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Spartans rush by Irish
Coulter lone KCHS offensive threat versus Webb

On the big stage of Rivalry Thursday, the Knoxville Catholic Fighting Irish traveled to Webb for the “Battle of the Bluff” and failed to match the intensity of the Spartans.

When it was all over, the 4-mile trip back to KCHS probably seemed to take forever.

The Spartans (4-2, 2-0) ran all over the Irish (2-3, 0-2) and all but shut down Catholic’s offense, doubling the Irish in total yards and winning the game 42-14, Sept. 22.

Nolan Coulter, Catholic’s standout junior running back, topped the century mark in rushing for the fourth time in five games. Coulter accounted for more than half of the Irish output, rushing for 102 yards on 19 carries.

The rest of the Irish offense was absent. A Stuart Smith touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the game capped the only Catholic drive to end in points.

The other Irish touchdown came early in the second quarter when junior Cole Lombardo returned an interception from 15 yards out, cutting into the 14-0 lead the Spartans had built on its first two possessions.

“We are not real good right now,” Catholic head coach Scott Meadows said. “We are making too many mental mistakes that we shouldn’t be making midway through the season and it starts with me.”

The game marked the third straight week the Irish dug a hole early and could not recover. “We have not been coming out and playing with enthusiasm and playing physical,” Meadows added. “It’s not anything that is not correctable and we will correct it, I guarantee it.”

The Irish defense had its hands full with the “three-headed monster” that is the Webb backfield. Caleb Blance topped 200 yards rushing, T.K. Kelly ran for 100 yards and Bryan Berube added 68.

“We knew they had the triple threat,” senior linebacker Luke Petr said. “As long as we are where we are coached to be, those backs should not have had had those looks, but we had some communication errors tonight that hurt us. They are little things and we need to work harder on them.”

Catholic has a longer week to work on those little things and also address the problems that face their beleaguered offense.

“We have been flat and we need a spark,” senior quarterback Matt Armstrong said. “We need to get over this and focus on our district games and get back to even. It’s all up to us.”

However, Catholic’s offense, as it has during the three game losing streak, has shown promise.

But lacking a big-play threat hampers its ability to play from behind, and injuries have hurt KCHS depth.

The Irish go on the road again, this week traveling to Lenoir City for a District 4-AAA clash Friday, Sept. 30. Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


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