Irish give Pemberton rude greeting with 49-24 victory

KNOXVILLE -— An efficient offensive attack spelled victory for the Knoxville Catholic High School football team Thursday, Sept. 29.

The Irish scored on their first seven possessions en route to a 49-24 Region 4-5A victory over Rhea County and former Irish head coach Mark Pemberton before a near-capacity crowd at Blaine Stadium.

Catholic [4-3 overall, 2-0 in the region], took the opening kickoff and went 57 yards in four plays to score.

Senior quarterback Jack Sompayrac connected with DaShon Bussell on a 6-yard touchdown pass. Paxton Robertson would add several extra points.

The Irish took a 14-0 lead on Sompayrac’s 12-yard scamper late in the opening frame. “Last week was a wake-up call for us,” said Sompayrac, who had a hand in five of Catholic’s touchdowns. “We knew we weren’t where we needed to be. We came in really motivated.

“We really executed. We didn’t do anything crazy.”

“Our offense did really well tonight,” Catholic head coach Steve Matthews said. “... Jack did a really good job. He’s really starting to get a grasp on our offense.”

Sompayrac was KCHS’s leading rusher, amassing 112 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also completed 13 of his 16 pass attempts and compiled 234 yards and three scores through the air.

Rhea County [3-4, 2-1] had 300 yards of total offense, all on the ground.

KCHS went up 21-7 when Cam Blakely caught a 3-yard TD pass with 4:42 left in the first half.

Bussell scored on a 90-yard kickoff return.

Sompayrac scored on a 5-yard run and threw another TD pass to Blakely midway through the third quarter to make it 42-17.

Ray Thompson scored his first TD of the year to extend the lead to 49-17 late in the third frame.