published Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Banks leads Irish past Grundy County

By David Lowrie

COALMONT, Tenn. — Much like last year's season-ending game between these two football programs, Notre Dame's Irish were just too much for Grundy County as they took 41-0 District 7-AA win Friday night.

The Irish are locked into second place in the district and likely will host an opening-round game next week. Grundy will await this morning's TSSAA seedings to see if they drew a wild-card spot.

"It was a hard-fought game," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said. "We knew they were going to put a lot of pressure on us. They kept trying to blitz from the outside, but Auston Banks did a wonderful job running the ball. Our play-action pass game worked really well. Our fullbacks had two touchdowns catching the ball out of the backfield. When we can do those things, it's pretty big."

Banks ran 12 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Alex Darras had a big night as well, completing five of 16 passes for 105 yards and two scores.

Notre Dame scored once in the first quarter on a 3-yard Banks run. Darras threw his two touchdown passes in the second quarter and kicked all four extra points. The Irish also got a Jared Andrews 36-yard interception return, and they led 28-0 at the break.

Banks broke loose for a 61-yard run early in the third quarter. A bad snap prevented the extra point that would have put the game in the mercy rule at that point. Banks sent it to the running clock with a 75-yard run at 7:22 of the third, and Darras added the kick to make the score 41-0.

Grundy only threatened in the red zone twice during the night. The first was killed by a fumble in the first half, and the second was ended by an interception in the fourth quarter.

The Irish are likely a three seed next week and should host the first-round game.

"That's what we play for," Fant said. "We were hoping after we lost to Signal Mountain, we knew if we just finished off by playing strong we would have a chance to host. We'll go wherever we need to go to play."

If included, Grundy County will likely be an eight seed and play at top seed Upperman next Friday. Michael Nolan led Grundy in rushing with 11 carries for 90 yards.

Contact David Lowrie at sports@timesfreepress.com

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