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No. 2 Catholic holds off A-E rally to reach 3A quarterfinals

With six minutes left and a 20-point lead, Catholic looked to be well on its way to a third round playoff match-up against Fulton. But a late Austin-East rally made things interesting.

With three touchdowns in less than two minutes, the Roadrunners made a valiant attempt at the unthinkable, but the Irish withstood the rally and held on for a 27-21 win Friday, Nov. 10, in Class 3A second round action at KCHS’s Blaine Stadium.

For the first three quarters it was all Irish as the A-E offense managed only three first downs during the span. At the halfway point in the fourth, that all changed. A-E quarterback Jaren Troutman put their first points on the board with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Tory to close the deficit, 20-7, with 4:24 left.

The Roadrunners recovered the onside kick and a minute later Troutman ran in for a one-yard touchdown to get within 20-14.

Another onside kick was attempted but Catholic’s Zach Vann picked it up and ran for a touchdown to increase the Irish lead 27-14 with 3:07 remaining.

“That’s something else,” Irish coach Mark Pemberton said. “We’ve had that two weeks in a row and it can’t get any better than that, to pick it up and score in that situation so that’s the key play.”

With the momentum on Catholic’s side once again, A-E didn’t back down. Troutman found Arsenio Dragg in the corner of the end zone for a 45-yard TD to make the score 27-21 with 2:36 left.

“Their quarterback is a great athlete and he was finding ways to get around our D-line and find the guys that were open,” Irish junior Eric Lindsey said.

A third onside kick was recovered by Harrison Smith and the Irish escaped with the win.

“I thought we played great up until that fourth quarter and we started giving away scores,” Pemberton said.

The Irish (12-0) scored on its first drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead with 8:13 in the first quarter on a Brian Hartmann 6-yard run.

Two second quarter field goals of 28 and 34 yards from senior Chris Seneker gave the No.2-ranked Irish a 13-0 lead into halftime.

A 28-yard pass from Lindsey to Smith put Catholic up 20-0 with 6:07 left in the fourth quarter. “I can’t really take credit for all the good plays,” Lindsey said. “My teammates and the offensive line are great. ...”

The Irish host Fulton (11-1) at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, in a rematch that Catholic won 27-14 Oct 13.


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