Irish defense dominant in jamboree

Irish defense dominant in jamboree

August 17th, 2014 by Kelley Smiddie and David Uchiyama in Sports - Preps

Notre Dame's Josh Russell breaks through the Brainerd defense for a long gain Saturday night in the Best of Preps high school football jamboree at Finley Stadium.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

Notre Dame's defense Saturday looked like it picked up right where it left off last year.

The Fighting Irish defeated Brainerd 7-0 in the second of six 20-minute continuous-clock periods on the second night of the Best of Preps city high school football jamboree.

East Ridge, Walker Valley, Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy were also winners Saturday, and East Hamilton and Central played to a scoreless tie.

Ricky Ballard and Anthony Flemister each had an interception for Notre Dame. The Panthers' best play against the Irish was a 2-yard run.

"The defense played great," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said. "We may have held them to minus yards. Defense was our strong suit last year. We're trying to do some things on offense to match our defense from last year."

Notre Dame had the first possession and drove the ball into Brainerd territory before fumbling it away.

The Irish scored after taking advantage of a 7-yard punt that gave them the ball at the Panthers' 23. On the second play, quarterback Nicholas Coronis threw to Kareem Orr for a 22-yard touchdown.

"If we don't fumble," Fant said, "we may have put one more in."

Fant praised the job done by Coronas filling in for Alex Darras, who is out with a broken ankle. Fant said the Irish hope to have their starter back in time for their first District 7-AA game.

* East Ridge 7, Grace Academy 0: The Pioneers scored on the first possession in the opening period on quarterback JoJo Tillery's 1-yard run. He had a 60-yard run on fourth-and-1 the play before the touchdown.

Grace quarterback Jared Thompson was 4-of-10 passing, including a 34-yard completion to Jared Roberts on its first possession and a 20-yard hookup to James Rowell on its second. The Golden Eagles got as close as the Pioneers' 21 in the closing seconds, but Thompson's last two passes fell incomplete.

Andrew Mapp had a 6-yard sack for East Ridge.

* Walker Valley 14, Hixson 0: The Mustangs showed they can maintain a drive and also score with one big play. Walker Valley opened with a 10-play drive in which each gained at least 2 yards. Hunter Newport capped it with with a 3-yard flip from quarterback Josh Jones.

Sophomore Cooper Martin took a quick pass, spun out of a tackle and accelerated for an 84-yard touchdown on the Mustangs' second possession. Hixson quarterback Preston Wilkey rushed five times for 33 yards, including a 28-yarder around the left side.

* Central 0, East Hamilton 0: Central earned five first downs in its three possessions, but the Hurricanes ran only six offensive plays and punted twice.

"We got some basic work done," East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood said. "We got something on film. We saw real quick that we've got some work to do."

Central senior Jamal Metcal ended East Hamilton's first possession with a 10-yard sack. The Purple Pounders ran 21 plays and gained 59 yards with Tareq Faleh completing three passes for 17.

"I was pleased with the defense," Gatewood said. "We ran to the ball. They were getting after it. They were physical, which is what you've got to be to play this game."

* Ooltewah 7, Rhea County 0: The Owls forced two turnovers, including a leaping interception by junior Rashaun Freeman. They also stripped Noel Patterson after he took a screen pass 40 yards.

The Ooltewah offense moved 48 yards in four plays - all passes by London Elrod - on its scoring drive. He connected with Anthony Turner for a 26-yard gain and Edward Montgomery for a 5-yard touchdown.

The Eagles gained 76 yards on their 14 plays, including a 21-yard run by Jake York.

* Soddy-Daisy 7, Franklin County 0: The Trojans had the ball first and marched 70 yards for a touchdown in 12 plays. The last was a 1-yard pass from Hunter Maynor to Blake Smith on a slant route.

Franklin County threatened twice afterward. Christian Bell halted the Rebels' first possession with a fumble recovery at Soddy-Daisy's 17. Cale Morgan's fumble recovery on the Trojans' 14 in the waning seconds sealed the victory.

Contact Kelley Smiddie at or 423-757-6653. Follow him at

Contact David Uchiyama at or 423-757-6484. Follow him at