The Catawba Ridge Copperheads won’t go undefeated in their first season.
For about 44 minutes of the game Friday night, the newly-formed Copperheads, who came in to the contest 2-0, stood toe-to-toe with the established program in Charlotte Latin. But those other four minutes — the first four of the game — proved to get the home team in too-big of a hole to crawl out of.
Charlotte Latin scored two quick touchdowns from Andrew Sumichrast: one a touchdown reception, and the other a 55-yard interception return. The team rode the lead from there, for a 27-7 win.
“The message that I sent to the team is that just like those first two weeks were big moments, this is a big moment too,” Catawba Ridge head coach Zac Lendyak said. “Because how we respond to this is going to set the program for years. Not just next year that we have all these guys back, but what are we going to make Catawba Ridge football? How they take that mentality from this point forward will set our tone for years to come. But I think we’ve got the right group in place to do it the right way.”
Sumichrast caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Charles Watson on the game’s opening possession with 9:51 left in the first quarter.
On the Copperheads’ first possession, Sumichrast jumped a route at his own 45 on third down and took the pick the distance to make it 14-0 before everyone was settled in their seats.
Sumichrast had 82 yards on six catches, and Watson had three touchdown passes on the night to three different receivers. Carter Stockwell ran for 110 yards on 12 carries.
The Hawks led 21-0 at halftime, and Catawba Ridge outscored them 7-6 in the second half.
The Copperheads moved the ball but had several trips in the red zone end with an interception or turnover on downs. Late in the third quarter, Quinten Jackson scooped up a fumble and never broke stride as he raced 55 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 21-7.
Jackson has found a way to score in all three Catawba Ridge games so far: He blocked an extra point attempt and had 84 yards receiving on seven catches.
“He just finds a way to make plays,” Lendyak said. “That’s three weeks in a row he’s found the end zone.”
The Copperheads will travel to Weddington next week for another program first —their first road game.