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CAK rips Polk; AHS rematch set

Charlie High got a well-deserved rest Friday night.

High, Christian Academy of Knoxville’s junior quarterback, sat out the second half of the Warriors’ 35-13 victory over Polk County in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs at CAK.

But rest was the furthest thing from High’s mind during the first half. He completed 24-of-27 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns during the first 24 minutes of the Warriors’ dominating victory over the Wildcats.

Yet, High, who had the chance to break single-season state records for completions, touchdowns and passing yards, wasn’t exactly happy with his performance.

“There were a few throws that I would like to have back,” said High, who threw an interception early in the second quarter. “I would like to have that interception back.”

Otherwise, High was nearly flawless. The records, however, will have to wait awhile.

He needs two more completions, a pair of TD passes and 173 yards in this week’s quarterfinal showdown against district rival Alcoa to break the state record.

The Warriors defeated the Tornadoes for the first time ever three weeks ago, 24-14. High will likely break those records before his home fans as Alcoa will travel to CAK for a 7 p.m. opening kickoff, Friday, Nov. 18.

Warriors head coach Rusty Bradley decided to give High a break after halftime, despite the fact that the records seemed destined to be broken.

“I wanted to rest as many people for as long as I could,” he said. “At this point in the season, it’s about staying healthy and moving on to play the next game.

“It’s not about setting records or scoring style points.”

High, however, went out with a bang. His last throw was a 36-yard touchdown strike to Josh Smith as time expired in the second quarter. The scoring strike capped a six-play drive that covered 84 yards and took just 43.8 seconds.

Quick strikes were the order of the day for CAK (10-2).

The Wildcats (8-4) took the opening kickoff and went three-and-out and the Warriors took the ball at their own 44-yard line.

From there, High took control. He was a perfect 5-for-5 on CAK’s opening drive and got the Warriors to the Polk 2 before Corey Rathbone scored the game’s first touchdown. It was 7-0 Warriors with 9:10 remaining in the opening stanza.

CAK then scored on its next two possessions. First, High connected with Davis Howell from 4 yards out to extend CAK’s advantage to 14-0.

On their next drive, the Warriors made it 21-0 when High hit Franklin Murchison on a 6-yard scoring strike late in the first quarter.

“Coach Bradley made a great call and Charlie threw a great pass,” Murchison said. “We don’t take any team lightly and we’re just blessed to play in these games.”

High would throw two more touchdown passes in the second quarter. Each scoring pass went to a different receiver. The CAK field general’s third TD pass was a 12-yard effort to Josh Henson. That one gave the Warriors a 28-0 lead with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Warriors then closed the half in impressive fashion and made certain that Polk County, which lost 28-21 to CAK in the second round of the 2010 playoffs, wouldn’t rally.

“Our kids were really excited to play Polk County because of the level of the competition,” Bradley said. “Our guys really wanted to come out and jump on them early and they did.

“Polk County lost a lot of players from last year, but they’re still a good team.”

High sat in the second half as freshman John Sharpe entered. He also was impressive, finishing 5-of-6 with 43 yards while leading a pair of long drives that didn’t result in points. One ended with a fumble deep in Wildcats territory. Polk County held on downs on the other drive.

Derrick Saxe put the Wildcats on the board with a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Al Akins pulled Polk to within 35-13 midway through the final stanza.


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