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McCallie 38, Knoxville Catholic 7

KNOXVILLE _ Ever since the second quarter of the second game of the season, McCallie head football coach Ralph Potter has felt something was missing each time he looked out on the defense he oversees.

"Me," he said late Friday evening after the Blue Tornado's 38-7 road victory over Knoxville Catholic. "Ollie (Carter) is me. It's like having me out there (to run the defense). He's my security blanket."

At least Carter was until the senior safety suffered a knee injury in that 17-13 win over Woodward Academy at Finley Stadium in the season's second week.

Ever since then, he's been on the sideline, both for the entirety of the loss to Montgomery Bell Academy that ended the Blues' 18-game winning streak and last week's 62-27 drubbing of West Broward. And without him, Potter has been uncomfortable.

"I just feel better when Ollie's in the game," he said.

McCallie mired in a offensively-challenged slugfest against the Irish, Carter returned to the field just in time, albeit with a brace still supporting his left knee and a hint of tenderness in his gait, possibly because of the brace.

"I'm not 100 percent yet," he said after the Blue Tornado ran its record to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in league play heading into next weekend's bye week. "I'll probably have to wear the brace the rest of the season. But I'm fine."

He was certainly fine in the fourth quarter when he picked off a Catholic pass that soon led to game-deciding 21-0 run over the Irish.

Breaking to his left, Carter dove toward the ground at the Catholic 34 to intercept a pass just before it hit the turf. It didn't lead directly to a score. Nor did Jetty Miller's interception at the start of the third quarter. But Carter's pick thwarted yet another Irish offensive possession and helped McCallie continue an outstanding defensive effort that saw the Blues gain 325 more yards than the Irish (458 to 133), as well as return two Catholic fumbles for touchdowns just 59 seconds apart.

The first was by Etienne Delisle from 24 yards out after a hit by Jetty Miller. Carson Gentle ran the second score in from 10 yards away after a hit by Jay Williams.

Throw in an 11-yard touchdown run early by Ja'von McMahan (74 rushing yards), a third-quarter 9-yard TD run by Tario Price (122 rushing yards), a 76-yard strike from quarterback Jay St. Hilaire to Enrique Jaimes Leclair and a 26-yard field goal and five PATs from sophomore Elliott Arnold and you have the kind of momentum Potter hoped to own going into the bye week prior to the trip to archrival Baylor on September 30.

"This is a tough place to play," the coach said. "And it's nice to have the off week heading into the Baylor game. With them having a new coaching staff, we've got a lot to work on."

And now they've got Carter to help them.

"It's been hard to watch from the sideline," said the senior, who credits his mother, physical therapist Rachel Carter, with aiding his recovery. "I've tried to help everybody, but I think I can help more when I'm in the game."

Just ask his coach.

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