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After 22-hour weather delay, Catholic rallies past Central

The Knoxville Catholic Fighting Irish started its 2011 campaign over two nights on Joel Helton Field at Central High School.

Severe weather interrupted the opening game Friday, Aug. 19, forcing the Irish to endure a 22-hour halftime and two trips across town before beating the Bobcats 21-14 Saturday night, Aug. 20.

The Irish got an up-close-andpersonal look at UT commitment Cody Blanc and turned him into a non-factor on offense. Early on Blanc seemed omnipresent on defense however, and KCHS head coach Scott Meadows and his staff used the lay-over to gameplan and adjust their attack Saturday night.

“We were able to look at the film from the first half and we made a few adjustments,” senior quarterback Matt Armstrong said.

The Irish entered the second half down 7-0 and its offense was on life support since their 14 play 66–yard opening drive Friday. Catholic had 18-total yards on three other possessions.

Catholic’s second play of the new half was a 32-yard pick-6 by Blanc to put the Bobcats up 14-0 with 8:50 left in the third quarter.

“Everyone told me we are all in and to forget about it and move on to the next play,” Armstrong said.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys,” Meadows said.

The Irish offense looked reborn. Lead by fierce running by junior Nolan Coulter, Catholic moved the ball 80 yards in nine plays capped with a 30-yard touchdown run by Coulter on fourth-and-5.

Catholic’s defense capitalized on the momentum. Nick Bonfini’s sack lead to a three-and-out.

Coulter picked up where he left off with a 27-yard run on a 57-yard scoring drive. The Irish converted on two more fourth down plays, the second from the Central 13.

This time, the Irish went to the air. Armstrong connected with junior Hayden Varner, and after Gabe Saavedra’s kick, Catholic had tied the game at 14.

The Irish defense, lead by Tyler O’Brien and Matt Mackle, stepped up again. The next two CHS possessions resulted in an Irish fumble recovery and a three-and-out.

With 6:45 remaining in the game, Catholic took over at its own 40, and for the fourth time in the second half converted on fourth down when Coulter hammered out a 5-yard run on fourth-and-1.

Seven plays later Coulter capped off a great two-day game when he scored from the 3 with 1:11 left.

Coulter then stopped the ensuing Bobcat possession with an interception to seal victory.

“We are a young team and not many people believed in us all during the pre-season. ... Our desire to win tonight was through the roof,” Coulter said.


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