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Make it six straight for Irish versus Webb
Catholic pulls away in second half to whip Spartans 28-7

A very confident Catholic fan chant rang out last Friday night, Sept. 14, before two west Knoxville rivals, Knoxville Catholic High School and Webb School of Knoxville, faced off at Webb’s Faust Field. “This Is Our House,” was heard clearly through the stadium an hour before kick-off. Catholic’s fan base also known as the “Catechism Corner Crazies,” or simply the CCC, was riled up and ready to support their team to an eventual 28-7 victory over West Knox County rival Webb.

One of the CCC’s ring leaders, Catholic senior Jack O’Hearn, decked out in his leprechaun outfit with the green and gold school colors, said that this game is just as intense for the fans as it is for the players.

“We [The CCC] have been excited all week.” O’Hearn said. “We got here right after school to tailgate and paint up for the big game.”

Catholic senior standout defensive back Jeff Farris praised the CCC for their support. “A fan base is a big part of the game and they work real hard” Farris said. “They give us a home field advantage even if were on the road.”

The “CCC” apparently helped.

The Irish retained bragging rights for another year with a six game win streak against the Spartans.

Catholic ended the night with 331 yards on the ground and 51 yards passing, which all went to wide receiver Ryan Walden and his three receptions from quarterback Eric Lindsey.

The Spartans and the wet conditions were able to hold off the Fighting Irish until 1:54 left in the first quarter when Catholic running back Zach Vann side-stepped a defender and sprinted to the right pylon from 19 yards out.

Making a habit of scoring his team’s first touchdown in a game, Vann’s TD run made it 7-0 after the Ricardo Martinez extra point.

Vann carried the ball 21 times for 143 yards on the night with another 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, answering a Webb TD and making the score 13-7.

Vann was proud of his team’s performance. “It’s a great feeling,” Vann said. “We came out here to dominate and that’s what we did. The whole team did great, especially the defense. They have a great offense but we just showed up.”

Defensively, Catholic only allowed 113 rushing yards and 29 yards passing the whole night.

They also held the Spartans to only on first down.

Senior linebacker Jacob Giles led KCHS in tackles with nine, one being a tackle for a loss.

Other top tacklers were Jonathan Wood, Zak Tait, Dustin Tait and Garrett Trusler, all with seven tackles each.

Senior linebacker Zak Tait said he knew the Irish would come out victorious. “It was great, we came out here and stuck it to them,” Tait said. “We played Catholic football and rammed it down their throats.”

Senior linebacker Anthony Mubarak praised the team’s effort in the win. “We really hustled this week and worked hard and responded well to Webb’s good offense,” Mubarak said.

At the beginning of the second half a blanket of fog settled on the field furthering the difficulty of the passing game. The humidity also caused cramping for the Irish.

Irish head coach Mark Pemberton admitted to an obvious hydration problem. “We must’ve not done a very good job with our guys, we cramped up several times” Pemberton said. “We’re going to have to go back and look at how we [hydrate].”

But the Fighting Irish weren’t affected by short breaks taken by several players, due to the experience and depth of the team.

Vann was not the only effective Irish runner. Senior power runningback Matt Pfleger got the rock 15 times and ran a cumulative 136 yards, including a big 49-yard touchdown run with 9:19 left in the third quarter. His two-point conversion run made it 21-7.

Pemberton applauded Pfleger's performance on both sides of the ball, as well as the linemen. “He played great,” Pemberton said. “So did the interior guys, the line. They don’t get much credit but they did a super job and played great up front for us.”

Catholic will host region foe Livingston Academy (0-1 region record) at KCHS’s Blaine Stadium, Friday, Sept. 21.

Opening kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


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