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Last-minute KCHS 95-yard drive, 2-point conversion save day

It was a typical 8-play, 95-yard drive. Well, maybe it wasn’t so typical. In a steady rain Friday, Oct. 24, the No. 2 state-ranked Knoxville Catholic football team (9-0, 6-0) made magic happen.

The drive, capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by junior running back Dorian Cozart, set the Irish up for a storybook ending at KCHS’s Blaine Stadium.

The story finally ended when an 8-yard, 2-point conversion gave the Irish an 8-7 win vs. Kingston and a fourth straight Region 2-3A title.

Key hits by Zach Cooper and Luke Smith slowed a late Kingston drive ending with junior safety Tyler Williamson’s interception at the KCHS 5 with 3:23 to play.

“This running back [James] Sams, he’s a heck of a runner, he runs hard ...,” said Smith, who had several key tackles. “I hit him hard a few times, and he hit me too.”

Starting one of the most impressive drives in school history was a 9-yard screen pass to senior running back Jordan Howanitz.

The next play was Williamson, also KCHS quarterback, firing a fade pass to junior Spencer Mackle. The 6-foot-2 Mackle went up and over the defender, and came down with a one-handed catch. “It was a good throw by Tyler, he put it over the backside shoulder, it was the only place I could catch it,” Mackle said.

Two plays later Williamson was about to get hammered when he took off — in a single bound he was able to leap the Kingston defender, land on both feet and scamper for another 10-yards to the Kingston 43. Howanitz described “the leap” as “awesome, it got everyone pumped up.”

Sophomore fullback Cody Shirley’s 26-yard gain preceded Cozart 4-yard touchdown run with one minute remaining.

A delay-of-game penalty moved the two-point attempt back to the 8-yard line, but the Irish had a bit more magic left. Williamson threw a high ball to Howanitz, who jumped up and grabbed the wet ball and landed in the back of the end zone for an 8-7 Catholic lead.

A fumbled kickoff was recovered by KCHS to seal victory.

Region foe Scott County comes to Blaine Stadium, the last Irish regular season game, beginning at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31.


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