UNCP head football coach Shane Richardson leads the Braves through the tunnel and out onto the field before their game. The Braves finished the 2018 season 2-8 after the Nov. 17 23-20 loss to Catawba. PN file photo/Trevon Knight
The Braves led a comeback drive in regulation to tie the game and missed two chances to score in overtime in their heartbreaking, season-ending 23-30 loss to Catawba on Nov. 17.
Josh Jones continued to shine in this game, capping off his stellar freshman season with perhaps his best game as the Braves’ quarterback. Jones went 19-for-33, threw for 230 yards and a career-high three touchdowns to three different receivers. Redshirt freshman Joshua Dale looked solid as he continued to make his sporadic appearances at quarterback. Dale completed four of his five passes for 49 yards.
The offense stepped up and competed in the last game of the season, as running back McKinley Nelson rushed for 107 yards and the receivers made timely catches. Freshman tight end Faheem Diaab stood out among the pass-catchers in the game, hauling in four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Jones put the team on his back in the fourth quarter after a Lee Brackman field goal for Catawba put the Indians up 23-17 with just 1:46 to go in the game.
Much like in the first game of the season at Winston-Salem State, Jones ended the year the way he started it. The freshman QB led his team down the field with some clutch passing late. Jones connected with receiver Shammond Hicks on a 10-yard touchdown strike to cap an 8-play, 68-yard drive.
The touchdown tied the game with just 21 seconds left. Kicker Alex Alvarado’s extra point attempt that would’ve likely won the game for UNCP in regulation was blocked by Catawba on the very next play however and sent the game into overtime.
The Braves gave up a quick touchdown to Catawba on the first drive of the overtime period and found themselves down again, 30-23. Jones again tried to work some late-game magic but misfired on a would-be touchdown on third down and receiver Tyshawn Carter dropped the game-tying score on fourth down, ending the game and the season for UNCP.