Category Archives: General School News

JPII opens season with 42-0 win over Whites Creek

ANDY TELLI, Hendersonville Standard

Coming off their most successful season in a decade, the Pope John Paul II Knights got their 2017 season off to a quick start with a 42-0 road win over Whites Creek on Friday.

“A win is always a positive thing,” JPII Coach Justin Geisinger said. “Putting a one in the win column was our first goal.”

Senior running back Nolan Underhill led JPII’s offense, scoring four touchdowns — including three on the ground and one on a reception — to go with his 23 carries and 186 yards rushing.

Underhill credited the JPII offensive line, which is anchored by the only two returning starters on offense (tackles Jake Motz and Ed Agholor) with his success.

“They were really opening up the holes for me,” Underhill said. “You can’t ask for more than that.”

“We ran the ball very well at times,” Geisinger added. “The offensive line played well. They’re our most experienced group. We’re going to rely on those guys all year.”

JPII rushed for 357 yards total and passed for another 84. But the offense also looked sloppy at times, losing two fumbles and having several bad snaps, according to Geisinger.

“We’ll have to correct that,” he said. “If you do things like that against teams in our region, it’s going to be difficult to win.”

JPII has set a higher standard in recent years and the players understand the challenges they face.

“They know the expectations of this program,” Geisinger added.

A stout effort from the Knights’ defense kept the Cobras out of the end zone and limited them to only two first downs all game.

“Defensively, we had a great showing tonight,” Geisinger stated. “Guys were doing their job. This team is more disciplined than what we’ve had before. The guys are young but it’s all 11 guys working together. That’s what’s great about football.”

After forcing Whites Creek to punt on the first possession of the game, the Knights took over on their own 36-yard line and quickly marched down the field – scoring their first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run by Underhill with 6:19 to go in the first.

JPII forced another punt, taking over its own 38.

The 11-play drive, highlighted by a 19-yard run from junior quarterback Ben Nixon and an 11-yard pass reception by sophomore Rory White, was capped off by a 7-yard touchdown run by senior Theo Onaghinor.

With 7:07 left in the second quarter, JPII scored on a 10-yard run by Underhill to cap a 9-play, 78-yard drive. Onaghinor gained 52 yards on five carries during the drive, and finished the game with 109 yards on 13 carries.

In the third, JPII’s first two drives were stopped by fumbles. But with 1:55 left in the quarter, they scored on a 22-yard run by Underhill. He scored again — his fourth of the night — on a 16-yard screen pass from Nixon with 7:20 left. Holding a 35-0 lead, the running clock started.

“We were moving the ball really well at times,” Motz said. “We were getting after it.”

“We’re up for the challenge. We’ve got a lot of great guys ready to step up.”

“We have a lot of people hungry for action on the varsity level,” Underhill added.

JPII will host Lipscomb Academy next Friday. Lipscomb has made the move to Division II this year, but is playing in Class AA, while JPII is in Class AAA.

“That’s going to be a dog fight,” Geinsinger said. “Defensively, we’ve got to be very sound. Offensively, we’ve got to clean up our sloppiness.”

“We have to play with a lot more intensity,” Underhill added. “We’re obviously going to stick to the game plan.”

International Students Arrive at JPII

On Tuesday, August 8th, the JPII Admissions Office with the help of the JPII Ambassadors hosted our returning and new international students on campus for a welcome dinner.  This year, we have three returning and three new students from China. Returning are Mandy HUA (12th), Canace LI (11th), and Waylon JIN (11th). New students are Hao YI (9th), Darren LIU (9th), and Rita FAN (10th). All six students applied to JPII through the Cambridge Institute of International Education.  

JPII is also excited to welcome five students from Germany this year. New students are Tom Lintemeier (12th), Jasper Gorschlueter (12th), Luise Spitzer (12th), Florian Echelmeyer (12th), and Leander Kohley (12th).  All five students applied to JPII through CYE Germany.  

A special thank you to all of the JPII host families who volunteered to provide a home for our international students!


JPII Welcomes New Faculty

JPII is excited to welcome 10 new faculty members this year!

Pope John Paul II High School started the 2017-18 academic year on Monday, Aug. 7. PHOTO: Andy Telli



From left to right: Mike Zimmerman (Theology), Sam Hutton (Science, Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach), Bryan Melcher (History and Theology, YIG Advisor), Hadley Judson (History, Head Swim Coach), Cassidy Johnson (Visual Art/Photography), Emma Gillcrist (Math, Head Competition Cheerleading Coach), Jim Elfers (Spanish), Matt Hanson (English, Assistant Football and Lacrosse Coach), Matt Clemens (Math, Assistant Football and Basketball Coach), and Chip Boles (Visual Art).

First Day Excitement!

Senior Class 2018

JPII welcomed 559 students on Monday, August 7th for the first day of school. That number includes a record number of 167 freshmen. There was plenty of excitement around campus all day as students caught up with friends, met teachers, and checked out the added seating areas around the school. This year our class sizes are: 167 freshman, 122 sophomore, 136 juniors, and 134 seniors. With such a large freshman class this year, we anticipate the same for 2018, so families are encouraged apply now. WELCOME BACK KNIGHTS!

PHOTOS: Andy Telli

Pope John Paul II High School started the 2017-18 academic year on Monday, Aug. 7. Seniors Heidi Uhl, Saydi Arms, Lille McWatt, Alyssa Smithson, Caitlyn Brinkley and Ryan Duffin are ready for their final year of high school.


Back to School Night, 8/10

The Academic Office will host a Back to School Night for parents on Thursday, 8/10. Check-in will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the commons area and refreshments will be served in the dining hall. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium. Parents will receive their student’s class schedule and will rotate through classes to meet their student’s teachers. This is a great opportunity for parents to experience a day in the life of JPII.

**Because the event is expected to end at 8:30 p.m., we will start school late on Friday, 8/11 at 9:00 a.m. Contact Sherree DiMenno with questions, Students and siblings are welcome to attend, but the program is designed for parents. 

A Knight of Song Under the Stars – TICKETS ON SALE

Third time is a charm they say and we couldn’t agree more as we announce an amazing star-studded line-up for our third annual event! Enjoy an evening under the stars with some of the music industry’s top-notch songwriters. You’ll be swaying to the music and humming along because chances are you will know every song!


We welcome back emcee and singer/songwriter Randy Albright! We’re pleased beyond measure to announce this year’s all-star line up: Frank Myers, Jimmy Nichols (keyboardist), Eddy Raven, and Danny Wells.

Plan to arrive at JPII around 6pm with a picnic in tow or enjoy a meal from one of the on-site savory food trucks! Bring a lawn chair or purchase a premium front row seat in the JPII courtyard. Gather your friends and settle in by 7pm (when the entertainment will begin) to enjoy a night you won’t soon forget! You are in for a real treat . . . this is a 21+ adult only event so bring your neighbors, friends and adult family members!


Rain or shine we will host this event! Should we experience inclimate weather, we will gather in the Commons.


Questions? Interested in sponsoring the event? Please call Michelle Barber ~ 615-772-1331. BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

3 named to TSWA All-State Baseball Team

Submitted by Zach Womble of Main Street Media TN

Three former Pope John Paul II High School baseball players have been named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State baseball team. Following a 27-win season and a berth in the Division II-AA state final four, outfielder Pace Dempsey, infielder Ben Brooks, and pitcher Mason Hickman earned all-state honors.

Two of the three will take their talents to the Division I ranks — Hickman will pitch for Vanderbilt and Brooks will play for Memphis University. Dempsey will continue his education at Mississippi State University where he will study architecture. Dempsey is still toying with the idea of walking on for the Bulldogs.

Pace Dempsey

Mason Hickman

Ben Brooks

Coaches help with the Joshua Dobbs NFL football camp

Head Football Coach Justin Geisinger and his coaching staff assisted with the administration of the Joshua Dobbs EMS Football Camp held in Nashville on June 24th. The camp was open to 200 players ages 6-16. In addition to their camp experience, players also received individual instruction from Dobbs. Dobbs was an All-SEC quarterback and offensive player for the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in May. In April, he was selected in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft as a quarterback for the Pittsburg Steelers.

Rucker commits to play baseball at UTK

Third baseman and shortstop, Jake Rucker is an outstanding athlete at JPII. During his junior year, Rucker batted .377 with an on base percentage of .454. He had 46 hits, 26 runs scored, 20 runs batted in, and two home runs. Main Street Media of Tennessee recently named Rucker to the All Sumner County second team.

Rucker, a rising senior, has received a number of offers from top programs including Xavier, Middle Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Murray State, Belmont, and Northern Kentucky. Rucker recently committed to continue his baseball career at UTK under the direction of new head coach, Tony Vitello. Vitello, considered as one of the top recruiters in college baseball, has had his eye on Rucker and recognizes him is one of the most talented players in the state. Vitello moved quickly to secure Rucker’s position on his team. Congratulations to Jake!

Visit the Gallatin News for more on the story. Visit UTK for more on Tony Vitello.