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No. 1 Irish hold off A-E

Knoxville Catholic returned to its Class 3A roots Friday night, Sept. 10, when they visited George Lennon Stadium for their annual showdown with long-standing rival Austin-East.

The Road-runners pushed the state’s top ranked Class 5-A team to the brink; forcing the Irish (3-0, 1-0 District 4) to make a huge goal-line stand as time expired, sealing a 20-12 win.

“I was scared to death ... It was a hard-fought ballgame,” Catholic head coach Scott Meadows said.

Early mistakes, including two first quarter fumbles and big holding penalty, cost the Irish scoring opportunities, but solid defensive play kept A-E in check.

Quarterback Mike Wegzyn hit a streaking Patrick Haun down the sideline for a 49-yard reception, then made a circus scoring catch for a 7-0 halftime lead. “That was huge for us, it really got the momentum going,” Wegzyn said.

A successful onsides kick got things started in the third quarter. “Coach Brown, our special teams coach, had been working on that all week ... Eric Kropilak made a great play,” Meadows said.

The Irish engineered a 10-play drive, which ended when Wegzyn sneaked in from the A-E 1 giving Catholic a 14-point lead.

While running back D.J. Oggs gave the Irish problems, scoring both A-E TDs, Catholic forced a turnover at the A-E 18 yard line and wasted no time.

Running back Taylor Kennedy, who rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries, scored on the next play.

The Irish led 20-12 with less than three minutes left, but A-E ran 18 plays before being stopped at the KCHS 3 as time expired.

Senior Patrick Conaty’s big lick at the Irish 3 kept A-E QB Jyshon Forbes in-bounds. Ryan Ridley and Joey Gaston then stopped Forbes for no gain.

After A-E botched a third-down snap, they rushed to the line and got off one last play. But an aggressive wall of Irish defenders stood firm as time expired.


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