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Archives 09-21-2005

Sports

Cats lose close contest to Fighting Irish
LA Volleyball wins over area teams
Jr. Wildcats shut down Smith County 20-0
Jr. Cats soccer team rolls to 7-0

 

Cats lose close contest to Fighting Irish

Mac McLeod/OCN Sports
LA's Jake Peterman runs free on a 10-yard pass reception, before it was called back on a holding penalty.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
For the first 14 minutes and 30 seconds of Friday night's Region 2-3A showdown between top ranked Knoxville Catholic and the region's newcomer, Livingston Academy, it looked as if nothing could, and would stop the Irish from rolling to their 25th straight victory and dominance of the league once again.

Allowing the visitors only four offensive plays in the first quarter, one of which was a punt, Catholic rolled up seven first downs, 136 yards on the ground, and another 29 through the air, and were clearly in control with a 14-0 lead. A blowout was almost in the offing.

Wildcat lineman Robert Holt said, “We weren't all that impressed, and we certainly weren't in awe. We let them get by with the fake punt on fourth down early, and then we let that guy (Harrison Smith) get away with that long run, and before we knew it, we were down 14 points.

"The thing that was impressive was we never gave up, and after we settled down, it was a totally different game."

Those quick 14 points, plus a 40-yard field goal that eased over the bar by a mere foot on the final play of the first half, set the stage for a 24-21 Irish victory. But when it was over, the home team knew quite well that almost surely there would be another match between the two schools when playoff time rolls around.

With a large fan following on hand in one of the state's finest high school facilities, the Wildcats seemed to be handling the Irish offense quite well in the early going, holding the home team to a mere 5 yards on their first possession. Then, on fourth and 5 at their own 31, Catholic pulled off a perfect fake punt for 8 yards and were on the march for the night's first score.

Livingston Academy only got the ball once in the first frame, and could do little with it as the Cats only got three offensive plays for 4 yards before Wilson Cates had to punt. The kick was almost perfect as it rolled out of bounds at the Irish's 6 yard line. But on the third play of the second quarter, Harrison Smith blasted off the left side, broke several tackles, then outraced the defense for a 62-yard score.

Before the second half kickoff, Coach Matt Eldridge moaned, "That fake punt and the missed tackles on that long run killed us in the first half. Other than that, we're right in it."

Trailing 14-0 with 25 seconds left in the half, Cates blasted off two runs of 28 and 24 yards respectively, and Mike Jones bulled straight ahead for the final 9 yards to get the Wildcats right back in the game. Jonathan McGill split the uprights for the point after, and it appeared that Livingston would only trail by a single touchdown going into intermission.

But the Irish would take the ensuing kickoff and complete three straight passes to put the ball at the Wildcats' 23 with only 2 second left. Chris Seneker then eased the ball over the bar for a 40-yard field goal and Catholic was up 17-7 at the half.

Holt said, "At that point, I guess we could have folded, but this team doesn't quit, and in the second half we showed we could play with anybody.

"I'm just proud of the way we came back, and that will set the stage for us the rest of the season. We're in this league to stay."

That point was backed up after the game when Catholic Head Coach Mark Pemberton praised the Wildcats effort.

"That's a well-coached, talented team," the winning coach said. "They didn't panic at the half, and they came back to give us all we wanted in the second half.

"They may be new to this region, but believe me, they can hold their own here."

LA gave the Irish a big break early in the third period when Cates dropped a pitchout attempt at the Wildcats 10, and two plays later Knoxville quarterback Jimmy Fleming went over to boost Catholic's lead to 24-7. The game appeared out of reach at that point.

Then a "pep talk" from offensive line coach Bruce Lamb seemed to put fire back into the Wildcats' attack. Late in the third frame the Cats started a march on their own 45 that would tighten things up considerably.

A 19-yard pass from Cates to Tyler Livingston sparked the drive to the Irish 28. Livingston then hauled in a second toss from Cates to get the ball to the 19. Cates then rambled off 12 hard yards to the 5, and scored on the next play. McGill's kick pulled the Wildcats to within 10 at 24-14.

That's when the game became a game. Catholic was on the march late in the final frame and had moved the ball to the Wildcats 38 when Wade Ford pounced on a loose ball, and not only did LA stop a drive, but started one of its own.

The big play of the series was a 34-yard run by Cates after a pass fake, putting the ball deep in Catholic territory. Three plays later, Jones went over the top, and McGill added another point after attempt. Now LA trailed by only 3 points with 2:43 left in the game.

Ten seconds later, Jake Peterman wrestled the ball away from Catholic at the 42, and Livingston Academy had one more shot. It just didn't work out.

Cates would later say, "That was a very hard-fought game by both teams. We came to play, and I thought we did for the most part.

"Every game you play will have a few mistakes, and we made some tonight. That's the nature of a game. Some hurt and some don't, and I'm not sure how it worked out tonight for us. But I do know this team played a very good game, especially in the second half.

"We're 2-2 on the season, but more importantly, we're 1-1 in the region. Now we have to set our goal of winning our remaining games, especially the region games, and then we'll get another shot at Catholic in November (in the playoffs).

"We showed tonight we can play with them, and we can't wait to play them again."

Coach Eldridge said, "I thought our defense played well tonight. Jamey (Vaughn) made some key tackles, as did Cody (Shokoui), Wade (Ford), and Wilson, and everybody in there.

"Hey, we could have won just as easily as we lost, but that's why you play the game.

"We'll look at the film and make some corrections and try to eliminate some mistakes, and we'll get after it next week in Jamestown.

"This is a good football team and it will be up to our coaching staff to convince our kids they are playoff material."

The Wildcats will be in Jamestown on Friday night, Sept. 23 to take on the Dragons of York Institute.

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LA Volleyball wins over area teams

By LEAH THOMAS, OCN Sports
The Livingston Academy Wildcats volleyball team played Jackson County on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and defeated the Blue Devils 25-11, 25-23, and 25-14.

Then on Thursday, Sept. 15, LA played at Gordonsville, and defeated the home team 25-9, 25-21, and 25-14.

LA Volleyball Coach Merl Smith said, "Senior Amanda Gilliam played good, and senior Ashley Morgan had a good setting and service game when we played Gordsonsville on Thursday."

After hosting Smith County and Upperman on Tuesday, Sept. 20, Livingston Academy will host Macon Count on Thursday, Sept. 22.

The Wildcats are scheduled to play in the Glencliff Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 24. LA will travel to Red Boiling Springs on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to take on the host team and Jackson County.

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Jr. Wildcats shut down Smith County 20-0

The Jr. Wildcats improved their record to 4-1 with an impressive 20-0 win over Smith County on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Smith County received the game's opening kickoff, and then drove the ball to the Jr. Wildcats' 36 yard line. With first and 10 from the 36, Smith County went to the air, and Overton County linebacker Cody Stafford caught his first of two interceptions on the night.

The Jr. Cats then drove the football down the field, with Ethan McDonald taking the ball in from the 16 yard line for what appeared to be a Jr. Wildcat touchdown. But a clipping call nullified the TD.

Costly penalties have plagued the Jr. Cats all season and would again haunt them later in the game.

After the penalty, Smith County's defense held.

Smith County was again on the drive, but Stafford stopped them cold by stripping the ball from their running back.

The Jr. Cats took over and were driving the ball when another turnover gave the ball back to Smith County.

The first quarter ended scoreless.

The second quarter was more of the same, with each team grinding it out on the ground.

With 37 seconds left in the half, Jr. Cats quarterback Brannon McCoin took the ball 80 yards on an outstanding run for the touchdown. Tremendous downfield blocking cleared a path for McCoin.

The conversion was no good, and the half ended with the Jr. Cats leading 6-0.

The Jr. Wildcats received the ball to start the second half, and again were driving down the field, but a turnover gave the ball back to Smith County.

The tough Overton County defense held, forcing Smith County to punt. The Jr. Cats took over on their own 20 yard line, and marched down the field. Fullback Stafford took it in for the touchdown from 14 yards out. The conversion was good on a Hayden Hill to McCoin pass, making the score 14-0.

As the quarter was coming to an end, defensive back McCoin intercepted a Smith County pass, giving the Jr. Cats the ball to start the fourth quarter.

The Jr. Wildcats again drove down the field behind their running game. From the Smith County 20 yard line, on a fullback pass, Stafford hit wide receiver McCoin for what appeared to be Overton County's third touchdown of the game. But again an untimely penalty brought the ball back.

The Jr. Cats didn't give up after the penalty and drove the ball down to Smith County's 2 yard line. A turnover on the goal line gave the ball back to Smith County.

Trying to move the ball away from the endzone, Smith County went to the pass. On a fourth down play, Stafford intercepted his second pass of the game and took it to the 3 yard line.

McDonald then took it in for the touchdown. The conversion was no good, making the score 20-0.

The Overton County defense held Smith County on their final drive.

After the game, Coach Bryan Aldridge said, "The game conditions were rough. The field was slick and the ball was wet. That caused both teams to commit turnovers.

He went on to say that, despite the turnovers, this was the best offensive and defensive game the Jr. Wildcats have played this year.

"We jelled as a team," he said, "and the defensive line played outstanding."

Members of the defensive line are Talon Sircy, Caleb Sells, Josh Beaty, Jacob Parsons, and Seth Kilgore.

Again, defensive standout Stafford led the team with 7 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery.

The Jr. Wildcats were scheduled to host Jackson County in a 6:30 p.m. game Tuesday, Sept. 20. They are scheduled to host Sparta on Thursday, Sept. 22 in another 6:30 p.m. game.

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Jr. Cats soccer team rolls to 7-0

courtesy of Jr. Wildcats Soccer
Goalkeeper Alaura Miranda keeps White County from scoring in the Jr. Wildcats' 5-1 win on September 13.

The Overton County Girls Jr. Wildcats soccer team faced their toughest opponents last week with a 3-game schedule.

If facing the week's tough schedule wasn't bad enough, the team lost Coach Tony Nigro, who left to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and he is not expected to return before the season ends.

The week's first game was at Algood, where the Jr. Wildcats won 6-1. 

Forward Shelby Taylor and midfielders Kathryn Nigro and Heather Marshall scored 2 goals each to lead the Jr. Cats to victory. 

The team traveled on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to play White County in their first game under the lights.  

White County's players were noticeably older and taller as the Jr. Wildcats took the field against their opponents. Coach Phil Marshall had his team focus on their game plan, and advised his girls not to be intimidated by White County's size.

Taylor led the Overton County team in scoring with 3 goals, followed by 6th grader Kelsey Copeland with a goal, and veteran 8th grader Heather Marshall with a goal.  

Aylissa Thompson and Lisa Cook anchored the defense for the Jr. Wildcats, keeping the ball away from the Jr. Cats goal.

The Jr. Wildcats defeated White County 5-1.

The final game of the week was against Avery Trace Middle School, which had extremely fast and talented players who really tested and pressured Overton County's defense. 

Goalkeepers Alaura Miranda and Bailey Buck had their best game of the season by stopping the Avery Trace attack on the goal, and holding them to only 2 goals. 

Kathryn Nigro led the Jr. Wildcats in scoring with 3 goals, followed by Heather Marshall with 2. 

The Wildcats pushed their season record to 7-0 and will play the final three regular season games this week. 

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