Bulldogs tumbled by Knox Catholic


Photo by Dave Boyd
Hampton fullback Justin Waycaster breaks free from the Irish defense.

By Jamie Combs
SPORTS EDITOR
jcombs@starhq.com
Like trying to catch a cloud of mosquitos with a butterfly net, the Hampton Bulldogs had no success keeping a big-play Knox Catholic attack, led by junior Nick McFadden, under control on Friday night.
Gaining at least 30 yards on seven different occasions, the Fighting Irish charged to a 49-18 victory over the 'Dogs in Hampton's home opener.
"We didn't tackle," said Hampton senior Justin Waycaster. "We did a lot of stupid stuff. They only beat us on big plays. They didn't drive it down our throats -- they weren't overpowering. Big plays killed us."
Dropping the 'Dogs to 0-2, Catholic received a huge performance from McFadden, who accounted for five plays of 30 or more yards. He struck for three touchdowns -- all in the first half -- scoring on a 54-yard reception, a 66-yard punt return and a 69-yard run.
"I just came out and tried to do my best," said McFadden after finishing with 323 all-purpose yards.
Collecting three Irish touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving) of his own was Austin Sheridan, who contributed 170 all-purpose yards to a 602-yard Catholic output (453 in offense). Hitting 6-of-7 passes for 198 yards and two TDs, Dack Ishii also ran for a TD in helping the Irish improve to 2-0 on the season.
"They have a good ball club," Hampton coach J.C. Campbell said of the Irish. "They're sound. They do everything well. We don't do everything well. They've got more players, they're quicker, they're stronger -- just a good football club. We're not good enough to play with them, apparently."
On Catholic's first play from scrimmage, Sheridan set the tone for the game with a 33-yard scamper. Four plays later, he hit paydirt on a 10-yard run.
The next three Irish TDs were chalked up by McFadden, who first scored on an Ishii aerial, then, on the opening play of the second quarter, took a punt all the way to the end zone.
From there, Hampton, down 21-0, started to show some offensive life. Sparked by a 40-yard pass from Mitchell Morton to Eric Swain, the 'Dogs manufactured a nine-play, 89-yard drive that Waycaster polished off with a 2-yard TD plunge.
Seconds later, though, McFadden answered with his TD run. Catholic then quickly regained possession, and struck on a 30-yard scoring pass from Ishii to Sheridan.
"We do what we can," McFadden said of the Irish offense. "We read the defense and try to attack the weak points."
The only first-half possession in which the Irish didn't score was their last, and they were in Hampton territory as the clock expired.
"We've got people not doing their jobs," Campbell said. "They want to do something else, and we've got to get them all on one page."
Hampton did record another touchdown on the first-team Catholic defense, crossing the goal line on a slick 15-yard run by Morton with 21 seconds to go in the second quarter, making the score 35-12. Tailback Zack Crabtree keyed the drive, which lasted nine plays and covered 71 yards, with carries of 12, 11 and 12 yards.
"We made some good plays on their first string," said Campbell, "but we just couldn't make enough of them."
The Irish went for two TDs during the third quarter, with Ishii running to paydirt from 10 yards out and Sheridan scoring on a 1-yard run.
Hampton got a 2-yard TD run from Jacob Moss in the fourth period.
Friday night's win, coupled with last week's 27-0 shutout of Gatlinburg-Pittman, has the Irish off to a high-flying start in 2003.
"We've tried to get off to a good start," McFadden said. "We've got a pretty good football team. We lost a lot of players from last year, so we're trying to step it up and get some young ones in."
McFadden caught three passes for 127 yards, carried six times for 98 yards and made three returns for 98 yards. Sheridan (12 carries) gained 90 of his yards on the ground, caught two passes for 49 yards and totaled 31 yards on a pair of returns, while Daniel Sheridan went a perfect 7-of-7 on extra-point attempts.
A major bright spot for the 'Dogs was the powerful running of Waycaster, who carried 14 times for 90 yards at fullback.
"We moved the ball pretty well on the ground," Waycaster said of the 'Dogs, who ran for 192 of their 280 yards of offense.
Defensively for the 'Dogs, Dustin Crumley played a solid game at the end position, leading the team with seven tackles. Eddie Lance and Jonathan Potter had six stops apiece, and Donny Singleton recovered a fumble while forcing another.
According to Campbell, it's not too early for the 'Dogs to circle the wagons. Asked if his team is better than what it has shown to this point, the coach replied: "I don't know. I hope so. We've got some players who have got to get better or we've got to find people to put in their place. We're going to work and see what we can do."
Added Waycaster: "We need to tackle a whole lot better. Everybody just needs to step it up a notch."
Note
* Morton re-aggravated an ankle injury in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field.