HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — McCallie got off to a fast start and beat Pope John Paul II 42-14 in Division II-AA football Friday night.
Several miscues and shaky execution on offense made for some missed scoring opportunities, but McCallie (4-3, 3-2) got three touchdown runs from Chad Toliver, while quarterback Nelson Johnston threw a TD pass and ran for a score.
"All year we've been getting better," McCallie coach Ralph Potter said. "We just didn't play very well. We weren't always in the right places as we should be, and that was a little disappointing."
The Blue Tornado turned it over five times in the game, but the Knights (3-5, 1-3) converted only one of those into points, a 21-yard fumble return TD by Hunter Apple.
"We're concerned about our execution," Potter said. "We just have to get back in our groove."
McCallie scored just 29 seconds into the game after returning the opening kickoff to the JPII 31. Toliver scored two plays later on a 1-yard plunge to make it 7-0.
The Tornado added a second TD on a Julian Nunally 76-yard fumble return before the Knights were able to answer with a touchdown of their own on a Jacob Jarreau to Brad Jarreau 38-yard TD pass.
"We made some mistakes early, but we didn't fold after that," JPII coach Jerry Joslin said. "I'm proud of our guys for that."
Toliver had his two other scoring runs in the first half, and Johnston threw a TD pass to Spencer Morgan covering 28 yards to make the halftime score 35-7.
JPII was never able to establish itself offensively, thanks in large part to the McCallie defense that was stifling against the run. The Knights were held to 127 yards on the ground for the game.
Johnston's 5-yard TD run in the third quarter capped off the scoring for McCallie, and JPII added the touchdown on the fumble return by Apple early in the fourth quarter.
Up next for the Blue Tornado is another trip to Middle Tennessee to face Montgomery Bell Academy next week.