Powerful Knoxville Catholic rolls over Baylor, 56-24

Photo courtesy of Rob Dougherty

August 26th, 2017  by Ward Gossettin Sports – Preps

Baylor won the opening toss, but it was one of the few wins the Red Raiders had Friday in a 56-24 loss to visiting Knoxville Catholic.

The Red Raiders rebounded from a 10-0 deficit to grab a 14-10 lead, but that advantage lasted for just slightly more than two minutes. Catholic proceeded to give them a long ride on the turnover train.

The Red Raiders suffered four interceptions and a pair of lost fumbles. When asked if the outcome was a combination of turnovers and talents, Baylor coach Phil Massey grimaced in an attempt at a smile and nodded.

“You can’t have turnovers like that, especially against a good team, and they’re a good team,” he said after his team fell to 1-1 with games the next two weeks against Georgia power Marist and Division II-AAA East/Middle rival Ensworth.

Operating behind perhaps the biggest line Baylor will see all year, Catholic tailback Joshua Brown was a ground-game wrecking ball. He was stopped just twice for no gain in 24 attempts. Otherwise, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder pounded out 169 yards.

“Brown was great tonight. He’s been under the radar. We’ve had him in our back pocket,” Catholic coach Steve Matthews said.

The Irish were also quite efficient through the air, quarterback Jack Sompayrac overcoming one interception with a 16-of-21 night for 212 yards and touchdown tosses to Deshon Bussell and Adam Jones.

After the game, Matthews opened his postgame comments to his team with praise for Baylor.

“Don’t underestimate this win. That’s a good football team,” he said with a nod in the Red Raiders’ direction.

“We improved,” he replied when asked about the difference in his team from a one-touchdown loss last week to Class 6A power Maryville and the win Friday. “We definitely were better on defense, and the guys came up with the turnovers. We’re a pretty good offense, but we have to quit stopping ourselves.”

The Irish were tagged 13 times for 125 penalty yards, most coming against the offensive unit.

When Baylor did click it managed to scramble back into the game, taking the 14-10 lead on a 69-yard pass from Lorenzo White to Jaylon Baker and a 58-yard run by Brendon Harris.

Catholic, though, erupted for 31 consecutive points and held a 41-17 lead with 4;54 left in the third period.

Brown scored three TDs and Cameron Baker, who had two interceptions, added a score on a 44-yard interception return. Reserve Ray Thompson scored the Irish’s other TD on a 15-yard run.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him on Twitter @wardgossett.