Knoxville Catholic, a private school loaded with Division I college talent, struck early, hard, and often in a 48-17 whipping of Science Hill in high school football Friday night.
The Fighting Irish, which will play Brentwood Academy on Thursday in a nationally televised game, improved to 3-2. Science Hill slipped to 2-4 on the season.
The Hilltoppers will travel to face Knox Farragut next Friday as they try to stay in first place in Region 1-6A.
“This was a non-conference game and we do have to put it behind us,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “The one good thing is Malik (Bowman) is running so good right now, and we will have Chris (Thomas) back, too. That way we have another linebacker because Malik was probably playing our best defense until we had to run him like we did tonight. Hopefully we will have (cornerback and receiver) Josh Santiago back, and some other guys we missed tonight.”
Bowman carried 22 times for 108 yards against the Irish. He also added three catches for 69 yards.
For Science Hill fans who are also die-hard University of Tennessee fans, the evening wasn’t a complete loss. Catholic quarterback Kaden Martin showed off a nice deep ball. He is the son of former UT quarterback Tee Martin, who led the Volunteers to the national championship in 1998.
In his first start of the season, Kaden Martin hit three beautifully thrown bombs for first-half touchdowns. In less than two quarters of action, he was 7 of 10 for 231 yards. Martin finished the game 8 of 13 for 241 yards.
The first scoring strike came in the first quarter with Catholic leading 7-3. Martin hit Karaaz Johnson from 46 yards out to make it 14-3. His next strike was a 60-yarder to 6-foot-8 Akeem Odusipe.
In the second quarter, Martin hit Jack Jancek from 48 yards out to make it 28-6. The Irish took a 35-6 lead into halftime.
KICKING BRIGHT SPOT
The Hilltoppers made three field goals, including a very impressive 48-yard boot by backup kicker Connor Rutledge in the fourth quarter. That ties a school record set by Scott Carnes in 1984.
Kade Hensley hit on field goal attempts of 34 and 36 yards.
“I’m pleased with both of those guys,” said Carter. “Those are two good players. Unfortunately they’re on the same team. But the good thing is it’s a competition every day, and both of those kids are better because they’re doing this. I think both of them will kick on the next level.”
SCIENCE HILL LEADERS
Quarterback Connor Batchelder hit on 16 of 30 for 190 yards. He was picked off twice, including a 30-yard pick-six by Catholic’s J.T. Quinones.
Braden Anderson scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, and Andrew Kanady made an acrobatic catch in the end zone for the 2-point conversion. Anderson added three receptions for 57 yards.