Youth, Balance Highlight Second Scrimmage for Catamount Football

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Cullowhee, N.C. – Greeted by overcast skies, humid conditions, and a smattering of enthusiastic Catamount faithful in the stands, the Western Carolina football team completed its second scrimmage of 2022 preseason camp on Saturday afternoon at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
 
The squad worked out for just over two hours and ran approximately 125 plays in completing its 13th practice of 2022 fall camp.
 
Saturday’s scrimmage included a combined 19 total drives with the defense winning 10 against the offense’s nine wins. WCU’s defensive unit created four turnovers on the day with a pair of interceptions and two sack fumbles. Three stops came on three-and-out series with two coming on fourth down stops. The offense scored seven touchdowns – four through the air and three on the ground – adding a 39-yard Richard McCollum field goal and a successful four-minute drive to run out the clock on one situational series.
 
“I thought that we were better this Saturday than we were last Saturday. I thought that we got some good young players a lot of reps that are going to help us down the road – our young quarterbacks, especially,” said Bell. “I’ve been pleased with everything, pleased with the way our guys have practiced the whole camp. We’ve just got to come out here and get better these next two weeks heading into our first game.”




Six quarterbacks split most of the reps on Saturday afternoon with freshman Cole Gonzales and redshirt freshman Parish Metzger both completing nine passes to lead the way. Metzger finished an impressive 9-for-10 for 130 yards with two touchdown passes including a scrimmage-long 71-yard catch-and-run by converted wide receiver Cade Snotherly. Gonzales was 9-of-14 for 64 yards with a TD strike, adding a team-best 79 rushing yards on nine carries.
 
Kason Lincke was 2-for-6 for 44 yards, adding a four-yard touchdown rush, while Brody Palhegyi finished 3-for-8 for 74 yards including a 28-yard touchdown to Bryce Yaggi but was intercepted twice. Freshman Samuel Cornett completed just two of his 10 attempts for 47 yards on Saturday.
 
Projected starter Carlos Davis – who was the only QB protected during the scrimmage as the other five were live – saw action in just two series early in the scrimmage. After being forced into a three-and-out on his opening possession, Davis saw his second series ended early after a 55-yard scoring romp by freshman tailback Desmond Reid. Davis finished 2-for-3 passing for just seven yards, adding a successful two-point conversion pass to Toler Keigley.
 
A combined 13 receivers caught passes with freshman running back Camury Reid making a team-best five receptions for 29 yards including a two-yard scoring strike. Reid added nine rushes for 27 yards to finish with 56 total yards. Five receivers tallied three catches apiece with tight end Brayden Blackmon finishing with a team-best 75 yards followed by freshmen receivers Jaylin Terzado (3-for-27 yds), Ryan Sims (3-for-22 yds), and AJ Colombo (3-for-20 yds). Tight end Ajay Belanger also hauled in a one-handed touchdown grab on a three-yard pass with Clayton Bardall catching a 45-yard pass.
 
Snotherly had the long reception of the day on his 71-yard TD catch, outmaneuvering a pair of defenders to find the end zone.
 
Quentin Zanders rushed 13 times for 54 yards, adding a pair of two-point conversions – one rushing and one receiving. Jalynn Williams ran five times for 46 yards.
 
All told, WCU’s offense converted all five of its two-point tries at the end of scoring drives. In addition to Keigley’s reception and the two by Zanders, Camury Reid, and Cole Gonzales also scored two points on successful rush attempts.
 




Defensively, the Catamounts finished with four takeaways – two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries – among the 10 total stops on the day. Defensive lineman Justin Wallace busted up a would-be screen pass for the first interception with linebacker Giovanni Ricciardi making a leaping grab for a pick on the ensuing drive. Ricciardi added two tackles and a fumble recovery on a ball punched loose by Christian Murphy for a third takeaway. Defensive lineman Ronald Wilson also covered a fumble on a strip sack by freshman Richard Garrett to combing on the fourth takeaway.
 
Both linebacker Skylin Thomas and converted DB C.J. Williams both almost had interceptions in the scrimmage for two of WCU’s seven pass breakups with Lee Campbell credited with two PBUs.
 
A combined 11 defenders were credited with three-or-more tackles on Saturday with freshman defensive back Darian Anderson Jr. posting a scrimmage-best five stops. Malik Richardson was credited with four total tackles including a sack with four quarterback hurries from his defensive end position. Transfer safety Mateo Sudipo finished with four tackles including a tackle for loss, with Ja’morri Downing, Jayion McMillan, and Jordy Lowery each posting four stops, while safety Marquis Lymon had three tackles including one for loss.
 
Combined, the defense finished with five total sacks between five different players and eight total tackles for loss.
 




In addition to his 39-yard field goal, Richard McCollum also connected on both of his PAT attempts as the WCU offense worked its two-point conversions on five of its seven scores. Punter Brandon Dickerson averaged right at 50 yards on six kicks between the early special teams period and the in-game scrimmage, while Brady Elms punted five times with nearly a 40-yard average with one touchback.
 
Western Carolina will enter its in-season practice schedule following Monday’s first day of fall classes in Cullowhee. The 2022 season opens with consecutive road games as the Catamounts visit Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 3 (Noon) and travel to Georgia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 10 (7 p.m.). WCU head coach Kerwin Bell is scheduled to take part in a special 2022 Fall Sports Preview Facebook LIVE event, presented by Stanberry Insurance, on Monday (Aug. 22) beginning at 6 p.m. The head coaches of each of WCU’s sports that hold championship seasons in the fall – cross country, football, soccer, and volleyball – will be on hand for this preview show.
 

Gallery: (8-20-2022) Catamount Football Scrimmage #2 – Aug 20

Both season and single-game tickets, as well as game day parking for Western Carolina’s 2022 home schedule, are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone at (828) 227-2401, and online at www.CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets.
 
2022 Catamount Football – Preseason Practice Schedule:
Sun., Aug. 21 – No Practice (Off Day)
Mon., Aug. 22 – First Day of Fall Classes at WCU
Tues., Aug. 23 – In-season Practice Schedule Begins
 
Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (FB.com/CatamountSports, FB.com/WesternCarolinaFootball), Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountsFB), and Instagram (wcu_catamounts, catamountsfb).

Important Dates in Catamount Athletics & Catamount Football:

Saturday, Aug. 20 – Catamount Volleyball Exhibition – vs. Anderson (Ramsey Center, 6 p.m.)

Monday, Aug. 22 – First day of classes for the fall semester – Cullowhee

Monday, Aug. 222022 Fall Sports Preview, Facebook LIVE event (6 p.m.)

Thursday, Aug. 25 – Catamount Women’s Soccer – Home Opener vs. Clemson (CAC, 7 p.m.)

Saturday, Sept. 3 – 2022 Catamount Football season opener at Charleston Southern (Noon)

Friday, Sept. 16 – The Bob Waters Memorial – Maggie Valley Club – Maggie Valley, N.C.

Saturday, Sept. 17 – 2022 Catamount Football home-opener, vs. Presbyterian (3:30 pm)

 




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