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Archives 11-30-2005

Sports

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 Dame 48-34

Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
Jake Reeder takes off on a big run for the LA Wildcats in Friday's semifinal win.

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 Dame 26.

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 22.

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 hit.

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 to 28-31.

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 work.

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 way.

The Irish took their second time-out with just over 2 minutes left to play.

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.

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Wildcats reach BlueCross Bowl

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 scored."

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 coaching."

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 players.

"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 stop them.

"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.

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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 10 points.

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, Dec. 1.

The Lady Wildcats will open district play and their home season on Friday, Dec. 2 when Livingston Academy will host the Macon County Lady Tigers.

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.

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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 halftime.

The Wildcats overpowered the Bobcats in the third period with a 26-point onslaught.

The Bobcats scored 14 in the period.

Livingston Academy enjoyed a 55-29 lead at the end of the third period.

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 contest.

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