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Failed ‘50th’ act in Spartan Country
Despite stellar freshman effort, Webb drops tight region game to JP II Knights

Webb School of Knoxville’s 50th home-opener left Spartan fans disappointed as the men in green lost 14-9 to the Pope John Paul II Knights Friday, Sept 5, at Faust Field.

The Spartans came out strong, using the speed of freshman running back Caleb Blance to march down to the 10-yard line in only four plays … and then it fell apart.

Three five-yard penalties in a row forced the Spartans to attempt a field goal on fourth-and-25 on the 35.

Senior Meade Edmunds, whose 2007 extra-point record was 37 of 37, missed wide left on a 25-yard field goal try.

Spartan head coach Dave Meske, who begins his 23rd year this season as Webb’s head coach, said, “I don’t know what happened with all those penalties. We should have scored 21 points in the first quarter, but we didn’t. We didn’t make plays.”

Part of the problem was Knights runningback Wesley Tate. Webb’s standout defense could not seem to button him down.

“He is a great runner. We let him lose a couple of times. Our defense played great most of the night, but offensively, we just didn’t get it done,” Meske said.

The Knights defense was hard hitting and forced sophomore quarterback Parker Wormsley to keep and run the ball himself several times; and for the most part, Wormsley got it done, racking up three first down runs.

The standout Spartan of the evening was, hands-down, Blance.

When the Knights scored a touchdown with 10:23 left in the second quarter, Blance answered back with one first down after another for the next seven minutes of play, ending in a short jump into the end zone from the one-yard line with 3:27 left in the first half.

“They just opened up the hole and I hit it. That’s all, just hit it and hit it hard,” Blance said.” That’s what we practice and that’s just what I have to do.”

Blance handles the pressure of not only being a freshman starter, but also Wormsley’s go-to guy, with ease.

“There were some big shoes to fill,” he said of last year’s running back duo Brandt Campbell and Derek Boyce,” he said. “I try as hard as I can … come to practice everyday and try hard and do the best I can.”

Tate got loose one more time, late in the third quarter, to put the Knights on top 14-7.

Webb answered back on the Knights next possession with a safety, but the Spartans turned the ball over with less than two minutes left in the game, effectively giving up their last shot at overtaking the Knights’ lead.

The Spartans will take on long-time rival Knoxville Catholic Friday, Sept. 12, on Catholics home turf, in Blaine Stadium, and Meske had some words of wisdom for his team in his post-game huddle.

“You see what happens when you do not go out there and make plays and you turn the ball over, you have other people out there celebrating on your field. If you go out there and play like that against Catholic next week it will be 40 to nothing and you will be embarrassed on the field.”

Meske told his team to be prepared for tough practices this week in order to prepare for the game versus Catholic.


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