KNOXVILLE — Knoxville Catholic didn’t skip a beat when its sophomore defensive back, and back-up quarterback, decided to go “Dan Marino” on the Campbell County Cougars’ defense.
Sophomore Jack Jancek, forced into the starting quarterback role with senior star Jack Sompayrac nursing an injured right shoulder, led a fireworks display of second-quarter big-play touchdowns in this Class 5A opening round playoff game.
The Region 4-5A top-seeded Irish [8-3], behind three long Jancek touchdown strikes, won going away 59-21 at KCHS’s Blaine Stadium Friday night, Nov. 3. Campbell County, No. 4 seed from Region 3-5A, ends its season 7-4.
“He did a real nice job for us. He’s got a really strong arm, and we were able to get behind them a couple of times,” Irish head coach Steve Matthews said about Jancek. “The first time as a starter, he was calm and relaxed.”
Tied 7-7 after one quarter thanks to a Joe Fluker 1-yard TD run, set up by D.J. Mitchell’s 39-yard punt return, Jancek then went wild with big throws.
He hooked up with Mitchell on a 61-yard TD toss. That came after Dashon Bussell’s 58-yard touchdown run, which preceded Bussell’s 46-yard leaping touchdown catch from the sophomore quarterback.
Jancek then hit Cameron Blakely for a 63-yard scoring strike with 2:12 left in the first half, making it 35-7.
Bussell capped off the explosive scoring quarter by returning a Cougars kickoff 79 yards — on the last play of the first half.
Paxton Robertson, Irish sophomore placekicker, set a state record in this game for most consecutive extra points during a season without a miss .
A pair of defensive touchdowns accounted for the KCHS second-half scoring: Joshua Brown from 14 yards out and Blakely’s pick-and-score from 44 yards.
“We played really well in all three aspects [offense, defense and special teams],” Matthews said. “Hopefully that’ll continue this week.”
About Sompayrac’s status for Catholic’s second-round showdown versus rival Fulton [9-2, No. 2 seed from 3-5A], Matthews said Monday, Nov. 6, “Right now he’s questionable. ... Right now it’s probably unlikely.”
Opening kickoff for the Irish versus Falcons is 7 p.m., this Friday, Nov. 10, in Blaine Stadium.
About whether or not to play up the “rivalry” aspect of this game, Matthews said Monday, “I’m going back and forth on that.”