardson and Taniel Massey each had crucial fourth quarter interceptions.
The focus now shifts to defending Carson-Newman’s vaunted veer option attack, which leads Division II in rushing yardage per game and is in the top five in scoring offense.
Both teams have made huge plays on defense all season, ranking in the top five nationally in turnover margin. The Eagles are third in the country with a plus-3.0 margin per game and Newberry is just behind them in fourth with a plus-2.67 margin per game.
Ball security will be of the utmost importance for both teams, as the Wolves have recovered six of their opponents’ 15 fumbles and the Eagles’ offense can chew up the clock when needed.
Look for Apollo Stretch (32 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR), Kelton Hall (23 tackles, 2 TFL) and Edmond Robinson (19 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PBU) to have big games from the linebacker position, covering the pitch receiver out of the backfield.
Jamal Bethune (17 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FR, 5 QBH) will be important at defensive end, keeping an eye on the quarterback and Daniel Foster (16 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QBH) will cover the dive at defensive tackle.
Murden set career highs for completions, attempts, yardage and touchdowns against Catawba and found 11 different receivers.
Dual threats at running back in Dureal Elmore and John Gadson will be important as the Wolves try to establish a balanced offensive attack, keeping the Eagles on their toes.
Punter JoJo Morris enters the game ranked second in the SAC at 41.5 yards per punt.