Game time: Friday, December 2nd – 8:00pm EST
Location: Tucker Stadium(TN Tech)
Last meeting – This is first meeting
- 2016 Records: Independence 14-0 Farragut 13-1
- The Admirals and the Eagles will meet for the first time this week in the 2016 Class 5A Blue Cross Bowl.
- Independence is a relatively new school, opening in 2004.
- This will mark the first time the Admirals have played in a state championship game, having lost the previous three semifinal contests in 1978, 1981, and 1995.
- Independence is riding a 29-game winning streak, dating back to last year when the Eagles won the Class 5A state championship.
Road to the Blue Cross Bowl
Farragut defeated Mcminn Co. (40-21), Rhea Co. (33-30), Ooltewah (56-49), and South Doyle (45-14).
Independence defeated Gallatin (35-0), Hillsboro (42-20), Cane Ridge (49-46), and Brentwood (27-24).
- Coach: Eddie Courtney (151-90, 21st season)
- Offense: Spread Option
- Defense: 3-4
- Farragut returns 10 starters from last season, 5 on offense and 5 on defense.
- Key Players: First-year starting quarterback Adam Fulton (Sr., 6-2, 212) is completing 55% of his passes for 2,933 yards, 38 TDs and 5 INTs in 2016. Cooper Hardin (Sr., 6-1, 223) and Amon Johnson (Sr., 5-11, 190) lead a committee of running backs, who have combined for 30 TDs on the season. Joe Doyle (Sr., 6-0, 195) might be the area’s best kicker/punter, averaging 40.7 yards per punt, while converting 66/68 on PATs and 7/12 on FG attempts with a long of 49. WR/DB Braden Collins (Jr., 6-0, 185) is set for a breakout season at WR along with Jaden Gibbs (So., 6-2, 175). The duo has combined for 90 receptions for 1,665 yards and 19 TDs thus far in 2016. Isaiah Gibbs (So., 5-9, 155) is a promising running back averaging 9.6 yards per carry. Two-way lineman Chance Bolen (Sr., 6-1, 232) will fill voids on both lines of scrimmage.
- Coach: Scott Blade (44-9, fourth season; 116-29 overall)
- Offense: Spread
- Defense: 4-4
- The Eagles return 11 starters, 4 on offense and 7 on defense.
- Outlook: The Eagles’ multiple spread offense was the perfect way to utilize their talent last season. Senior quarterback Brandon Hines will step in as the head signal caller this season. Hines (112 pass yds in 2015), who played in four games last year, will try to fill the void of the output departing Andrew Bunch in 2015, which included passing for 3,405 yards and 41 touchdowns in just 11 games. A receiving crew including Montray Steele, Owen Murphy, Harold Arana, Kendrell Scurry and T.J. Sheffield will try to make up for the loss of Indy’s top five pass-catchers from a season ago, most notably Nate Johnson, who caught 87 passes for 1,713 yards and 27 touchdowns. Junior Troy Henderson is expected to be the main guy in the backfield. While the skill positions may have new faces in them this season for the Eagles, their offensive line has experience returning in seniors Michael Weathers, Isaiah Demello and Austin Copps. Though their offense got a lot of the publicity a season ago, it can be argued the Eagles’ 4-4 slant defense was just as important of a factor to their undefeated run. Indy lost Chris Beavers (15 sacks in 2015; Bethel) and Jordan Pope from their defensive line, but returning this season are a host of key pieces that made the group successful in 2015. Headlining the group is Mississippi State commit Landon Guidry, a safety who racked up 80 tackles last season. Cornerback Cole Huner (team-high 7 ints), Steele and Alan Watson will join Guidry in the secondary. Senior linebacker Hunter Dupree (team-high 118 tackles, 5 ints, 4 FR, 1 FF) headlines the linebacking corps, while senior defensive end David Demke (75 tkls, 10 sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (72 tkls, 4 sacks) are returning starters up front.