Tanner Thomas wanted to score five touchdowns Friday night against Bearden.
“Getting five is all he talked about all week,” Farragut coach Eddie Courtney said.
Thomas didn’t get five — he got six, as host Farragut beat Bearden 54-37 in the battle of West Knoxville.
“I wanted five, mainly, because I don’t like Bearden — I wanted to win so bad,” he said.
For a half, it didn’t look as if Thomas would have a big night. Bearden’s defense, led by linebacker Griffin Delong, kept him under 25 yards. Farragut relied on quarterback Jacob Naumoff’s consistent midrange passing game to build a 17-7 lead late in the first half. Bearden thwarted a drive when safety Jordan Ferguson intercepted the ball deep in Bearden territory. The Bulldogs hoped to go to the locker room with that score, but Courtney did some fancy clockwork by calling back-to-back time outs, forcing Bearden into punt formation from its 13-yard line with nine seconds to play. The snap sailed through the end zone for a safety and a 19-7 halftime score.
Bearden threatened to make it close when it cut Farragut’s lead to 19-14 on a 48-yard pass from Cameron Jones to senior wide receiver Matthew Marlow with 5:40 left in the third quarter.
Farragut drove 60 yards on the ensuing possession for a 26-14 lead. The drive included Thomas’ signature run of the night, a 34-yard pinball imitation that included a key block from senior offensive tackle and Wake Forest commit Nate Gilliam and several broken tackles. That got Farragut to the 8, and Thomas scored three plays later.
Tyler Lugo’s second sack of the night thwarted Bearden’s next possession, then Naumoff threw to a wide open Justin Kirkendall for 54 yards and a 33-14 lead with 1:35 left in the third quarter.
Thomas finished with 123 yards on 27 carries. A halftime adjustment was key, explained Gilliam.
“What changed mainly was me getting on a linebacker instead of a down lineman, just getting on DeLong,” Gilliam said. “They were shutting down our run game in the first half.”
Bearden scored 37 points, a breakout figure for a team that had scored 53 points over its first seven games. Quarterbacks Jones and Evan White combined for 270 yards passing.
“The light came on for us offensively tonight,” Bearden coach Morgan Shinlever said. “We played a full four quarters and we were able to stay in the game tonight, so I’m proud of our team.”
The deeper satisfaction belongs to Farragut.
“This rivalry win means everything,” Gilliam said. “This was my last game on Bill Clabo Field. This is how I want to be remembered and how I wanted to go out.”
Victor Lee is a freelance contributor.
As always, be sure to checkout CRfoto.com for pictures from the game.
You can also watch a replay at: http://new.livestream.com/fhsfootballboosters/events/3301804
|FARRAGUT TEAM STATS vs Bearden|
|Field Goal Atts||2||0|
|Plays/Avg Yards||59- 6.1||68- 5.2|
|Rush Avg||30- 4.1||34- 3.5|
|Total First Downs||18||18|
|Third Down Conv||8 of 13||6 of 18|
|Fourth Down Conv||1 of 1||4 of 5|
|Fumbles Lost [Lost-#]||0-0||1-1|
|Punt Returns||2- 4|
|Kick Returns||5- 172|
|Total Returns||7- 176|
|OFFENSIVE STATS vs Bearden|
|PLAYER||RUSH ATTS||RUSH YDS||RUSH TDS||PASS COMP||PASS ATTS||PASS YDS||PASS TDS||INTS||PASS RECS||REC YDS||REC TDS||TOTAL YDS|
|DEFENSIVE STATS vs Bearden|
|PLAYER||SOLO TACKLES||ASSIST||MINUS YD||SACKS||TOTAL HITS||FUM FORCED||FUM REC||FUM RETURN||INT||INT RETURN||PBU||KICK RETURN|
|KICKING STATS vs Bearden|
|PLAYER||PUNTS||PUNT YDS||PUNT AVG||LONG||INSIDE 20||XP MADE||XP ATTS||FG MADE||FG ATTS||KICKOFFS||TOUCHBACKS|