EVENSVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville Catholic scored the most points, Bradley Central had the longest play and host Rhea County had the most time-consuming drive in the seven-team Southeast Kickoff Classic jamboree Friday.
Catholic, one of the early favorites to make the Class 5A state championship game, rolled past outmanned Stone Memorial, Bradley Central's starting offense got just one play but made it pay and Rhea spent 11 minutes on its opening — and scoring — drive in its final two quarters.
The jamboree was unique to the area in that each of the seven participating teams played two quarters with regulation clock stoppages (for penalties, first downs, change of possession) and semi-live special-teams play.
One team dropped out, so the host Eagles wound up competing in four quarters.
The predominant color, though, was yellow — as in officials' penalty flags for everything from offside on a kickoff to the regular gamut of holding, illegal motion, ineligible receivers and even a couple of unsportsmanlike conducts.
- Cleveland 23, Lenoir City 0: Blue Raiders quarterback Kellye Cawood was on his game, throwing for one touchdown and running for another. Cleveland, which opened action with three straight penalties, actually had two touchdowns called back because of a block in the back and a holding call.
"The quarterback looked pretty good and the defense was flying around," Cleveland coach Scott Cummings said. "Kellye played pretty well overall. He can spin it pretty well, but he's also got enough with his wheels to make some things happen with the triple-option stuff."
Cawood also had a pair of passes dropped, and he was Cleveland's leading rusher.
That said, though, the Blue Raiders showed they'll be an offensive force with speed at wide receiver and in the backfield. Too, their defensive front looked awfully quick.
"Overall, it was positive but, my goodness, we haven't had anywhere near the penalties we had tonight," Cummings said. "We've got some film to look at to correct things."
- Knoxville Catholic 28, Stone Memorial 0: Although its starters played just the opening series — which ended with a short TD pass from Jack Sompayrac to Adam Jones — Catholic registered the shutout and put up three more scores with second-, third- and fourth-teamers including freshmen.
Catholic, without question, had the largest offensive line, led by tackle Cade Mayes (6-6, 315), and the second and third units were as large as any other team here including Bradley Central, which is, to say the least, healthy.
Catholic's top running backs, Josh Brown and D.J. Mitchell, never backed away from contact and always seemed to be falling forward.
- Rhea County 14, McMinn County 0: McMinn came close to rivaling Rhea's ball-control offense, but the Eagles scored early on a 67-yard TD pass (to Christian Simon) from much-improved junior quarterback Zach Pemberton.
Kyle Carr had their second score on a 12-yard run.
- Bradley Central 13, Rhea County 6: The Bears' first team knew it was going to play no more than one series, and that series turned into one play when Dylan Standifer hooked up with Lameric Tucker on a 75-yard, quarter-opening TD.
The drive took only 43 seconds.
"We had some good and bad. That was the good," Bears coach Damon Floyd said. "We'd decided we would play the (starters) one series. They gave us a coverage that's a good matchup for Lameric, and when we get that we have to take that shot. Dylan did a good job of getting it off, Lameric did a good job of beating the coverage and the line gave Dylan good time to make the throw."
Rhea answered, although it was a reverse scenario. The Eagles managed to eat up the remaining 11 minutes on their scoring drive, capped by Simon's 3-yard run.
"I know Bradley is a good defense — well-coached and a lot of good athletes — so, yeah, that was a good answer back to their score," Rhea coach Mark Pemberton said.
"Defensively, we couldn't get off the field, and when we have third-and-long defensively we have to learn to get off the field," Floyd said.
The Bears' final score came on a 26-yard run by Trey Curry.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him on Twitter @ wardgossett.