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
"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
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
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
"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,
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
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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
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
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
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
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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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570