“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was epoch of incredulity…” Sounds like Dickens was an Admirals fan.
Friday night at Bill Clabo Field saw a pristine football facilty, with a new gate, fresh paint, new banners and posters, new and returning sponsors, and throngs of fans including Seniors in toga attire. The atmosphere was electric, for five minutes and 42 seconds. That’s all the time it took for the Oak Ridge Wildcats to score two touchdowns and to post a 0-14 lead over the home team. By the end of the first quarter of play, the Admirals trailed 0-21.
Farragut bobbled the opening kickoff and although they recovered it, they were starting inside their 10-yard line. On their first series, Admiral QB Bryan Phillips threw an interception on a difficult cross-field throw. Shortly thereafter, Matt Moore (RB), one of the state’s top 100 meter sprinters, scored on a four-yard rush. FHS failed to progress downfield on the next series and Jonathan King punted away. With the ball on their own 21-yard line, Moore turned a short screen pass into a 79-yard touchdown – dancing around several Farragut defenders then racing down the sideline. Rian Hall, a versatile run/pass threat at QB, added a third touchdown on a 14-yard run-dive into the end zone.
Late in the first quarter, Farragut started to move the ball, behind the O-line: Mason Taylor, Brett Dockery, Nate Gilliam, Justin Mowery and Andrew Saah, with first downs from tailback Josh Gbendah and receiver Jake Bruce. With 9:45 remaining in the second period, the Ads stopped Oak Ridge with a goal-line interception by Taylor Hunt. Then, as half-time approached, the Ads got a fourth down stop when Javi Rodriguez knocked down a Hall pass over the middle. From their own 19-yard line, Phillips passed the Ads downfield, including a nice 42-yard gainer to tight end Billy Williams and an 18-yard toss to Thomas Barnett. On fourth down, long-snaper Mowery hiked the ball to holder Franklin Stooksbuy as kicker Jonathan King got the Ads on the board with a 24-yard field goal. Next, the defense, led by nitro C.T. Leavell, put the Wildcats into a third and 24 yards-to-go dilemma. Following an unsuccessful screen pass, Derrick Williams and Justin Brabson blocked the Oak Ridge punt giving the Admirals the ball at the 7-yard line. A palpable shift in momentum occurred when QB Bryan Phillips, following the lead block of Chris Farner, scampered into the end zone for a fourth-and-three touchdown with just 36 seconds to go in the half: FHS 10, OR 21.
The Farragut coaches and players regrouped during the half-time break and re-entered the stadium with new energy, focus and purpose. By the end of the third quarter, the Ads had reeled off 24 unanswered points. The defense, with pressure from its linebacker corp including Nick Henningsen, Ryan Glintenkamp, Javi Rodriguez and Mitch White, were spectacluar as they put relentless pressure on the OR offense, forcing Hall to hurry his pass attempts and corraling Moore in the backfield for lost yardage.
The Ads offense found its rhythm, as the O-line surged, Fain broke through on several 9-yard gains, Phillips found receiver Thomas Barnett for first down yardage, and Christian Jetton broke loose for a 29-yard pass play to the Wildcat 1-yard line. Phillips did not let Rian Hall hog the ground-game-glory as he scored on a one-yard QB keeper. FHS 17, OR 21. Then, with only 26-seconds remaining in the third quarter, Phillips boot-legged the football for a 36-yard touchdown. FHS 24, OR 21.
Farragut briefly enjoyed its lead in the fourth quarter as OR began to move the ball again behind QB Hall’s running. Then, on the Admiral 22-yard line with 7:40 to play, Hall threw a TD on a rope to wideout Ethan Wheeler. But with new confidence, the Ads quickly responded by moving the ensuing kick-off down the field with pass completions to Jetton and Barnett. Then, with the ball on the OR 30-yard line, Fain bounced outside and raced past the OR secondary for an apparent touchdown that would reclaim the lead. However, a yellow flag on the 20-yard line and a holding penalty negated the score. Moments later, a Phillips to Williams pass at the 12-yard line fell into the hands of an OR defender. The Admirals defense held the Wildcat’s last offensive series, and gave our offense one more chance to score including a 16-yard air strike to Jake Bruce, but with less than 21 seconds to play, Wildcats defensive end Ethan Grumski had his last of four sacks, bringing down Phillips on a fourth-and-10 from the Oak Ridge 46.
The Oak Ridge win ends a six-game losing streak to the Admirals, dating back to the 2005 playoffs.
Following last week’s lopsided season-opening loss at Dobyns-Bennett, Admiral skipper Eddie Courtney said, “Our kids played much better tonight,” adding, “Phillips made some plays and grew up some tonight.” We are proud of our Farragut Admirals for showing fierce determination and significant improvement in Game Two of the 2012 campaign. District play begins next Saturday, September 1st as the Ads travel to play on the new field turf at Catholic High School.Tweet