Catholic moved to 10-0 on the season with a thrilling 14-8 come-from-behind victory over Silverdale.
It was an epic battle played at the OLPH campus located in East Ridge, TN. Storms lifted with just enough daylight left to play the game. A beautiful rainbow served as the backdrop for much of the hard-fought, physical contest. The first half was marked with great defensive plays and big hits more often associated with Friday night high school games. But this was no ordinary game. It was two quality teams having great seasons. Silverdale entered the contest with an 8-1 record. Catholic entered 9-0.
Catholic received the opening kick-off, but could only muster two first downs. Catholic’s Dallas Brown utilized a rugby punt that sailed 51 yards into the end-zone. Silverdale set up shop on its own 20-yard line. On Silverdale’s second play, quarterback Ian Johnson suffered a game-ending injury. Jarred Clift served admirably the rest of the evening.
Silverdale was forced to punt. On the punt the ball hit a Catholic player who was busy engaging in a block. Silverdale recovered, but could do little. Brendan Greene and Maverick Tucker each recorded tackles for loss. The game continued as a defensive slugfest the rest of the first half until Catholic started moving the ball. Catholic moved inside the Silverdale 10-yard line before the half ended on an incomplete pass.
The half concluded with a scoreless tie.
Silverdale took the opening possession of the second half and put together a sustained drive. The first score of the game was a 22-yard quarterback roll by Clift. Silverdale’s Logan Echols added the conversion moving the score to 8-0.
Catholic needed but four plays to score when quarterback Dallas Brown punched in a 12-yard run. Brown added the conversion on a QB sneak, knotting the game at 8-8.
Each team put together strong defensive stands on the ensuing series. Catholic was able to pin Silverdale on its own 9-yard line after a 47-yard punt by Brown. Silverdale picked up a couple of first downs, but was finally stopped and forced to punt back to Catholic.
Catholic took over on its own 40-yard line. Catholic’s Reeve Mullinax was able to pick up a key first down behind the blocking of Tucker Berry, Landon Cooling and Ben Bambrey. Catholic proceeded to move the ball downfield after several Brown carries. Brown scored the go-ahead touchdown with only 1:32 remaining in the game on a bruising 12-yard run, knocking several Silverdale players out of the way en route to the end zone. The conversion failed and the score stood 14-8 as darkness descended.
Silverdale returned the kick-off to mid field where Francisco Palacios made a potentially game saving tackle. Silverdale put together a furious drive. Catholic’s Alex Osbourne helped slow the drive with an 11- yard sack. Nonetheless, Silverdale kept moving the ball behind QB Clift.
The game appeared over when Osbourne intercepted an errant pass on the 6-yard line. However, pass interference was called and Silverdale had the ball on the 12 with 11 seconds left. The Silverdale QB dropped to pass when he was forced to roll right to elude a blitzing Brown, the QB went into the charging tandem of Brendan Greene and Maverick Tucker who recorded the game ending sack.
Final score, Catholic 14, Silverdale 8. A classic football game between two great teams. Reflections of the game will likely be forever seared into the memories of all who played.
After the game, Catholic Coach Billy Dearing was effusive with his praise letting the team know they were one game away from the first undefeated season since 1966.
“That was an extraordinary team effort against a great football team – – what an incredible game,” Coach Billy Dearing said. “Both teams should be proud.”
Coach Bucky Dearing reminded the team of the hard work it took to get to this point, and then gave the game ball to Dallas Brown who finished with 177 yards, two touchdowns and a two point conversion.
Silverdale’s season ends with an 8-2 record while Catholic takes on Dayton City of Rhea County in its season finale.
_ L. Scott