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Farragut looking to rebound against pair of giants
No. 4 ’Cats hand No. 8 Ads its first loss of the season

Michael Wright and Jovon Miller had something they wanted to say in the post-game huddle following Farragut’s 21-13 loss to No. 4 state-ranked Oak Ridge Friday night at FHS.

Advising their disappointed teammates to “keep their heads up” and “the season’s not over, it’s only one loss,” skill position stars Wright and Miller know there’s no time to pout with a trip to No. 7-state ranked Soddy Daisy (7-1 record) this Friday.

The state’s No. 8-ranked Admirals will look to shake off its first loss of 2004, needing to beat either Soddy Daisy or No. 3-ranked Ooltewah (8-0) on the road Oct. 29 in Region 2-5A to avoid a first-round playoff trip to Kingsport against No. 2-ranked and unbeaten Dobyns-Bennett.

“We’re just going to bounce back and play our hardest these next two weeks,” Wright said. “We’ve got to keep our hearts in it, we can’t let one loss get us down.”

Senior defensive tackle Tommy Lawhorn agreed. “We’ve still got to keep our heads high and look forward to Soddy Daisy right now, plan on playing them,” he said.

FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said Soddy Daisy (I-formation offense similar to FHS, and 43 defense) is one of the biggest teams the Ads will face in addition to having good team speed.


A pair of costly first-half turnovers and the Wildcats’ potent ground attack as led by 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior Spencer Gulmire proved to be the difference despite Farragut holding the ORHS offense 31 points under its 2004 average prior to Friday.

“The defensive effort was good in the second half,” Lawhorn said. Linebacker Nick Reviez led the Ads with 15 tackles, followed by linebackers Court Courtney and Tyler Ladd with nine each.

“The first half and the first series in the second (half), we had some mistakes,” Lawhorn added.

With 191 yards rushing on 23 carries, Gulmire provided more than half of the Wildcats’ 294 yards of total offense.

Trailing 14-3 early in the second quarter but driving to the ORHS 9, the Admirals muffed a handoff exchange and the Wildcats recovered the fumble. The turnover wasted fullback Nick Moore’s 31-yard run followed by Miller’s 22-yard pass reception from quarterback Nick French. Miller ended with six catches for 88 yards.

Looking to cut the 11-point ’Cat lead in the closing seconds of the first half, Farragut drove from its own 44 to the ORHS 13, but a 14-yard sack and an interception left it 14-3 at the break.

That drive wasted a 15-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 from French to Tyler Ladd, followed by a French connection with Wright for 28 yards.

While the FHS offens was limited to 101 yards rushing on 29 carries, French completed 10 of 27 passes for 141 yards.

Meanwhile, Gulmire and ’Cat runningback Leonard Blair did major damage on both Wildcat first-half scoring drives.

Gulmire churned out runs of 21 and 14 yards on the Wildcats’ second possession before ORHS quarterback Scott McMahon found tight-end James Mitchell on a 7-yard TD pass late in the first quarter for a 7-3 lead.

Gulmire’s 35-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter capped a three-play, 52-yard scoring march. Blair added a 12-yard run. “They’ve got some tough skill players on their team,” Lawhorn said. “Their offensive line had a good push, also.”

Farragut’s first points were set up when Robert Facklam recovered a fumbled punt catch at the ORHS 32 less than two minutes into the game. Thomas Riddle’s 37-yard field goal made it 3-0 Ads.

Oak Ridge opened the second half with a 41-yard kickoff return by Blair followed by his 15-yard run, which set-up McMahon’s 17-yard TD pass to Rick Daniels-Mulholland that was tipped by FHS defensive back Lee Travis. It was 21-3 Wildcats.

Miller’s 43-yard run set up Riddle’s 32-yard field-goal making it 21-6 midway into the period.

Defensive back Marcus Huie snuffed out an ORHS drive with an interception in the end zone, one of two he grabbed on the night.

Tony Manilla’s fumble recovery at the ORHS 45 with 2:11 to play set up Moore’s 3-yard TD run with 1:23 to go. Patrick Ladd’s extra point made it 21-13. The drive’s big play was a 38-yard bomb down the sideline from French to Miller.

According to Dave Clary, “the Voice of the Wildcats,” Oak Ridge has now beaten Farragut 24 out the last 28 meetings dating back to 1977 when the series became annual. Farragut’s last win was 21-20 in 1993.


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