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Catholic Capitalizes

Heritage coach Tim Hammontree checks on an injured Mountaineer after the game. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Knoxville – Heritage fumbled on the first play of the game. Catholic fumbled the second half kickoff.

Jesse Huff races to the end zone on an 80-yard touchdown catch on Friday.

The Irish got points. The Mountaineers fumbled the ball back.

The two exchanges defined the contest in a 40-7 Catholic victory Friday night.

Catholic recovered a Heritage fumble at the Mountaineer 11-yard line on the game’s first play. The Mountaineer defense stiffened, Jake Malone pressuring Irish quarterback Tanner Sharp into an errant throw on third down.

The Irish took a 3-0 lead with a field goal with the game less than two minutes.

Heritage erased the deficit on the first play of the ensuing series. Jake Olvey hit Jesse Huff in stride down the right side, the rangy Mountaineer receiver slipping a tackle downfield to deposit an 80-yard touchdown in the Catholic end zone.

Je'Rell Bledsoe enters the Catholic secondary.

“It was a double post,” Olvey said. “They had a deep safety. I looked him off and he bit on it.”

“It was one of those plays we’ve been working on in practice and we thought it would be wide open,” Huff said. “Jake threw me a great pass.”

The Irish erased the 7-3 deficit to lead 24-7 at the half.

Heritage had been a lot closer than the score through two quarters. Olvey marched the Mountaineers to first-and-10 at the Irish 26 with timely passing and hard runs from Schuyler LaRue, Je’Rell and Orlando Bledsoe. On fourth-and-11, Olvey’s pass was intercepted.

“I was just visualizing 17-14 on the scoreboard, and I shouldn’t have done that,” Heritage coach Tim Hammontree quipped. “We should have just kept playing.”

Giving the Mountaineers a chance to get even closer, Jose Hernandez recovered Catholic’s fumble of the second half kickoff at the Irish 19-yard line.

On second-and-goal at the 7, the Mountaineers fumbled the ball back to the Irish.

Orlanda Bledsoe fights off the Irish.

The Irish powered to their halftime advantage with a ball-control ground game that produced over 200 yards rushing. Logan Lacey, 5 and 30 yards, and Nolan Coulter, 7 yards, accounted for the Catholic touchdowns.

Olvey was 7-of-11 passing for 116 yards with the scoring toss to Huff through two quarters. Heritage twice penetrated the Catholic 40-yard line in the opening half, a drive reaching first-and-10 at the Irish 26 ending with Olvey intercepted.

Heritage missed tackles helped fuel a 300-yard rushing night for Catholic, but the Mountaineer defense had its moments.

Huff, Zac Castleman and Nate Prince make the stop.

The Irish went for it on fourth-and-6 at the Heritage 41 late in the opening quarter. Eric Wilson got the stop to kill the Catholic threat. Defensive back Dylan Harris had blocks on an Irish field goal attempt and point after.

“I was just upset and went after the ball and took my frustrations out on it,” Harris said.

Learning to put the big plays together, Hernandez said, could make all the difference.

“I love this school, this culture and this is where I grew up,” he said.






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