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Does Karns’ momentum from late '03 wins carry over vs. FHS?

Before building an up-and-coming program and 2003 giant-killer at Karns following its gigantic and shocking upset of state power Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett late last season, John Fulkerson said he helped create a monster force at Farragut.

Fulkerson, a former runningbacks coach at FHS in 2002 before taking over as Beavers’ head coach last season, jokingly said about Ads’ senior star tailback Michael Wright, “I wish I hadn’t done such a good job with him.

“Speed-wise it’s hard to compare anybody we’ve got to Michael Wright. Michael does a great job for ’em.”

As he looked ahead to Friday night’s KHS season-opener at home against the Admirals (kickoff at 7:30 p.m.), Fulkerson sounded almost intimidated at the thought of playing his former team.

Or was this gamesmanship?

In reviewing Farragut’s 28-12 win at Halls Saturday night (see related story on this page), “they looked awfully good, and I don’t know that we’re going to be able to handle ’em,” Fulkerson said. “I just hope that we can keep it respectable.”

Specifically, “they were very good coming off the ball blocking,” Fulkerson added about FHS. “They’re runningbacks ran the ball really hard. Frankly, it’s got me scared to death to have them come over here.”

And although the Farragut’s secondary is a huge concern for head coach Eddie Courtney with all the new and inexperienced faces, Fulkerson said he was impressed by the Admirals’ two interceptions against Halls.

So impressed apparently that, “I’m not going to throw the ball,” the KHS coach said. “We’re going to throw it backwards if we throw it, anyway.”

Although Karns hasn’t beaten Farragut in several years, “last year I thought we played a pretty even game with ’em physically,” Fulkerson said about last year’s 4-6 team. “At times we dominated the yardage factor, but we weren’t able to put it in the end zone, and you don’t get any points for gaining yards.”

In fact, “last year they ended up running more of a power game than actually the wishbone, per se, because that was John’s first game,” Courtney said. “We expect to see a lot more option this year.”

Players to watch on the Karns wishbone offense, which returns nine of 11 starters from 2003, are junior quarterback Brandon Harless, fullback Jason Ewing (6-foot, 210 pounds) and runningback Tony Elder.

The anchor of a KHS offensive line Fulkerson labels “a little better than last year” is center Dane Dienthal (6-foot-1, 245).


A strong linebacking unit seems to be the strength of a defense returning six starters from 2003. But Fulkerson said the defensive line is a question mark with practically all new faces.

“This defense is untested right now,” Fulkerson said. “I would hope that it’s our linebacker corps with Dwight Wilson (5-foot-11, 200) and Shea Brown (5-foot-11, 200), and Ryan Houston (6-foot, 200), he does a great job. And he’s been flirted with by several (Division I college) schools right now.”

In the secondary, “our free safety Alex Henry is a pretty good leader over there,” Fulkerson said about the senior.

As for the green defensive line, “we lost some key personnel to graduation last year,” Fulkerson said, adding that the defensive line constitutes the biggest rebuilding job of any unit on either side of the ball.


“We’ve got to be able to stop Michael and Jovon (Miller),” Fulkerson said. “They do a very good job running the football. And we’ve got to be able to stabilize their linebackers. Nick Reveiz and Court Courtney do just a wonderful job defensively getting around the football.”


“We’ve got to execute a little better than we did last week,” Courtney said. “I think the other thing is don’t play it all on emotion … in any game there’s going to be turnovers and there’s going to be changes in play, and you’ve got to respond after those things happen.”


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