LA Cats defeat Notre Dame 48-34
Wildcats reach BlueCross Bowl
Lady Wildcats take win over Lady Bobcats
LA Wildcats win 76-41 over Pickett County Bobcats
LA Cats defeat Notre
Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
Jake Reeder takes off on a big run for the LA Wildcats in Friday's
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
In sub-freezing temperatures, Livingston Academy's Wildcats faced
the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, of Chattanooga, on Friday, Nov.
25 in the Class 3A State Semifinals.
Notre Dame swaggered into Tom Davis Memorial Stadium with an unblemished
13-0 record, playing away from home for the first time in the playoffs.
By virtue of winning the first three rounds on the road, the 8-5
Wildcats had home field, and home crowd, advantage.
LA received the opening kickoff, with Jamey Vaughn taking the ball
at the 23 yard line and moving it up to the 25. On the first play
from scrimmage, Jake Reeder took off on a 49 yard run to the Notre
A Vaughn carry on 1st down was negated by a 15-yard penalty. A
Jake Peterman catch and a Wilson Cates quarterback keeper moved
the ball to the 24, but a failed pass had LA looking at a 4th and
8. Cates called his own number and ran to the 14.
On the 1st down play, Reeder ran the 14 for a touchdown. Jonathan
McGill hit the extra point conversion and LA led 7-0 with just over
8 minutes left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame's vaunted "The Wall" defense gave up an average
of only 5 points per game, but LA had already passed that mark before
the Fighting Irish touched the ball.
Chase Spurlock received the kickoff at the 15 yard line for Notre
Dame and returned the ball to the 35. LA's Jamey Vaughn sacked the
quarterback on the first play from scrimmage. But after a couple
of runs, the Irish had a 1st down. Another Ian Meredith/Devin Carthorn
pair of runs and Notre Dame had another 1st down.
LA helped the visitors with an offsides penalty, then Carthorn
and quarterback Drew Nelson combined runs for another 1st down at
the LA 18 yard line.
The Livingston Academy defense toughened up, allowing no gain by
Meredith, then another Vaughn sack dropped the Irish back to the
Notre Dame pushed ahead to the 10, but fell short on 4th down,
turning the ball over to LA.
After virtually no movement of the ball for 3 downs, Vaughn broke
open a 13-yard run for a 1st down. A short Vaughn carry was followed
by a 20 yard jaunt by Wilson Cates to the 45 yard line. Reeder moved
the ball to the 47, and the first quarter ended.
The second quarter began with LA unable to gain much ground and
being forced to punt. Carthorn received the punt at the 25 and returned
it to the 37.
Spurlock, Meredith, and Nelson runs moved the ball to the 46 and
a 1st down.
After an incomplete pass, Notre Dame's alternate quarterback, Matt
Rice, threw a long pass to Spurlock, who was dragged down at the
4 yard line by Wilson Cates.
On 1st and goal, Vaughn knocked down a Notre Dame pass, but Carthorn
ran in for a touchdown on the next play. A Jon Reinert extra point
kick tied the game at 7.
Wilson Cates received the kickoff at the 10 and returned it to
the 39. After a short Vaughn carry, Cates ran 17 yards for a 1st
down at the Irish 43. Back-to-back Vaughn carries moved the ball
to the 30 and another 1st down. Then LA's offense stalled. LA turned
the ball over on downs at the 21.
Carthorn took the ball on the first play from scrimmage and blasted
up the field 79 yards for a touchdown. Reinert's point-after kick
was good and LA trailed 7-14.
LA started their next drive at the 31, but could move no farther
than their own 49 before punting the ball back to the Irish, who
took over at the 23.
Notre Dame fumbled the snap on first down, but recovered the ball.
Then, LA again helped the Irish with an offsides penalty.
But another bad snap over the head of Matt Rice gave the ball to
Livingston Academy's Curtis Beaty at the 24.
Reeder moved the ball to the 19, then Jamey Vaughn took it to the
house on the next play. McGill's kick was good and LA tied the game
at 14 with just over a minute left in the half.
The Wildcats were offsides on the kickoff, then booted the ball
to Spurlock at the 16, who moved it up to the 30. After a pass for
a loss, Rice threw a long-distance strike to Carson Courter for
a 47-yard gain.
With 15 seconds remaining before halftime, Notre Dame took a time-out.
Carthorn then moved the ball to the 2 yard line and another 1st
down, and Notre Dame took another time-out with less than 6 seconds
left. Carthorn took the ball in for a touchdown, and Reinert's kick
was good, giving Notre Dame a 21-14 lead at halftime.
Notre Dame received the kickoff to open the second half, with Carthorn
running the ball from the 19 yard line to the 32. Four 1st downs
later, the Irish had moved to the LA 13 and appeared to be prepped
for another touchdown. The Wildcats defense made a stand and allowed
Notre Dame to advance no closer than the 10 yard line.
Reinert was brought in to kick a field goal on 4th down, and the
Fighting Irish increased their lead to 24-14.
On the kickoff, Jamey Vaughn ripped off a 30-yard return to place
the ball on the 50 yard line. Cates carried it to the 31 for a 1st
down, then Reeder pushed through to the 10, where Cates took off
for another Wildcats touchdown. McGill's point-after kick hit the
crossbar. The Cats narrowed their deficit to 20-24.
Spurlock received the kickoff for Notre Dame at the 17 and returned
it to the 33. On the first play from scrimmage, Spurlock was spun
around by the Wildcats defense and the ball flew from his hands,
but rolled out of bounds as the LA defenders tried to recover it.
Notre Dame stumbled with a false start penalty, then Nelson appeared
to be in trouble as the Wildcats' defensive line chased him backwards
in his own territory, but he got off a pass that fell into the waiting
hands of Devin Carthorn, who took off for a 71-yard touchdown. Reinert's
kick was good and the home team trailed 20-31.
Notre Dame fans appeared comfortable, and LA fans remained faithful.
After LA took the ball at the 29, Cates was sacked and then held
to a short gain before he broke open a big run to the 48, and was
hit while out of bounds, tacking on another 15 yards for the late
A Reeder run came up just short of a 1st down at the 23. Cates
carried the ball the rest of the way for a touchdown, and Vaughn
carried the ball in for a 2-point conversion, narrowing the gap
Spurlock received the kick for the Irish at the 18 and brought
it out to the 41. Nelson kept the ball on a quarterback keeper to
the LA 45. Spurlock gained another 9 yards, and Carthorn pushed
the ball across for a 1st down. Meredith moved the ball to the 33,
but a high snap dropped Notre Dame back to the 46 where the Irish
recovered the ball. The third quarter ended with the Fighting Irish
facing 3rd and forever.
The Irish again shot themselves in the foot to begin the fourth
quarter with a false start. Levi Holt almost intercepted a Notre
Dame pass, and the visitors had to punt.
After LA took the ball at the 30, Cates fumbled on the first play
from scrimmage, and the Fighting Irish recovered it.
The Wildcats defense were called upon to make a statement, and
they did. Notre Dame got no closer than the 22 and chose to kick
a field goal, moving the lead to 34-28.
The kick was received at the 28, and Livingston Academy went to
A short gain from a Reeder carry was followed by a Peterman catch
at the 38 for a 1st down. A short Vaughn run was followed by a Reeder
run to the Irish 49 and another 1st down. Cates carried the ball
to the 41, then Peterman caught a touchdown pass. McGill's kick
missed, but LA had tied the score at 34.
Meredith received the kickoff at the 20 for Notre Dame and brought
it up to the 35. On the first play from scrimmage, Cates stepped
in front of a pass to Carthorn and ran it 60 yards for a Livingston
Academy touchdown. Cates then scored a 2-point conversion to give
the Wildcats a 42-34 lead.
A steady diet of Carthorn and Meredith moved the ball from the
15 to the 35 for Notre Dame, until Carthorn coughed up the ball
to Cates at the 28 yard line.
With less than 4 minutes to play, Livingston went into time management
mode. Reeder and Cates rushed for a 1st down at the 38, then Cates
ran for another 1st down at the 43.
Notre Dame stopped the clock with a time-out with just over 3 minutes
remaining in regulation.
Reeder and Vaughn moved the ball to the 36, killing the clock along
The Irish took their second time-out with just over 2 minutes left
Cates was sacked, and LA faced a 4th down play.
The Irish took their final time-out to stop the clock.
On 4th down, Cates kept the ball and bobbed and weaved the 36 necessary
yards for a touchdown. After the touchdown, LA was hit with an unsportsmanlike
penalty, backing up McGill's point-after attempt. The kick was blocked,
leaving the home team with a comfortable 48-34 lead, with just over
a minute and a half to play.
The Irish weren't through fighting though. They moved the ball
from their own 18 to the LA 18 before Jake Peterman intercepted
a pass in the endzone and brought it out to the 10, where a kneel-down
ran out the clock and sent the Wildcats to MTSU for a noon appointment
with the Mustangs of David Lipscomb High School in the BlueCross
Bowl State Championship for Class 3A on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Cates and Carthorn both rushed for 196 yards in the game. Reeder
also went over 100 yards with 125.
Carthorn also received for 93 yards.
top of page
Wildcats reach BlueCross
Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
The stands were packed with frozen LA Wildcats fans.
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
With a little over 5 minutes remaining in Friday's state 3A semifinal
game between Livingston Academy and Notre Dame of Chattanooga, the
Wildcats were holding to a slim 6-point lead and trying desperately
to eat up time on the clock. It was not the turning point of the
game, but perhaps its most critical moment.
Huddling on the sidelines during a time-out, runningback Jamey
Vaughn looked at his quarterback Wilson Cates, and his words were
probably the most defining of this year's LA team.
"If anything goes wrong, you keep the ball," Vaughn almost
screamed to be heard over the tremendous roar of some 4,000 fans
who had packed Tom Davis Memorial Stadium.
It was a fourth down situation and the Wildcats needed to make
6 yards for a first down and maintain possession of the ball. With
the ball on the visitor's 36, Cates called an option right, which
would have given the ball to Vaughn "if nothing goes wrong".
Cates took the snap and rolled to his right, watching the defense
and trying to decide if he needed to keep the ball or pitch it to
his trailing runningback.
"They were keying on Jamey," Cates later would point
out, "so when it came time to pitch, I could see they had him
in their sights. I just tucked it in, cut inside, then out, and
The 36 yard TD put the Wildcats up by 14 and nailed down Livingston
Academy's first ever trip to the state 3A championship game to be
played Saturday at noon in Murfreesboro.
From that point on, the Fighting Irish were desperate to score,
and took to the air where on the final play of the game Jake Peterman
read the pass route perfectly and intercepted the throw, sending
the visitors (13-0) back down Highway 111 with their first loss
of the season.
Assistant Coach Bobby Gore said, "You can't say enough about
Wilson, and you can't say enough about this entire team.
"That one statement by Jamey in the huddle says so much for
this team. They will do whatever it takes to win. Wilson is the
finest athlete I've coached in my 26 years here, and this team is
the most dedicated and unselfish I have ever had the pleasure of
For Gore and the 15 seniors on this year's team, Saturday will
be the crowning achievement of all of their careers. At the end
of the game, like his seniors, Gore will retire from coaching. It
will be the final game for all of them.
"It's the biggest moment in my coaching career," Gore
pointed out. "I'm just so proud that this great group of kids
decided to take this old man along for one final ride, and it's
going all the way to the championship game."
Cates said, "What can I say. All of us have been playing football
since grade school, so we are very familiar with each other. We
have come a long way together, and to make it to the championship
game has been just great. I thought as a youngster how it would
be to go to the state title game, and finally here we are.
"We knew when the season began that we would have a good team,
and even when we lost some close games early, we never gave up.
I never give up no matter what the score is, and my teammates are
like that, too.
"God gave me a gift, and He also gave me some great teammates,
and for that I'm thankful.
"I really can't explain why I am the way I am, but determination
is just part of my makeup, and I never, ever feel like we have lost
until the final buzzer goes off. Tonight we got down several times,
and to some people, it might have looked like we were not going
to win, but in our minds, it wasn't ever over," Cates added.
And it never was. Not until the Wildcats were on top and headed
for a berth in the BlueCross Bowl.
Assistant Coach Grant Swallows said, "It's the most exciting
event in the history of Livingston Academy. When that game was over,
there were so many of my old teammates on the field, and players
from a lot of the other teams that went through here, jumping up
and down on that field.
"It was kinda like this win was for all who ever tried to
do it at Livingston Academy. I've never been associated with anything
like it, and I'm just thrilled for this team, the players, the coaches,
the wonderful fans, and all the older players that were so happy
Friday night. Whoa, I'm almost speechless," Swallows added.
Offensive Line Coach Bruce Lamb added a personal side to the victory.
"When you think about it," Lamb exclaimed, "not
only are the players so excited about what they have done, but all
the coaches on this staff played here, and now we're finally getting
to go to the championship game that we didn't go to when we were
"This won't sink in until Friday when we walk onto that field
in Murfreesboro, but then we will know we are here and everybody
will finally know where Livingston is.
"To get here we had to overcome so many things, just like
any team that reaches this level, and our kids did everything we
asked them to do, and then some. There are things coaches just can't
coach, it has to come from the players, and this group did that.
"What do you say about Wilson?" Lamb continued. "He's
incredible, but he knows it takes 100% from every player on that
field to make things happen the way they are supposed to happen.
With players like (Wade) Ford and (Jacob) Coffee in that line, and
Curtis Beaty and (Beau) Massengille and Ryan (Duke), and (Robert)
Holt all doing not only what they are coached to do, but more, it's
just been such a pleasure to work with the young men. I know I've
left somebody out and I'm sorry, but right now, every player on
this team is so very special, I can't name them all."
Head Coach Matt Eldridge, the guy who gets the blame for losses
and never seeks the glory for victories, had this to say about the
night, "It's the most exciting game I've ever been associated
with. This was exactly what I always thought it would be like when
you went to the championship game.
"It was at home with over 4,000 screaming fans making it almost
deafening on the field, and your kids come from behind and win,"
the normally quiet, man-of-few-words, beamed.
"Hey, I won't ever forget this as long as I live.
"Now we have one more game to win," the coach went on.
"When the regular season was over, we were 5-5 and nobody thought
we would go very far in the playoffs. But our coaching staff and
our kids thought we would.
"We knew from the first day of practice back in those hot
days of August that this was a special group. They had played together
for a long time, and they knew when they got it going, nobody would
"We made the playoffs and started a new season. Then we had
to go to Knoxville three weekends in a row, and we did, and we beat
everybody we played there. Then we came home and beat an undefeated
team to go to the title game. How much better can it get?
"I don't really know until we win Saturday, but I'll tell
you one thing for sure - if I coach another 20 years, I'll never
be associated with a finer group than this one. And I'll never forget
this night as long as I live."
With 9 wins and 5 losses, the Wildcats take on the Mustangs of
David Lipscomb (13-1) in Murfreesboro at noon on Saturday, Dec.
3. One team will win and one will lose, but regardless of the outcome,
like Vaughn said late Friday night, "if something goes wrong,
you keep the ball", it will be an effort of a totally unselfish
team that has done whatever it took to rise to each and every challenge.
top of page
Lady Wildcats take
win over Lady Bobcats
Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
Alison West jumps out of a crowd for 2 of her 11 points against
Pickett County last week.
Livingston Academy's Lady Wildcats opened their regular season
play with a drive up to Byrdstown on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to face the
Pickett County Lady Bobcats.
The Wildcats overpowered their host in the first period, scoring
28 points to their opponent's 12.
The Lady Bobcats came back in the second period with 17 points.
But Livingston Academy edged the home team with 20 points, to hold
a 48-29 lead at the intermission.
The Byrdstown team came on strong in the third period and outscored
the Lady Wildcats 18-13, narrowing Livingston's lead to 61-47.
Close scoring marked the final frame as Livingston Academy scored
20 points to just stay ahead of the Lady Bobcats, who scored 18
in the period.
Livingston Academy posted an 81-65 victory.
Five Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats scored in double figures,
and LA hit nine 3-pointers in the game.
Ashley Matthews led LA with 24 points, including three 3-pointers.
Jada Ledbetter scored 12 points, including a 3-pointer, Mallie
Stephens scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers, Alison West
scored 11 points, including two 3-pointers, and Haley Mullins scored
Livingston Academy scoring was rounded out by Rebekah Jackson with
5 points, including a 3-pointer, Brittany McCoin with 4 points,
and Megan Brown with 3 points.
Pickett County's Lindsey Wright led all scorers with 26 points,
including five 3-pointers.
After travelling to Cookeville on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to play the
Class AAA Cookeville Lady Cavaliers, the Lady Wildcats will travel
to Celina to play Clay County High School's Lady Bulldogs on Thursday,
The Lady Wildcats will open district play and their home season
on Friday, Dec. 2 when Livingston Academy will host the Macon County
The Lady Wildcats will be on the road again on Tuesday, Dec. 6
when they will travel to York Institute to take on the Lady Dragons
in another district contest.
top of page
LA Wildcats win 76-41
over Pickett County Bobcats
Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
Tyson Stover jumps for 2 of his 10 points against Pickett County
in LA's road win.
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
Livingston Academy opened the regular season in basketball with
a road trip to Byrdstown on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to take on the Bobcats
of Pickett County.
The Wildcats dominated defensively from the start of the game,
allowing the home team only 4 points in the first period, while
dropping in 11 points of their own.
The Bobcats recovered in the second period to put 11 points on
the scoreboard, but Livingston Academy added 18 to lead 29-15 at
The Wildcats overpowered the Bobcats in the third period with a
The Bobcats scored 14 in the period.
Livingston Academy enjoyed a 55-29 lead at the end of the third
The Wildcats had another 20-plus scoring run in the fourth period,
while the Bobcats scored 12 for a final score of 76-41.
Four Livingston Academy Wildcats scored in double figures. Chase
Dunn scored 12 points, Lance Ruble scored 11, Deven Ramsey scored
10 points, and Tyson Stover scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
Just missing the double figure mark were teammates Tyler Smith
and Jeremy McLearran, with 9 points and 7 points respectively.
Brett Roddy led the Bobcats with 13 points, followed by James Gibson
with 10 points, and Jacob Wright also scored 10 points.
After travelling to Cookeville on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to play the
Class AAA Cookeville Cavaliers, the Wildcats will travel down State
Route 52 to Celina to play Clay County High School's Bulldogs on
Thursday, Dec. 1. The Wildcats will open district play and their
home season on Friday, Dec. 2 when Livingston Academy will host
the Macon County Tigers.
The Wildcats will hit the road again on Tuesday, Dec. 6 when they
will go to York Institute to take on the Dragons in another district
top of page
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570