Photo by Rob Dougherty
September 16th, 2017 – in Sports – Preps
Knoxville Catholic bused the 100-plus miles Friday expecting if not a cakewalk then at least cookies and cream.
What the Fighting Irish got was a bruised ego, a bloody nose and perhaps a reality check.
And, by the skin of their teeth, a 49-48 region victory over Soddy-Daisy.
The Trojans had their chances and appeared to have taken the lead with 61 seconds left, but a fourth-down end-zone catch was ruled out of bounds and the visitiors ran out the clock.
Gavin Chambers, the host Trojans’ junior quarterback, had the best night of his career, completing 17 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Ty Boeck, also a defensive force as a linebacker, had his first 100-yard rushing night with 101 yards on 16 carries.
“We had been told that’s the cream of the crop, and we took it to the wire. A few mistakes by us in the second quarter, otherwise we take that game,” Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said. “We did a lot of bad things in the second quarter and let them back in the game, but I’m so proud of our kids. It was a roller coaster, but the kids knew we weren’t out of it.”
Soddy-Daisy actually forged a 21-0 lead through the first quarter before the Irish, taking advantage of some pivotal mistakes, scored 42 second-quarter points with three of those TDs coming on Jack Sompayrac-to-Deshon Bussell passes.
Sompayrac finished with a season-high 270 yards and Bussell had six catches for 127 yards. Between them, they also rushed for another 67 yards.
“We weren’t ready to play. I didn’t do a good job of getting them ready to play, and (Soddy-Daisy) came ready to play,” Catholic coach Steve Matthews said. “We were able to do just enough to get the win. We had some guys play great and other guys didn’t, but I knew we were overlooking these guys, and we were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
Down 28-7, the Irish cut the Trojans’ lead in half on Xavier Story’s 41-yard pick-six, and then their Adam Jones recovered an onside kick. Sompayrac, victimized by a half-dozen drops, and Bussell hooked up again, and then Sompayrac found D.J. Mitchell for a 52-yard score to tie the game. They went up on another Sompayrac-to-Bussell connection before Mitchell boosted the lead to 42-28 with a 73-yard punt return.
Soddy-Daisy was far from done and closed within a touchdown and PAT of tying the game with 3:13 to play on a 59-yard pass from Chambers to Hunter Burke.
The Trojans moved within a point on Burke’s final TD, a 26-yard pass to Blaylock, but the potential game-tying PAT sailed wide right, possibly tipped by a Catholic defender at the last moment.
It set the stage for the Trojans’ final fling, the pass to the end zone that was ruled out of bounds.