Pre-Game Notes: Catholic vs. Eagles Landing Christian Academy (GA)



CATHOLIC Irish (1-1)

                                                         September 1, 2017                                                       

Blaine Stadium/Hollin Field

7:30 p.m.



SETTING THE SCENE – Catholic plays its first home game of the season… Catholic is ranked first in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A poll…ELCA is ranked first in the Georgia Class A (private)  poll… this is a first-ever meeting between the two schools… Irish have posted four consecutive 10-win seasons…Irish have won 133 of their last 175 games… Brown has rushed for more than 100 yards in both games…Brown averaging 149 rushing yards per-game…Sompayrac has completed 78 percent of his passes …Irish have topped 500 yards in total offense in both games… Jancek and Mahoney lead the Irish in tackles with 16 each…Irish have allowed no points in the first quarter…


THE RECORDS – Catholic is 1-1 in 2017. The Irish won at Baylor last week, 56-24. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy is 2-0 this year. The Chargers won at Jonesboro, 35-7, last week.


ON THE SIDELINE – Steve Matthews is in his fifth year at the helm of the Irish. He also serves as Catholic’s offensive coordinator. Matthews came to Catholic from Seigel High School in Murfreesboro, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2010-2012. He was head coach at Moore County in 2008 and 2009 and posted a 10-11 record. He also served as QB/WR coach at Tullahoma, his high school alma mater, from 2004-2007. His overall record is 51-24, and his record at Catholic is 41-13. The Irish have reached the TSSAA Playoffs in each of Matthews’ seasons at Catholic. His playoff record is 10-3, and his 2015 squad won the TSSAA Class 4A state championship. Matthews played collegiately at Tennessee and Memphis. He played professionally with the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Oilers.


SEASON SCHEDULES – Here are 2017 schedules for both teams:

Catholic (1-1)                                                 Eagle’s Landing Christian (2-0)

8/18     @Maryville     L, 42-49                      8/18     Eagle’s Landing          W, 21-14
8/25     @Baylor          W, 56-24                     8/24     @Jonesboro                W, 35-7

9/1       Eagle’s Landing Christian (Ga.)      9/1       @Catholic

9/8       @Cleveland                                        9/8       @Hart County

9/15     @Soddy-Daisy                                   9/15     @Holy Innocents

9/22     Brentwood Academy                         9/22     Open Date

9/28     Rhea County                                       9/29     Wesleyan

10/6     West Greene                                       10/6     Our Lady of Mercy

10/13   @Walker Valley                                 10/13   Open Date

10/20   Open Date                                           10/20   Strong Rock

10/27   Lenoir City                                          10/27   @Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

11/3     Landmark


REGION 4-5A STANDINGS – Here’s a look at the 2017 Region 4-5A standings:


Soddy-Daisy               0-0                   2-0

Catholic                      0-0                   1-1

Lenoir City                  0-0                   1-1

Rhea County               0-0                   0-2

Walker Valley             0-0                   0-2


Last week’s results

Catholic 56, @Baylor 24

@ Loudon 52, Lenoir City 20

Blackman 52, @Rhea County 21

Soddy-Daisy 49, @East Hamilton 14

Bradley Central 52, @Walker Valley 7


Friday’s games

Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy @ Catholic

Soddy-Daisy @ Lenoir City

Rhea County @ Walker Valley


ASSOCIATED PRESS CLASS 5A POLL – Catholic is ranked first in this week’s

Associated Press Class 5A poll with 156 overall points and 13 first-place votes. The remainder of the Top 10 includes: 2. Fulton (2/132); 3. Hillsboro (1/131); 4. Beech (126); 5. Page (95); 6. Oak Ridge (86); 7. Daniel Boone (452); 8. Central (28); 9. Columbia (24); 10. Rhea County (22).


GEORGIA RANKINGS – Eagle’s Landing Christian is ranked first in this week’s Georgia Class A (private) poll. The remainder of the Top 10 includes: 2. Prince Avenue Christian; 3. Wesleyan; 4. Mount Paran Christian; 5. Darlington; 6. Tattnall Square; 7. Calvary Day; 8. Fellowship Christian; 9. Athens Academy; 10. Stratford Academy.


WEEK TWO – Catholic evened its record at 1-1 with its 56-24 win at Baylor. Paxton Robertson put the Irish on the board first with his 30-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive. A five-yard run from Joshua Brown late in the opening stanza gave the Irish a 10-0 lead. Two consecutive Baylor touchdowns gave the Red Raiders a 14-10 lead with 9:28 remaining in the second quarter, but the Irish erupted for four touchdowns before halftime. A 26-yard pass from Jack Sompayrac to Dashon Bussell gave the Irish the lead again, 17-14. A 10-yard run from Brown upped the margin to 24-14, and a 43-yard Cameron Blakely interception return moved the score to 31-14. Brown’s third touchdown of the half, a four-yard run, had Catholic ahead at halftime, 38-14. A 20-yard Robertson field goal moved the lead to 41-14 before a Baylor field goal made the score 41-17. A second Sompayrac touchdown pass, an 18-yarder to Adam Jones, provided the Irish with a 49-17 lead after three quarters. Following a Baylor touchdown, Ray Thompson ended the night’s scoring with his 15-yard fourth-quarter run. Brown led the Irish rushing effort with 178 yards on 24 carries. Sompayrac added 60 yards on (cont’d) 11 totes. Jones was the top target, grabbing six balls for 91 yards.  Bussell had five receptions for 86 yards. The Irish piled up 525 yards in total offense on the evening. DJ Mitchell led the Irish defense with eight tackles and two interceptions. Xavier Story also added eight stops. Blakely also had two interceptions, including his 43-yard scoring pick. The Irish collected six turnovers, including fumble recoveries by Thompson and Joe Fluker.


WEEK ONE – Catholic opened the 2017 campaign with a 49-42 loss at Maryville. Joshua Brown, who rushed for 120 yards on the evening, put the Irish on the scoreboard first with his two-yard run. A 64-yard dash from Dashon Bussell gave the Irish a 14-0 lead after one quarter. After Maryville posted its’ first touchdown, Cade Mays capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with his two-yard run. Two Maryville scores tied the game at 21-21, but Jack Sompayrac connected with Bussell on a 57-yard scoring pass just before halftime to give the Irish a 28-21 lead at the break. Maryville scored first in the third quarter, but a missed extra point left Catholic ahead, 28-27. Brown’s second rushing touchdown of the evening, this a 16-yarder, put the Irish ahead, 35-27. Two Rebel scores gave Maryville its first lead of the evening with less than five minutes remaining. Catholic quickly tied the game as Bussell, who had 147 yards on four carries, raced 67 yards to paydirt. Maryville scored its game-winning touchdown with 1:29 remaining in the contest, and a last second Sompayrac pass attempt into the Maryville end zone was batted down. Sompayrac was 16-of-20 passing for 225 yards on the evening. In addition to his rushing exploits, Bussell had five receptions for 91 yards. Catholic had 543 yards in total offense on the evening. Jake Mahoney led the Irish defense with 13 tackles. Jack Jancek had a dozen stops, while Joe Fluker (11) and Cody Duncan (10) both had double-digit tackle efforts.


RACK ‘EM UP – Catholic has won 110 of its last 142 regular-season games.


REGION FOES – Catholic participates in Region 4-5A. Region foes for the Irish include Lenoir City, Rhea County, Soddy-Daisy, and Walker Valley.


TEAM STATS – Catholic averages 534.0 yards per-game in total offense, including 310.5 yards on the ground and 223.5 yards through the air. Defensively, Catholic allows 404.5 yards per-game, including 229.5 yards on the ground and 175.0 yards through the air. Catholic averages 49.0 points per-game. Opponents average 36.5 points per-game.


INDIVIDUAL LEADERS – Here are Catholic’s leaders in various individual categories:

Rushing: Joshua Brown – 41 att., 298 yds., 5 TD

Passing: Jack Sompayrac – 32-41-1, 447 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Dashon Bussell – 10 rec., 177 yds., 2 TD

Scoring: Joshua Brown – 30 pts (5 TD’s)

Tackles: Jack Jancek, Jake Mahoney – 16

Tackles for loss: Cody Duncan – 3

Sacks: Joshua Brown – 1

Interceptions: Cameron Blakely, DJ Mitchell — 2




1- Dashon Bussell (WR/DB, 6-3, 180, Sr.): 6 att, 26 yds, 5 rec, 86 yds, TD (26), 1 tackle vs. Baylor…4 att, 147 yds, 2 TD (64, 67), 5 rec, 91 yds, 1 TD (57) vs. Maryville…


3 – Jack Jancek (QB/DB, 6-3, 185, So.): 4 tackles vs. Baylor…12 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Maryville…


4 – Jake Mahoney (RB/LB, 5-11, 215, Sr.): 3 tackles vs. Baylor…13 tackles vs. Maryville…


7 – Stiles Moore (TE/DL, 6-3, 220, So.): 6 tackles, 2 TFL vs. Baylor…9 tackles vs. Maryville…


8 – Cameron Blakely (WR/DB, 6-4, 205, Sr.): 2 rec, 25 yds, 2 INT (43-yd TD) vs. Baylor…4 rec, 57 yds, 9 tackles vs. Maryville…


10 – Jack Sompayrac (QB/DB, 6-2, 200, Sr.): 11 att, 60 yds, 16-21-1, 222 yds, 2 TD (26, 18) vs. Baylor…12 att, 46 yds, 16-20-0, 225 yds, 1 TD (57) vs. Maryville…


22 – Joe Fluker (RB/LB, 5-9, 225, Sr.): 4 tackles, 1 FR vs. Baylor…1 att, 2 yds, 11 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Maryville…


24 – DJ Mitchell (RB/DB, 5-8, 185, SR): 3 rec, 20 yds, 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT vs. Baylor…4 att, 28 yds, 1 rec, 12 yds, 7 tackles vs. Maryville…


30 – Cody Duncan (RB/LB, 6-1, 200, So.): 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Baylor…10 tackles, 2 TFL vs. Maryville…


31 – Joshua Brown (RB/LB, 6-3, 220, Sr.): 24 att, 178 yds, 3 TD (5, 10, 4), 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Baylor…17 att, 120 yds, 2 TD (2, 16), 2 rec, 28 yds, 6 tackles, 1 sack vs. Maryville…


45 – Paxton Robertson (K, 5-10, 200, So.): 6/6 XP, 2/2 FG (30, 20) vs. Baylor…6/6 XP vs. Maryville…


100-YARD RUSHERS – Catholic has had three 100-yard rushing efforts in 2017. Here’s a look:

PLAYER                   OPPONENT              ATT-YDS-TD

Dashon Bussell           Maryville                     4-147-2

Joshua Brown             Maryville                     17-120-2

Joshua Brown             Baylor                         24-178-3



225-YARDS PASSING – Jack Sompayrac has one 225-yard passing games this season. Here’s a look:


Maryville                     16-20-0, 225 yds, 1 TD


DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLES – Catholic has had four double-digit tackle effort this season. Here’s a look:

Player                         Opponent                   Tackles

Jake Mahoney             Maryville                     13

Jack Jancek                 Maryville                     12

Joe Fluker                    Maryville                     11

Cody Duncan              Maryville                     10


MAKE IT QUICK – Catholic’s offense has had two scoring drives lasting less than one minute this season. Both of those scoring drives were of the one-play variety.


TURNOVER MARGIN – Catholic is plus-five in turnover margin in 2017. The Irish have thrown one interception and have lost one fumble. Opponents have thrown four interceptions and have lost three fumbles.


THE LAST GO ‘ROUND – Catholic’s 2017 roster includes 12 seniors. Included are Dashon Bussell (WR/DB), Jake Mahoney (RB/LB), Tre Brown (WR/LB), Cameron Blakely (WR/DB), Jack Sompayrac (QB/DB), Joe Fluker (RB/LB), DJ Mitchell (WR/DB), Joshua Brown (RB/LB), Jim Branch (C/DL), Cade Mays (OT/DE), LB Liverman (OL/DL), and Ian Sauter (K).


ON THE STAFF – Serving as assistant coaches for the Irish are: Les Greer (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers), Justin Anderson (Offensive Line), Sam Brown (Running Backs), Drew Franklin (Wide Receivers), Kevin Lane (Defensive Line), Daniel Hood (Outside Linebackers), Kris White (Defensive Backs),  and J.D. Gambil (Offensive Line assistant).


ON THE RADIO – Tonight’s game is being broadcast on WNML, The Sports Animal (99.1 FM). John Wilkerson handles play-by-play, while former Catholic quarterback and 1999 Mr. Football winner Rob Demastus adds commentary.


UP NEXT – Catholic travels to Cleveland next Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Pre-Game notes by Jeff Patton