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Overpowering effort leaves Irish a big home winner versus Rhea

Knoxville Catholic Football kicked its season off in high gear Friday night, Aug. 20, with a dominating 48-15 win over Rhea County at Blaine Stadium.

The Irish were eager to wipe away the memory of a 6-6 2009 season and wasted no time in its non-district match-up against the Golden Eagles.

Despite losing senior running back Cody Shirley and wide out Daniel DeGennaro to torn ACLs during scrimmages, the Irish offense did not miss a beat.

Mike Wegzyn, Catholic’s first-year senior quarterback — a transfer from Michigan — passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more.

“His arm strength is something else, and he reads the defense so well and puts the ball right where he needs to,” KCHS head coach Scott Meadows said.

The Irish running back who replaced Shirley, senior Taylor Kennedy, took full advantage of the tunnel sized holes that were opened up. Kennedy ended the night with 27 rushes for 179 yards and a touchdown.

“We have a great line,” Kennedy said. “They make the holes really big for you and you just need to run right through.”

While the offensive line is led by Tennessee Volunteer commitment Kyler Kerbyson, he’s quick to point out that the line is a unit — a rather large unit.

“I think we [the offensive line] are amazing,” Kerbyson said, “Our average size is about 280 pounds, about 6-[foot]-2, we’re a really big bunch. We are all seniors ... we’ve been starting for three years.”

Wegzyn said, “It’s amazing to have a line like this. We have a couple of [Division]-1 players already. It’s a blessing to have them in front of me.”

The Irish collected 301 yards on the ground, including sophomore Nolan Coulter’s 69 yards on only seven carries and a TD.

Wegzyn connected with senior Patrick Haun for a 15-yard touchdown strike, then found Michael Bonfini for a 32-yard score.

Jesse Smith picked up a fumble and returned 55 yards for an Irish TD. Senior linebacker Dominic DiGiovanni intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 35 yards to set up a touchdown.


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