Pre-Game Notes: Catholic vs. Rhea Co.

RHEA COUNTY Eagles (3-3/2-0)


CATHOLIC Irish (3-3/1-0)

September 28, 2017

Blaine Stadium/Hollin Field

7 p.m.


SETTING THE SCENE – Catholic returns to Region 4-5A action…tonight’s game is the Rivalry Thursday contest…Catholic leads the series, 2-0…teams haven’t met since 2010…Catholic is ranked in a tie for sixth in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A poll… Catholic’s three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 14-1…Irish average 34 points per game…Catholic has six players with at least 130 rushing yards…Sompayrac approaching 1,200 passing yards…Bussell has 25 receptions, including six touchdown grabs…Jancek leads the Irish in tackles with 46…Blakely, Mitchell lead in interceptions with three… Robertson is perfect on extra points (26-26) this season…Catholic is plus-five in turnover margin…


THE RECORDS – Catholic is 3-3 in 2017, including a 1-0 mark in Region 4-5A. The Irish lost at home to Brentwood Academy last week, 50-14. Rhea County is 3-3 this year, including a 2-0 record in Region 4-5A. The Eagles lost at Bradley Central, 21-7, 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 53-26, and his record at Catholic is 43-15. 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 (3-3/1-0) Rhea County (3-3/2-0)

8/18 @Maryville L, 49-42 8/18 Cleveland L, 14-21
8/25 @Baylor W, 56-24 8/25 Blackman L, 52-21

9/1 ELCA L, 55-10 9/1 @Walker Valley* W, 35-14

9/8 @Cleveland W, 33-7 9/8 McMinn County W, 21-20

9/15 @Soddy-Daisy* W, 49-48 9/15 Lenoir City* W, 21-14

9/22 Brentwood Academy L, 50-14 9/22 @Bradley Central L 21-7

9/28 Rhea County* 9/28 @Catholic*

10/6 West Greene 10/6 @Marion County

10/13 @Walker Valley* 10/13 Soddy-Daisy*

10/20 Open Date 10/20 Open Date

10/27 Lenoir City* 10/27 @Cane Ridge

SERIES VS. RHEA COUNTY – Catholic leads the series with Rhea County, 2-0. Here’s a look:
2009: Catholic 28, @Rhea County 6

2010: @Catholic 48, Rhea County 15


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


Rhea County 2-0 3-3

Catholic 1-0 3-3

Lenoir City 1-1 3-3

Walker Valley 0-1 0-5

Soddy-Daisy 0-2 4-2


Last week’s results

Brentwood Academy 50, @Catholic 14

@Powell 42, Lenoir City 22

@Bradley Central 21, Rhea County 7

@Soddy-Daisy 42, Ooltewah 21

@Cleveland 67, Walker Valley 47


Thursday’s game

Rhea County @ Catholic


Friday’s game

Walker Valley @ Lenoir City

Open Date — Soddy-Daisy


ASSOCIATED PRESS CLASS 5A POLL – Catholic is ranked in a tie for sixth in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A poll. The Top 10 includes: 1. Beech (17/170) 2. Columbia (135); 3. Summit (128); 4. Fulton (114); 5. Gallatin (92); t6. Catholic (57); t6. Munford (57); 8. Page (56); 9. Daniel Boone (26); 10. Southwind (23).


TOUGH OPPONENTS – Catholic’s three losses this season have come to teams with a combined 14-1 record. Maryville is 4-1, while Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and Brentwood Academy are both 5-0.


WEEK SIX – Catholic saw its record drop to 3-3 with its 50-14 home loss to Brentwood Academy. Brentwood Academy took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Irish evened the score at 7-7 when Jack Sompayrac connected with Cameron Blakely on an eight-yard scoring pass later in the period. The Eagles proceeded to score 27 consecutive points to open a 34-7 advantage. A ten-yard run from Joe Fluker brought the Irish to within 34-14, but Brentwood Academy added 16 more points to account for the final margin. Sompayrac was 12-of-21 passing for 112 yards, with Blakely grabbing five balls for 53 yards. Dashon Bussell had three receptions for 42 yards. Fluker led the rushing attack with 38 yards on eight carries. Fluker and Blakely also led the Irish defense with nine tackles each. LB Liverman had eight tackles, while (cont’d)

Cody Duncan, Jack Jancek, and Jake Mahoney all had seven stops. Stiles Moore added five tackles and a fumble recovery,  


WEEK FIVE – Catholic improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 4-5A with its 49-48 win at Soddy-Daisy. After spotting the Trojans a 21-0 lead after one quarter, the Irish exploded for 42 second-quarter points. A 58-yard pass from Jack Sompayrac to Dashon Bussell put the Irish on the scoreboard, but Soddy-Daisy regained its three-touchdown advantage on the ensuing possession and led, 28-7. The Irish then scored three touchdowns in the span of 2:50. Xavier Story returned an interception 38 yards to cut the deficit to 28-14. A 27-yard pass from Sompayrac to Bussell brought the Irish to within seven, and a 52-yard scoring pass from Sompayrac to DJ Mitchell pulled the Irish even at 28-28. Sompayrac’s fourth touchdown pass of the quarter, a 14-yard strike to Cameron Blakey, gave Catholic its first lead of the game, 35-28, with 1:40 remaining before halftime. A 65-yard punt return from Mitchell with 25 seconds remaining gave the Irish a 42-28 halftime advantage. After Soddy-Daisy cut the margin to 42-35, the Irish went back ahead by two touchdowns on the ensuing possession on a one-yard blast from Joe Fluker. Soddy-Daisy posted two touchdowns to trim the margin two 49-48, but a missed extra-point following the final score proved to be the difference. Sompayrac was 15-of-29 passing for a season-high 279 yards. Bussell had five receptions for 116 yards and two scores. Both Mitchell and Blakely had three grabs and a touchdown each. Fluker led the rushing effort with 89 yards on 13 carries. Fluker and Jack Jancek paced the Irish defense with nine tackles each, while Stiles Moore had eight stops. In addition to his offense and special team efforts, Mitchell had six tackles and an interception. Story had five tackles and a caused fumble to go along with his pick-six. LB Liverman had five tackles and a fumble recovery for the Irish.


WEEK FOUR – Catholic evened its record at 2-2 with its 33-7 win at Cleveland. The Irish posted a 2-0 lead late in the first quarter when a Blue Raider running back was tackled in the end zone for a safety. A 26-yard field goal from Paxton Robertson moved the Irish ahead, 5-0, early in the second stanza. The lead was short-lived, however, as Cleveland scored on a long touchdown run on the ensuing possession. The Blue Raider advantage would last just 1:45, as Jack Sompayrac passed 20 yards to Dashon Bussell to give Catholic a 12-7 lead. Catholic’s defense once again got in on the scoring, as Jack Jancek returned an interception 48 yards to paydirt to give the Irish a 19-7 advantage. A second Sompayrac-to-Bussell connection, this a 35-yarder, upped the halftime margin to 26-7. A one-yard run from Joe Fluker late in the third quarter capped the scoring.  Sompayrac was 15-of-27 passing for a season-high 249 yards. Bussell had five grabs for a season-high 110 yards and two scores. Cameron Blakely also had five receptions totaling 69 yards. DJ Mitchell led the Irish rushing attack with 55 yards on eight carries and also added a 49-yard pass reception. The Irish defense had a stellar outing, posting season lows for first downs allowed (9), rushing yards allowed (144), passing yards allowed (57), and total offense allowed (201). The Catholic defense also posted season highs for tackles-for-loss (ten) and sacks (six). Stiles Moore led the way with 13 tackles, including three TFL’s and two sacks. Jake Mahoney added ten stops, including 2 TFL’s. In addition to his interception, Jancek had eight tackles, including one TFL. Cody Duncan also posted eight tackles and one TFL. Ray Thompson had seven (cont’d)

stops, while Cade Mays had six tackles, including two sacks and a TFL. Christopher Torres had six tackles, including one TFL and one sack. Both Mays and Torres had caused fumbles, as well.


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 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 (cont’d) 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 112 of its last 146 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 387.0 yards per-game in total offense, including 190.7 yards on the ground and 196.3 yards through the air. Defensively, Catholic allows 366.3 yards per-game, including 213.8 yards on the ground and 152.5 yards through the air. Catholic averages 34.0 points per-game. Opponents average 38.8 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 – 83-137-4, 1,178 yds., 10 TD

Receiving: Dashon Bussell – 25 rec., 461 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: Dashon Bussell – 48 pts (8 TD’s)

Tackles: Jack Jancek – 46     

Tackles for loss: Stiles Moore – 7

Sacks: Cade Mays, Stiles Moore – 2

Interceptions: Cameron Blakely, DJ Mitchell — 3




1- Dashon Bussell (WR/DB, 6-3, 180, Sr.): 1 att, 17 yds, 3 rec, 42 yds, 4 tackles vs. Brentwood Academy…5 att, 21 yds, 5 rec, 116 yds, 2 TD (58, 27) vs. Soddy-Daisy…2 att, 4 yds, 5 rec, 110 yds, 2 TD (20, 35) vs. Cleveland…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.): 7 tackles vs. Brentwood Academy…9 tackles vs. Soddy-Daisy…8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT (48/TD) vs. Cleveland…6 tackles vs. ELCA…4 tackles vs. Baylor…12 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Maryville…


4 – Jake Mahoney (RB/LB, 5-11, 215, Sr.): 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Brentwood Academy…DNP vs. Soddy-Daisy…2 att, 10 yds, 2 rec, 11 yds, 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Cleveland…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.): 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FR vs. Brentwood Academy…8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU vs. Soddy-Daisy…13 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks vs. Cleveland…3 tackles vs. ELCA…6 tackles, 2 TFL vs. Baylor…9 tackles vs. Maryville…


8 – Cameron Blakely (WR/DB, 6-4, 205, Sr.): 5 rec, 53 yds, 1 TD (8), 9 tackles vs. Brentwood Academy…3 rec, 34 yds, 1 TD (14), 1 tackle vs. Soddy-Daisy…5 rec, 69 yds, 5 tackles, 1 INT vs. Cleveland…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.): 8 att, 5 yds, 12-21-2, 112 yds, 1 TD (8) vs. Brentwood Academy…7 att, 20 yds, 15-29-0, 279 yds, 4 TD (58, 27, 52, 14) vs. Soddy-Daisy…3 att, 5 yds, 15-27-0, 249 yds, 2 TD (20, 35) vs. Cleveland…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.): 8 att, 38 yds, 1 TD (10), 1 rec, 8 yds, 9 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Brentwood Academy…13 att, 89 yds, 1 TD (1), 9 tackles vs. Soddy-Daisy…3 att, 10 yds, TD (1), 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PBU vs. Cleveland…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): 3 att, 8 yds, 1 rec, 4 yds, 2 tackles vs. Brentwood Academy…3 att, 28 yds, 3 rec, 79 yds, 1 TD (52), 1 PR, 65 yds (TD), 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT vs. Soddy-Daisy…8 att, 55 yds, 1 rec, 49 yds, 1 tackle, 1 PBU vs. Cleveland…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.): 7 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Brentwood Academy… 5 tackles vs. Soddy-Daisy…8 tackles, 1 TFL vs. Cleveland…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.): DNP vs. Brentwood Academy, Soddy-Daisy, Cleveland…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.): 2/2 XP vs. Brentwood Academy…7/7 XP vs. Soddy-Daisy…4/4 XP, 1/2 FG (26, 21) vs Cleveland…1/1 XP , 1/1 FG (33) 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:


Dashon Bussell Maryville 4-147-2

Joshua Brown Maryville 17-120-2

Joshua Brown Baylor 24-178-3


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


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

Cleveland 15-27-0, 249 yds, 2 TD

Soddy-Daisy 15-29-0, 279 yds, 4 TD


100-YARDS RECEIVING – Catholic has had two 100-yard receiving game this season. Here’s a look:

Dashon Bussell Cleveland 5-110-2

Dason Bussell Soddy-Daisy 5-116-2


DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLES – Catholic has had six 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

Stiles Moore Cleveland 13

Jake Mahoney Cleveland 10


MAKE IT QUICK – Catholic’s offense has had four scoring drives lasting less than one minute this season.  Three 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 four interceptions and have lost four fumbles. Opponents have thrown eight interceptions and have lost five 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/Inside Linebackers), Justin Anderson (Offensive Line), Sam Brown (Running Backs), Drew Franklin (Wide Receivers), Kevin Lane (Defensive Line), Geraud Hall (Outside Linebackers), Kris White (Defensive Backs), Daniel Hood (Special Teams), and J.D. Gambil (Offensive Line assistant).


ON TV – Tonight’s game is this week’s Rivalry Thursday contest and is being broadcast on MyVLT-TV. Mark Packer calls the action, with Austin Price adding color. Sara Mitchell serves as the sideline reporter.


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 plays host to West Greene next Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7;30 p.m., at Blaine Stadium/Hollin Field.

Written by “The General” Jeff Patton