KNOXVILLE — Things came easily for the Knoxville Catholic High School football team in its 2019 season opener last week.
However, “We’re going to see the big boys soon and so we’re going to have to grow up and get better in a hurry,” head coach Steve Matthews said after his Irish notched a 48-0 victory over Chuckey-Doak Friday night, Aug. 23, in KCHS’s Blaine Stadium. “This was a good game for us to shake off the cobwebs.
“But we have some things that we need to clean up. We had a couple of penalties, we missed an extra point and we gave up a first down when I thought we had them stopped.”
On Catholic’s first play from scrimmage with great field position, senior quarterback Jack Jancek scampered 28 yards for a touchdown. Senior Paxton Robertson’s extra point gave the Irish a 7-0 lead with 9:35 remaining in the first quarter.
Jancek started and was effective, going 4-for-5 and amassing 54 yards through the air. He also rushed for 52 yards on two carries and a touchdown.
He left midway through the second quarter and was relieved by sophomore transfer Kaden Martin. The son of Tennessee assistant head coach Tee Martin, he made the most of his chance against Chuckey-Doak, completing two of three pass attempts for 36 yards.
Martin also rushed for a 20-yard TD to give the Irish a 34-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first half.
He was the second of three quarterbacks Matthews used in his squad’s season opener.
Caden Buckles, a sophomore who made spot starts as a freshman last season, entered the fray before halftime and scored on a 23-yard run just before the break to give Catholic a 41-0 lead.
He also closed the scoring with a 30-yard scamper midway through the third quarter, which was shortened to 10 minutes and played with a running clock.
“We don’t care who throws the passes or who scores,” said Buckles who for 45 yards and scored on both of his carries. “In the end, we’re all brothers.
“We all want to play and we all push each other and we pull for each other. But we all want to win.”
“We all want to play and we all work hard,” he said. “Jack brings the leadership and Caden does a great job, and I’m happy to be here. We beat a pretty good team tonight, and their quarterback was great
“We just want to win.”
“They all want to play, but they know that there’s only one ball to go around,” Matthews said. “They’re there for each other and they really push each other to get better.”
Catholic also got production from its running backs, as Nicklaus Iverson had a 42-yard touchdown run on his lone touch, and Keondre’ Jarmon had scoring runs of 24 and seven yards respectively.