Looking ahead, in different ways, at Knox Catholic

Kuerschen, volleyball star, signs with Penn State; young Irish footballers grab momentum for 2021

Looking ahead for a Knoxville Catholic Lady Irish star athlete means one thing.

Looking ahead for the KCHS football team means something totally different.

Kuerschen to Penn St.

Cassie Kuerschen, volleyball star libero, signed with NCAA power Penn State during a ceremony in All Saints Catholic Parish Thursday afternoon, Nov. 12 (see photo, left).

Strong football finish

Though the combination of a murderous schedule and lengthy COVID-19 season delays made 2020 especially trying for Steve Matthews’ KCHS football team, the youthful Irish ended the season strong against a stout defense.

Manhandling Ensworth 43-20 in KCHS’s Blaine Stadium Friday night, Nov. 6, to finish the season 5-4 overall, 2-3 in Division II-AAA East Region, “I was proud of the way our guys played,” Matthews said.

Despite its final record of 3-7, 0-5, “Ensworth has been the top defense in our region,” Matthews said. “They lost to McCallie (the week before playing Catholic) 10-0. And the week before that, they lost to Brentwood Academy (now 11-0 and a state playoff semifinalist) 16-7,” adding this team’s defensive talent included “Ohio State commits and all kinds of SEC offers.”

As a result, “I was concerned with how we were going to move the ball,” the KCHS coach said.

However, Irish quarterback Kaden Martin “probably had his best game, really since he’s been here, against a really good team,” Matthews said, leading Catholic to 527 total yards of offense.

The junior (13 of 22 passing for 261 yards and one interception) fired touchdown passes of 51 and 41 yards to junior Tommy Winton.

Martin also ran 14 yards for another score.

Keondre’ Jarmon, Irish junior running back, scored on runs of 16 and 35 yards (20 carries, 117 yards total).

Brock Taylor, Catholic kicker, booted field goals of 22 and 30 yards in addition to five extra points.

Elsewhere, “I think the defensive line stood out,” the coach said, pointing out sophomores Trevor Duncan and Daven Cozart among those who “played well” defensively.

Senior linebacker J.T. Quinones (13 total tackles, including a sack) and junior defensive back Javis Mynatt (10 total tackles) led Catholic in stops.

As for his 12 seniors, “Those guys are the building blocks of what’s coming in the future,” Matthews said.

“I’m proud of how they represented our program.”