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Hartmann to the rescue as Irish whip A-E 30-19

If there was any question of whether Knoxville Catholic High School’s offense was one-dimensional, senior Brian Hartmann answered all critics in the Irish’s 30-19 win over Austin-East Friday, Sept. 1, at Catholic’s Blaine Stadium.

With standout senior and leading rusher Harrison Smith battling cramps for the majority of the game, the Irish offense looked elsewhere for run production and Hartmann was there to answer the call in a big way.

The senior rushed for 156 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns to improve Catholic’s overall record to 3-0 and give the Irish its first win in Region 2-3A competition this season.

“This puts us off to a tie for first in the region and a good chance to sweep the region if we can just take care of the tough games,” Hartmann said.

Despite the monster game from Hartmann, the senior fullback modestly distributed credit to the offensive line’s play in the second half.

“It was all the line,” Hartmann said. “There were huge holes and [Austin-East] couldn’t pick up the option at all.

“They just stepped it up. They realized that they needed to do a little bit better and they did awesome in the second half.”

After Austin-East returned the game’s opening kickoff to the Irish 30-yard line, the Roadrunners quickly scored with 9:50 remaining in the first on a 5-yard run by Jaron Tory, leaving Catholic trailing for the first time this season.

“We had a little adversity there in the first quarter,” Catholic head coach Mark Pemberton said. “They did a great job on the opening kickoff.

“I guess I over-coached them, I tried to put in a little different type of kickoff.”

Nonetheless, Catholic adjusted its gameplan and after an Eric Lindsey’s 1-yard touchdown run and a Chris Seneker 27-yard field goal, the Irish took a 10-7 lead into halftime.

“I thought our kids reacted well, they didn’t get too tore up about it,” Pemberton said. “We talked about it out there and we didn’t flinch. We came back, made plays and got the lead at halftime.”

During halftime, Pemberton and his staff decided to run the triple-option in the second half as a way to expose the Roadrunners’ defense.

Hartmann rushed for 82 yards in the third quarter and scored touchdowns on Catholic’s first two possessions of the second half, and added his third score with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Brian Hartmann had a heck of a game offensively,” Pemberton said. “We came out and took advantage of some stuff we thought we could to start the second half and got up on them by two scores, then they had to play catch up.”

Pemberton also credited junior quarterback Eric Lindsey for reading the Austin-East defense in allowing the Irish to take full advantage of the option play.

“They had a little trouble defending the option and Eric Lindsey did a great job reading it in there,” Pemberton said. “He makes three decisions in the play so he did a great job reading it, giving it to Hartmann and our offensive line did a super job knocking them off the ball. We thought we could take advantage of it at halftime and we did.”


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