Pre-Game Notes: Catholic at Cleveland

CATHOLIC Irish (1-2)


CLEVELAND Blue Raiders (3-0)

                                                         September 8, 2017                                                       

Benny Monroe Stadium

7:30 p.m.



SETTING THE SCENE – Catholic plays its third road game of the season… tonight’s game is the first home game of the year for Cleveland… Catholic leads the series, 2-0…teams haven’t met since 2012…Catholic is ranked fourth in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A poll…Cleveland is ranked ninth in this week’s Associated Press Class 6A poll… Irish have posted four consecutive 10-win seasons…Irish have won 133 of their last 176 games…Brown leads Catholic’s rushing effort… Sompayrac has completed 68 percent of his passes … Bussell has been the top receiving target…Jancek leads the Irish in tackles…Blakely and Mitchell each have two interceptions…Robertson is perfect on both extra points (13-13) and field goals (3-3) this season…


THE RECORDS – Catholic is 1-2 in 2017. The Irish lost at home to Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (Ga.) last week, 55-10. Cleveland is 3-0 this year. The Blue Raiders won at William Blount, 45-7, 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 51-25, and his record at Catholic is 41-14. 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 (1-2)                                                 Cleveland (3-0)

8/18     @Maryville     L, 49-42                      8/18     @Rhea County           W, 21-14
8/25     @Baylor          W, 56-24                     8/25     @Bearden                   W, 28-23

9/1       ELCA             L, 55-10                      9/1       @William Blount        W, 45-7

9/8       @Cleveland                                       9/8       Catholic

9/15     @Soddy-Daisy                                   9/15     @Bradley Central

9/22     Brentwood Academy                         9/22     Walker Valley

9/28     Rhea County                                       9/29     Heritage

10/6     West Greene                                       10/6     Maryville

10/13   @Walker Valley                                 10/13   Open Date

10/20   Open Date                                           10/20   Ooltewah

10/27   Lenoir City                                          10/27   @McMinn County

SERIES VS. CLEVELAND – Catholic leads the series with Cleveland, 2-0. Here’s a look:

2011: @Catholic 37, Cleveland 21

2012: Catholic 41, @Cleveland 26


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


Lenoir City                  1-0                   2-1

Rhea County               1-0                   1-2

Catholic                      0-0                   1-2

Soddy-Daisy               0-1                   2-1

Walker Valley             0-1                   0-3


Last week’s results

Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (Ga.) 55, @Catholic 10

@Lenoir City 15, Soddy-Daisy 14

Rhea County 35, @Walker Valley 14


Friday’s games

Catholic @ Cleveland

CAK @ Lenoir City

McMinn County @ Rhea County

Walker Valley @ Stone Memorial



ASSOCIATED PRESS CLASS 5A POLL – Catholic is ranked fourth in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A poll. The Top 10 includes: 1. Beech (4/134) 2. Fulton (10/133); 3. Page (113); 4. Catholic (93); 5. Daniel Boone (81); 6. Oak Ridge (74); 7. Columbia (69); t8. Gallatin (1/38); t8. Hillsboro (38); 10. Rhea County (20).


ASSOCIATED PRESS CLASS 6A POLL – Cleveland is ranked ninth in this week’s Associated Press Class 6A poll. The Top 10 includes: 1. Oakland (11/144); 2. Blackman (2/134); 3. Maryville (109); 4. Whitehaven (2/104); 5. Science Hill (91); 6. Farragut (72); 7. Bradley Central (57); 8. Brentwood (49); 9. Cleveland (24); 10. Cane Ridge (17).


WEEK THREE – Catholic saw its record fall to 1-2 with its 55-10 loss at home to Eagle’s Landing (Ga.) Christian Academy. The Irish dented the scoreboard first as Paxton Robertson nailed a 33-yard field goal on the opening possession of the game. The field goal capped a 15-play, 52-yard drive by the Irish. Following an ELCA touchdown, Jake Mahoney put the Irish ahead, 10-7, with his two-yard run midway through the second quarter. That score was the culmination of a 17-play, 60-yard drive that took 7:13 off the clock. Unfortunately for the Irish, ELCA returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and proceeded to lengthen its lead. Ray Thompson led the Irish rushing effort with 33 yards on ten carries. Jack Sompayrac was 9-of-19 passing for 91 yards and added 25 yards on the ground. Cameron Blakely had three catches for 36 yards, while DJ Mitchell had three grabs for 30 yards. Blakely also had six (cont’d) tackles for the Irish, with Jack Jancek also posting a half-dozen stops. Mahoney added five tackles to go along with his touchdown run.


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 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 143 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 429.0 yards per-game in total offense, including 249.7 yards on the ground and 179.3 yards through the air. Defensively, Catholic allows 403.3 yards per-game, including 257.0 yards on the ground and 146.3 yards through the air. Catholic averages 36.0 points per-game. Opponents average 42.7 points per-game.


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

Rushing: Joshua Brown – 44 att., 310 yds., 5 TD

Passing: Jack Sompayrac – 41-60-2, 538 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Dashon Bussell – 12 rec., 193 yds., 2 TD

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

Tackles: Jack Jancek – 22

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, 15 yds, 2 rec, 16 yds vs. ELCA…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.): 6 tackles vs. ELCA…4 tackles vs. Baylor…12 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Maryville…


4 – Jake Mahoney (RB/LB, 5-11, 215, Sr.): 4 att, 13 yds, 1 TD (2), 1 rec, 9 yds, 5 tackles vs. ELCA…3 tackles vs. Baylor…13 tackles vs. Maryville…


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


8 – Cameron Blakely (WR/DB, 6-4, 205, Sr.): 3 rec, 36 yds, 6 tackles vs. ELCA…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.): 12 att, 25 yds, 9-19-1, 91 yds vs. ELCA…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 vs. ELCA…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): 2 att, 15 yds, 3 rec, 30 yds, 2 tackles vs. ELCA…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.): 3 tackles vs. ELCA…4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Baylor…10 tackles, 2 TFL vs. Maryville…


31 – Joshua Brown (RB/LB, 6-3, 220, Sr.): 3 att, 12 yds vs. ELCA…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.): 1/1 FG (33), 1/1 XP vs. ELCA…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-three in turnover margin in 2017. The Irish have thrown two interceptions and have lost two fumbles. 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 Soddy-Daisy next Friday for its first Region 4-5A contest of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Pre-Game Notes by Jeff Patton