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Top-ranked Irish blast champs

LIVINGSTON — The state’s top-ranked Class 3A Knoxville Catholic Irish remain unbeaten after dismantling Livingston Academy 49-0 Friday, Sept. 15.

Catholic got revenge on last year’s eventual 3-A State Champion Livingston — who knocked the Irish out of the playoffs a year ago — by racking up 508 yards of total offense in the blowout.

“We played pretty good at times,” Catholic head coach Mark Pemberton said. “They moved the ball on us a little more than we would have liked but I was pretty happy with us offensively.”

Catholic improves its record to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in region 2-3A while Livingston falls to 0-4 and 0-2 in the region.

The Irish scored on its first six possessions, the first touchdown coming on a Harrison Smith 4-yard run at the 7:52 mark in the first quarter.

Smith led the Irish with 122 yards on nine carries.

“He ran it real well,” Pemberton said. “He was in there halfway through the third quarter and I think if he would have stayed in he would have really racked some numbers up.”

On Catholic’s next possession, fullback Brian Hartmann scored from 11 yards out to give the Irish a 14-0 lead on a 75-yard drive. The touchdown was setup by a 57-yard pass from quarterback Eric Lindsey to Patrick Kelly.

Lindsey, who finished the game 4-of-8 passing for 123 yards, continued to control the aerial game on the next drive by dumping off a screen pass to senior Michael Browder, who scampered 55 yards to make it 21-0 with 7:59 remaining in the half.

“We worked real hard on our screen game and Eric has done a good job of getting the backs and receivers the ball in the right position,” Pemberton said. “Eric’s continued to improve over the course of the season so we are really pleased with the job he is doing.”

Smith closed out the half with a 64-yard run to give Catholic a 28-0 lead at the break.

Catholic continued its dominance in the second half as Matt Pfleger scored on a 9-yard run with 9:29 remaining in the third quarter. Three minutes later Pfleger returned to the end zone after a 15-yard run, making the score 42-0.

The final points of the game came at the 1:48 mark in the third when sophomore Zach Vann escaped for a 14-yard run, making the score 49-0.

The Irish gained 385 yards on 43 carries and with the lopsided score. A lot of players got carries throughout the game.

“We spread it around a bunch and a bunch of guys got involved so I was really pleased with them,” Pemberton said. “They had some nice holes to run through, which is our offensive line doing its job, so I like to think we were able to give credit to a lot of different people.”

The Irish defense once again proved that it was a force by limiting Livingston to 131 yards of total offense.

“There were some things early where they strung a few first downs together against us, but overall it was a really good defensive effort,” Pemberton said. “In other games we have had this year we have had some shutouts, and when we have stuck our second and third team freshman in a couple of teams put some scores against us. But I am really pleased with the first team bunch.”


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