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CAK stays perfect, stonewalls Panthers

Christian Academy of Knoxville had little trouble securing the ‘W’ at Stone Memorial Friday, but head coach Rusty Bradley said his football team started off a bit sluggish.

“The first quarter for us was kind of a weird atmosphere,” said Bradley, whose team secured a 35-14 victory as first reported on Farragut First Edition, Sept. 4. “We were a little flat.”

The Warriors (3-0) led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter of their first District 4-AA game of the season thanks to a 10-yard run by Carson Pegram.

The problem was, “We were not playing with a lot of emotion. It was like a bad practice almost,” he added. “We were dropping some balls on offense, missing some balls on defense, and not playing our assignments defensively.

Bradley said the coaching staff “challenged our guys,” and the team responded.

“We had a couple of big hits defensively, and then offensively we got the ball back and guys just started making plays. You could see their mentality change and their approach change.”

Once things began to click, the Warriors were difficult to stop. CAK scored 14 points in both the second and third quarters and held the Panthers scoreless.

Stone Memorial (0-3) finally reached the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Offensively, Bradley said, “Our passing game was really working. We were able to find some breaks in their coverage. [Quarterback] Quinn [Epperly] did a nice job of seeing what he was supposed to see.

“Davis Burton had another big game,” Bradley added. “He caught a touchdown pass. Blake [Houser] caught several balls. Zach Mead caught a few balls; he caught a touchdown pass as well.

“Quinn did a nice job making some plays with his feet. When things broke down in pass protection, he was able to escape the pocket.” Epperly threw for 194 yards and rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns.

Burton had six receptions for 116 total yards. Houser had five for 45 yards and Mead had three catches for 32 yards.

On the other side of the ball, “Matt Smith made some plays for us. Tyler Eichholtz and Jacob Duncan made some plays. Marcus Walker had a couple of pass breakups, where he got a hand on some balls and deflected some passes,” the coach said.

Eichholtz led the team with five solo tackles and five assists. Duncan was right behind him with three solo tackles and seven assists.

“I thought our defensive line made some plays and really penetrated ... really got some pressure on the quarterback and rushed some of his throws a little bit, which helped,” Bradley said.

Carter poses the next challenge for CAK.

“Carter is a pretty athletic team. They are pretty big and physical upfront,” Bradley said. “We’ve got to do a good job of preparing for their athleticism.

“They’ve got a really good tailback named Shannon Meady who I think rushed over 1,700 yards last year, and we’ve got to do a good job of containing him,” Bradley added.

The Warriors face Carter at home Friday, Sept. 11. Opening kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.


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