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No. 2 Irish go 10-0 while KCHS honors Scott after tragedy

At high school football stadiums all around East Tennessee on Halloween, it probably seemed like any other Friday night game.

At Blaine Stadium at Knoxville Catholic High School Friday, Oct. 31, however, the scene was much different.

The Irish played host to the Scott County Highlanders. The dominant color in the stands was not the home team Irish green, but instead the crowd was a sea of red.

The state’s No. 2-ranked Irish (10-0, 7-0) stayed focused on the task at hand despite the recent tragedy befalling Scott County High School, and by the end of the game they completed another perfect regular season, beating the Highlanders 48-20.

As the two teams gathered on the field before the game, Irish cheerleaders met SCHS cheerleaders at the 50-yard line and exchanged roses with their counterparts who lost four of their girls in a fatal car accident Oct. 24.

KCHS principal Dickie Sompayrac presented a check to Scott County principal Bill Hall for $7,000, going to the families who lost their teenage daughters.

As for the game, Catholic scored on its first three drives to take an early 21-0 lead — in only nine plays — beginning with an 82-yard drive in five plays. That was capped with a 35-yard TD run by running back Jordan Howanitz.

The Irish offense took only six seconds off the clock on its next drive. On first down, junior quarterback Tyler Williamson threw a perfect fade pass down the sideline and caught senior wide-out Nick Branum in stride for a 36-yard touchdown catch.

Running back Dorian Cozart’s TD run put KCHS up 21-0 with 3:28 still left in the first quarter. “We really had control of the run and the pass tonight and were able to do a little of both early on,” Williamson said.

Williamson found Howanitz for a 53-yard completion to the Scott County 3. Fullback Cody Shirley’s bulldozing 1-yard run gave the Irish its fourth touchdown, as KCHS held a 34-14 halftime lead.

Howanitz and Cozart each ran for more than 100 yards, while Cody Shirley added 86.

“Not a lot of teams can do what we have done the last four years, but we are still striving for that state championship,” senior defensive tackle Will Coulter said.

Class 3A playoffs begin Friday, Nov. 7, in Blaine Stadium, as No. 1-seed KCHS battles Region 1-3A No. 4-seed Gibbs starting at 7 p.m.


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