Bucs fall short...
The Bucs gave a valiant effort last night on a rainy cool evening in Cookeville, TN but came up short to Knox Catholic 45-28. The Bucs were clearly outmanned by possibly the largest high school football team I have ever seen, particularly one who is competing in D1 TSSAA football. How they get away with that is another story for another day, but on Thursday night Knox Catholic took advantage of mistakes, missed calls and their own ability to win the 5A state title.
As for the Bucs, Nelson Smith completed 5-12 passes for 123 yards and 3 touch downs and Kaemon Dunlap carried 20 times for 109 yards. Dyilin Hoosier had 4 catches for 83 yards and 2 TD’s and Davis Ward scored our last TD with under a minute to play on a 40 yard catch and run.
Catholic jumped out to a 17-0 lead, aided by a pass interference call on the first set of downs after the Bucs had apparently caused a 3 and out. The Bucs then went on an 8 play 80 yard drive to score on a Smith to Hoosier 18 yard TD pass to cut the lead to 17-7 with 4:34 left in the half. Catholic promptly marched 72 yards to answer and go up 24-7. After the initial 3 and out which was nullified by penalty, the Bucs could not get off the field on third downs against the more talented Irish squad. With 1:42 left in the half went 80 yards in a minute and twenty-one seconds (pretty darn fast) and scored on a 33 yard pass from Smith to Hoosier to trim the halftime lead to 10 points.
The Bucs got the ball to open the third quarter and drove down the field on another 8 play 80 yard drive as Dunlap ran it in from 20 yards out to cut the lead to 24—21 and changed the complexion of the game totally. Fans and team were both very energized heading into the next kickoff. The Irish returned the kickoff 38 yards to midfield which in essence set the tone for the rest of the game. After an Aaron Fox sack and an incomplete pass, Beech had a 3rd and 16 and a chance to get off the field and for the offense to take the lead in the game…. it didn’t happen, the Irish connected on a 18 yard completion from Jack Sompayrac to Dashon Bussell for 18 yards and the rest was history.
Catholic finished off the drive with Sompayrac running it in from 9 yards out. There was a clip/block in the back at the 4 yard line that was missed by referee’s but was clearly their on TV viewing. The Irish very well may have scored anyway, but we’ll never know. Now 31-21, with 4 minutes left in the third, a personal foul on Catholic was enforced on the kickoff which was returned by Hoosier to the 27 yard line. Had the penalty been called on the clip, plus the personal foul on Catholic’s Adam Jones then there would have been 30 yards of penalties enforced and the likelihood of a TD was pretty much over. THIS WAS HUGE DIFFERENCE MAKER #1
After gaining a first down at the 39, Nelson Smith carried the ball and was clearly down on TV replay, but officials allowed a fumble after the play to stand and it was returned for a TD which essentially ended the Bucs opportunity to win the game. THIS WAS HUGE DIFFERENCE MAKER #2 Now at 38-21 the Bucs were behind the 8 ball in trying to catch up.
The Bucs next drive stalled and after a shanked punt the Irish took over on the Beech 41 yard line. 7 plays later Sompayrac scrambled in to increase the lead to 45-21.
With 4:18 left the Bucs did not quit, instead they marched down the field and Smith connected with Davis Ward on the final score of the night, a 40 yard TD pass down the right sideline to make the final score 45-28.
Looking back, the two HUGE DIFFERENCE MAKERS made a game that was very close turn into a blow out, which doesn’t reflect the game it was. Congrats to the 27 seniors and coaching staff for leading this team to an outstanding 14-1 record. Job WELL DONE