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Owls wise to Admiral playoff plight?
A loss to No. 6-ranked Ooltewah sends FHS to No. 1 Dobyns-Bennett in first-round of playoffs

It’s hard enough preparing for a huge challenge such as No. 6 state-ranked Ooltewah will pose for the Farragut Admirals Friday night in Hamilton County.

But to avoid a first-round playoff trip to Kingsport to face the state’s top-ranked Class 5A Dobyns-Bennett Indians, the suddenly unranked Admirals will have to pull an upset at OHS while receiving help from — of all teams — two other Hamilton County high schools: The Hixson Wildcats and the team that just finished ripping Farragut 35-3 last Friday, the Soddy-Daisy Trojans.

If the Admirals pull the upset Friday at OHS and Soddy Daisy beats Oak Ridge, the Admirals and Owls would each have similar 5-2 Region 2-5A records and matching 8-2 overall records. But the Admirals would pull ahead of Ooltewah because of a head-to-head victory and finish third in the region. The Owls would head to Kingsport Nov. 5.

An FHS upset and an Oak Ridge victory would mean a three-way tie for second-place among Farragut, Soddy Daisy and Ooltewah. This is where Hixson’s game at Chattanooga Brainerd is vital based on tiebreakers involving non-region opponents, as Hixson lost to Soddy-Daisy earlier in the season.

According to the TSSAA Web site, if Farragut, Oak Ridge and Hixson win, the Admirals will finish third and avoid Dobyns-Bennett. Soddy-Daisy would still finish second despite losing, and fourth seed Ooltewah would head to Kingsport.

If Farragut, Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy end in a three-way tie for second-place and Hixson loses, this is where it really gets interesting. Enter FHS non-region foes Halls and Karns, both losers to the Admirals earlier in the season.

In a three-way tie for second, a Hixson loss wouldn’t matter to the Admirals if both Halls and Karns win Friday. But if the Wildcats and either Halls (hosting Carter) or Karns (hosting Campbell Co.) lose, a Farragut upset would still leave coach Eddie Courtney’s team loading up for Dobyns-Bennett Nov. 5.

But first things first.


Torched by Soddy-Daisy’s passing game in a 35-3 drubbing at SDHS last Friday (see related story on page 14), the Admirals now must face a truly balanced and potent run-pass attack. Owl Quarterback Zach Woods relies on a pair of Associated Press state player of the week honorable mention honorees, receiver Antonio Lansden and speedy tailback Dewayne Caldwell.

“Ooltewah is certainly built around their tailback, the Caldwell kid, he’s got great speed … probably one of the fastest kids we’ve seen,” Courtney said, though Caldwell was reportedly injured and missed the second-half against ORHS. “They do a lot of the same things that we saw against Soddy, same kind of running game, they’re an I-formation.”

Courtney labeled Woods “above average.”

The FHS skipper added that Ooltewah is more run-oriented than Soddy-Daisy, “but they’re pretty balanced, run and pass,” he said. “Sixty percent run, forty percent pass.”

Also similar to the Trojans, the Owls employ a 43 base defense “with a good middle linebacker, so there’s a lot of similarities between those teams.”

Though not as big as Soddy-Daisy in the trenches, Courtney said the Owls “have good size … a good, physical football team” that compared to FHS is “a little bit bigger.”

As for comparing team speed, “I think we’re pretty equal,” Courtney said. “I think we have some kids that can match up with their receivers and (defensive backs) and soforth.”

Keys to success. “Not making mistakes early and taking the fight to the other team,” Courtney said.

“They’ve got to bounce back from a loss (30-14 at Oak Ridge) just like us this week, so we’ll see,” the coach added.

Opening kickoff Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.

(Repeated attempts to contact Ooltewah head coach Ted Gatewood were unsuccessful).


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