FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: William Blount, Knox Central

When: Friday

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Knox Central (0-1) at William Blount (0-1)

Previous meeting: The Bobcats and Governors last met in 2004, Central prevailing in a 50-34 shootout.

Last week: Cullen Lavoi played to a debut to end all debuts last week. The Sevier County quarterback threw for five touchdown passes, four of them for greater than 30 yards, as the Bears jumped to an early big lead and held off a late William Blount charge for a 35-21 win. Ironically, it was the Governors who broke to the fast start. In his first start at quarterback after moving from receiver, senior Hunter Saunders lit the afterburners for a 46-gain on the game’s first series, reaching the end zone for a 7-0 lead a few plays later.

William Blount displayed a lot of versatility with Saunders connecting with running back Greg Cook and receiver Vinnie Hasenstaub for touchdown passes in the second half. You have to wonder how the Governors would have fared if a first-half, 11-play drive hadn’t stalled at the Sevier County 5 just before the break.

Central led Catholic, 14-0, midway through the third before surrendering the advantage in a 21-14 loss. Irish running back Nolan Coulter poured it on the Bulldogs for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. His final score, a 2-yard run with just over a minute remaining, proved the difference.

Keep an eye on: If Cook stays hot, William Blount is so very dangerous. It’s not that he’s all the Governors have, but forcing opponents to focus much of their energies to stopping him makes players like Hasenstaub, Cunningham and rest absolutely lethal. Saunders is still the key, though, and the Governors have to protect him. Coulter had 44 yards at halftime a week ago. On defense, his interception with 24 seconds left sealed the deal.

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