Newsletter 9/20/16

Catholic quarterback Chase Cunningham looks to pass.

We said that it was going to be a good week in high school football.

And it did anything but disappoint.

The usually almighty Fulton Falcons were thrashed 69–42 by the Catholic Fighting Irish on Thursday night, televised for the whole world to see. Well, at least those of us that carry MyVLT.

Catholic produced ungodly offensive numbers, finishing the game with over 800 yards of total offense. 500 of those came from the arm of senior quarterback Chase Cunningham (5–10, 160 pounds), who also slung five touchdowns.

“He’s outstanding,” Catholic head coach Steve Matthews told the Knoxville Focus. “He practices well and is only continuing to get better.”

Fulton drops to 2–3 on the season, and is below the 0.500 mark for the first time since 2011.

Recap: Oak Ridge Wildcats (5–0) at Lenoir City Panthers (1–4)

Oak Ridge quarterback Johnny Stewart runs a play against Lenoir City.

Things did not go well for the Lenoir City Panthers Friday night.

A large part of that was due to the performance of Tee Higgins, who notched yet another outstanding game with three receiving touchdowns against the Panther defense. The Wildcats bested Lenoir City 45–8 for the easy road win.

“They had no answer to Tee,” Oak Ridge head coach Joe Gaddis told Oak Ridge Today.

While standout sophomore tailback Jordan Graham (5–6, 162 pounds) was held to just 27 yards rushing, the Wildcats were still able to find production in the ground game. Senior running back Caleb Jackson (5–11, 192 pounds) ran for two TD’s.

Oak Ridge junior quarterback Johnny Stewart (5–11, 195 pounds) finished with 201 passing yards along with the three scores to Higgins.

Lenoir City totaled 203 offensive yards, with 163 through the air and 60 on the ground.

The undefeated Wildcats will host Sevier County this week for their homecoming.

“We certainly control our own destiny,” Gaddis said.

Lenoir City will look to rebound Friday against Pigeon Forge.

Preview: Greenback Cherokees (5–0) at Kingston Yellowjackets (2–3)

Greenback’s Kayne Roberts runs the ball during the 2015 season.

The Greenback Cherokees are on a hot streak.

After being defeated 36–22 by the Loudon Redskins to open up the 2015 season, the team quickly found a winning edge and went undefeated the rest of the regular season, eventually making their way to the 1A state championship before losing to Nashville Christian. This year, the squad is 5–0, and will travel to Kingston Friday night to face the 2–3 Yellowjackets.

“We played some physical ballgames up until Kingston like an Oneida game, but Kingston brought it to us last year and we haven’t forgot that,” Greenback co-head coach Greg Ryan told the Loudon County News Herald. “Kingston, they’ve not been successful in the win-loss record this year as I’m sure they would like, but I think they’ve had several kids that have been out and they’ve got those kids back. We know we’re in for a dogfight next week. We’ve just got to go to work this week to get ready for them.”

The Cherokees are led by seniors Hunter Willis (no measurements available) and Kayne Roberts (no measurements available) at quarterback and running back, respectively.

Junior Brandon Plemens (6–2, 180 pounds) has taken the starting quarterback reins from three-year starter Paul Bolden at Kingston.

“Anytime you replace a three-year starter…it’s going to be extremely difficult,” Kingston head coach Brian Pankey said during the preseason. “Even though you’ve got a lot of experience around Brandon, he doesn’t really have that Friday night game experience. That’s something you just can’t implement except on Friday nights.”

Senior Maurice Lane (5–10, 190 pounds) is a player to watch. He’s a four-year starter at tailback for the Yellowjackets.

It should be an intriguing matchup at Kingston this Friday night. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The Friday Night Gridiron will provide live updates through our Twitter account @TheFNGridiron.

The Friday Night Gridiron Top-10 Poll

1. Maryville

2. Alcoa

3. Oak Ridge

4. Catholic

5. Farragut

6. Austin East

7. West

8. Webb

9. Bearden

10. CAK

The Friday Night Gridiron Top-10 Poll is a listing of the top ten teams in and near the Knoxville area, formulated from the opinions of the editorial staff of the Friday Night Gridiron. Email: fridaynightgridiron@gmail.com