published Saturday, September 7th, 2013

McCallie too much for Pope John Paul II

It took McCallie only two minutes to make a statement on the way to a 48-7 victory over Pope John Paul II at Spears Stadium.

After holding the Nashville team to a three-and-out on the opening possession, McCallie went ahead 1:59 into the game as Jeffery Coleman returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown. Coleman spun along the Blue Tornado sideline and broke three tackles.

Pope John Paul II's recurrent turnover problem kept the game in McCallie's hands. Four first-half fumbles led to four Blue Tornado touchdowns.

"Sometimes they fumble; sometimes they don't," Tornado coach Ralph Potter said. "But I'm glad they did because they were moving the ball on us."

Knights fullback Gunner Scholato fumbled merely feet from the Blue Tornado end zone early in the second quarter after the team drove 31 yards in three minutes. The last-chance fumbles kept the Blue Tornado rolling in the first half, accumulating 234 rushing yards before the break.

"Our line did an excellent job of blocking," running back Alex Trotter said. "They opened our zones up pretty good."

McCallie entered halftime up 41-0 for the second straight week.

A rolling clock kept the second half abbreviated, but Pope John Paul II was able to get on the board after a clock-draining 60-yard drive in the fourth quarter. Quer'Darius Hunter scampered through the line for the Knights on a third-and-goal play with 3:42 remaining.

JaVaughn Craig's transition into a mobile quarterback role for McCallie has been seamless. The sophomore went 6-for-6 in the first half for 81 yards and a passing touchdown, also picking up 78 yards and two scores with his feet.

"It's been a long process of listening to my coaches and doing what they tell me to do," Craig said. "We decided to come out and execute as well as we could."

In fact, the Blue Tornado are executing very well. The team averaged more than 9.58 yards per play Friday night in totaling 393 yards of offense.

The Knights' Gunnar Scholato put the ball on the ground three times but gained 82 yards on 11 rushes, as well as 30 yards catching.

McCallie's Matthew Brock left the game in the first quarter with a twisted ankle. He returned later but saw the rest of the game from the sideline in a walking boot.

"He rolled his ankle a little, but Matthew told me at halftime that he would be fine," Potter said.

McCallie (3-0) visits Siegel in Murfreesboro next Friday. After limiting their last two opponents to one score, the Blue Tornado expect the next matchup not to come so easily.

"Siegel has such a great offensive scheme, and such great offensive players, that's going to be a challenge for our defense, honestly," Potter said. "Offensively, we can move the ball, but defensively we're going to be challenged at all times."

Contact Jeff LaFave at jlafave@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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