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Young Irish defense stops MWHS, Howanitz ‘fills in,’ rushes for 175

For Knoxville Catholic football, so many good things happened at Morristown West Friday night.

And one truly bad thing.

But the bottom line was a 28-0 Irish drubbing that saw a young KCHS defense hold the Trojans, a traditional 4A power, to only 42 yards total offense and one first down.

“It’s just amazing, really, ’cause we had so many young kids in the line-up,” KCHS head coach Mark Pemberton said. “That’s probably the lowest total an offense has had since we’ve been here.

“A monumental effort against a heck of a football team, I mean, Morristown West has got some athletes,” Pemberton added. “That was huge.

“Our coaches did a great job coaching those guys up.”

Individually, Pemberton pointed out senior defensive tackle Will Coulter and senior inside linebacker Luke Smith for “a really good job.”

Meanwhile, a wingback emerged from the shadows just when Catholic’s runningback supply seemed diminished.

Senior Jordan Howanitz rushed 21 times from 175 yards and caught a 14-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Tyler Williamson in the second quarter.

“We definitely found another wingback,” Pemberton said. “Jordan stepped in there and carried the load. Did a great job.”

Michael Bonfini, sophomore defensive back, started the scoring early by recovering a fumble and scampering 37 yards with 10:36 left in the first quarter. Alex Gillespie, Irish sophomore linebacker, had an interception.

“There were a lot of guys that made major contributions,” Pemberton said.

Williamson ended up firing three touchdown passes, the other two hauled in by junior Spencer Mackle from 41 and 16 yards out in the fourth quarter.

“Tyler’s settling in, he’s a quality kid, got a big arm, can throw the football,” Pemberton said, as Williamson ended 6-of-12 passing for 93 yards and no interceptions.

For all the positives came bad news about senior standout runningback/defensive back Zach Vann, who injured his right knee. “It’s season ending,” Pemberton said. “It’s unbelievable, it’s rips your heart out. He’s the leader of our team, too.

“A tremendous blow.”

Vann had just recovered from an ACL tear to his left knee suffered in last year’s post-season play.

Junior runningback Dorian Cozart also missed the game with a foot injury, but is expected back for this week’s home opener and Region 2-3A opener versus Stone Memorial.

Junior kicker Jarrod Julies converted all four extra points.


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