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A measure of revenge: Irish clip Austin-East 21-12

The last time the Austin–East Roadrunners stepped on the field at Blaine Stadium, they ended what was a perfect season for the No. 1-ranked Fighting Irish.

On Friday night, Sept. 5, the two teams faced each other again, and Austin-East looked to once again give Catholic it’s first loss of the season, although with much less on the line.

The Irish would have none of it though, beating A-E 21-12 in a Region 2-3A showdown.

Early mistakes plagued KCHS and the Roadrunners wasted no time capitalizing. On the Irish’s fourth play of the game Roadrunner linebacker Jamarius Cullom picked up a fumble and returned it 57 yards for the game’s first score. A missed extra point kept the score at 6-0.

On the very next play the Irish momentarily escaped disaster when the kickoff was fumbled but quickly recovered.

Seconds later, on the first play of the drive, Irish runningback Jordan Howanitz fumbled and Austin-East took over at the Catholic 18.

Aided by 25 yards of penalties and a stingy defense led by Wes Reese, the Irish forced a punt and took over on its own nine yard line. Three plays later Howanitz made good on his previous fumble when he took a pitch from quarterback Tyler Williamson and raced 80 yards to tie the game 6-6.

Catholic took a one-point lead when Jarrod Julies added the point-after. The two teams traded interceptions and with 9:06 remaining in the half the Irish defense stood strong on a fourth-and-three, giving its offense the ball on its own 34 yard line.

What ensued was a 10-play, 66-yard drive sparked by Dorian Cozart, who announced his presence in a big way, gaining 45 of his 98 yards on the drive, 37 of those yards coming on a second-and-13 from the KCHS 30.

Howanitz continued with his redemption of the earlier fumble, catching a 24-yard strike from Williamson, ending the drive with his second touchdown of the game, a 1-yard burst with 5:25 remaining in the half putting Catholic up by 8.

Late in the third quarter it looked like the Irish had put the game away when Howantiz appeared to pick up a fumble and return it 85 yards.

A quick whistle actually had ended the play setting up a third-and-goal from the 15 for the Roadrunners.

On the next play Austin-East took advantage of the previous call and scored on a well-executed pass to the back of end zone, putting the Roadrunners within 2. The ensuing two-point conversion was broken up by Cody Shirley with 2:34 remaining in third quarter.

The Irish took over on its own 35 yard line after a wayward kick and then did what they do best. Catholic executed a 13-play, 65-yard drive alternating runs between Cody Shirley and Howanitz.

Fittingly, the drive ended with Howantiz slashing through the Austin-East defense for a 14-yard touchdown, his third of the night, putting Catholic up 21-12 with 9:05 remaining.

After the game Howanitz spread the credit throughout the Irish offense. “Our quarterback was amazing, our fullback did awesome and our offensive line played their hearts out,” he said.

The Irish would get one more scare when Austin-East took over at its own 20 yard line.

Six plays later the Roadrunners were knocking on the door, having moved 77 yards in five plays capped off with a 42-yard pass.

On the first-and-goal play Daniel Hood crashed the party, recovering a fumbled snap at the Catholic 4 yard line.

A 49-yard punt and a solid Irish defense ended the remaining threat and the Irish survived.

“Its not how we drew it up, but we’ll take it,” KCHS head coach Mark Pemberton said to his team afterwards.

“You all know what’s next,” Pemberton added, reminding his team the Webb Spartans will come calling to renew the Battle of the Bluff rivalry.

Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m. in Blaine Stadium Friday, Sept. 12.

Catholic will look to extend a six-game winning streak versus the Spartans.


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