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Time for Ads to sink OR grid barrier?

A painful reminder of last season’s Oak Ridge playoff game — a picture Nick Reveiz has kept taped to his bathroom cabinet door for months — has been copied for motivational purposes.

"It’s going in the locker room, I’m blowing it up and putting it right there when you walk in, forty-eight to zero, Oak Ridge scoreboard," said Reveiz, Farragut High School senior standout linebacker, about the picture of the scoreboard following the Admirals’ 48-0 loss at Blankenship Field in the Class 5A state playoff second round.

"Everybody’s going to see it, and everybody’s going to be dwelling on that fact,” Reveiz added.

This season, the state’s No. 8-ranked Admirals have been led by a talented 27-man senior class with an eight-game winning streak, taking an 8-1 record and unbeaten Region 2-5A slate (6-0) back to Blankenship Field Friday, Oct. 28. Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s winner is Region 2-5A’s top playoff seed. If Farragut loses it will likely host arch-rival Bearden in next Friday’s opening round of the playoffs. (See related story, page 16).

Meanwhile, life and football seemed pretty normal at ORHS prior to last Friday night at Ooltewah. The Wildcats were unbeaten and No. 2 in the state before seeing the Owls rally from a 23-7 halftime deficit to stun new No. 6 Oak Ridge 42-37.

Couple that with the fact that Farragut seems to be filled with confidence following consecutive blowout wins versus region power Ooltewah (35-7) and pass-happy Soddy-Daisy (49-27).

"It’s just confidence now, our confidence is raising high," senior guard Shaun Smith said. "And also this is a better team, we have a good running game and a really solid passing game. And I think that we can execute against them.

"I think that we’re going to take the region championship home."

Oak Ridge standout senior tailback Spencer Gulmire, who scored three touchdowns last Friday night, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns this season in the I-formation offense of first-year ORHS head coach Stanton Stephens.

“He may not be the best athlete I’ve seen at runningback, but he’s by far one the best runningbacks I’ve been around,” Stevens said. "Spencer has natural field vision and a natural feel for the game. He knows when to make a cut, he knows that sometimes he just needs to lower his head and run over a guy. But what makes him special, the will and heart to win, and he has both of those things.

"I hope people make the mistake and assume that if you stop Spencer you stop us," Stevens added. "Offensively, we’ve been scoring enough points to win every game we’ve played. At times we’ve struggled with turnovers."

First-year starting quarterback Connor Gulmire, Spencer’s brother, "is doing really well, and that’s one of the reasons Spencer’s not having to carry the team," Stevens said. "We would like for teams to play eight, nine men in the box. We’d throw it every down.

"We’re pretty pleased with our balance right now, the different things we can do," Stevens added, saying Connor Gulmire has passed for more than 1,000 yards with a 60 percent completion average through nine games.

However, “We haven’t played a team as good as Farragut, we haven’t played a team with a defense that good,” the Wildcat skipper added. “They all run to the ball well and tackle well.

“It’ll be an interesting challenge. We’ll find out how good we are this week."

Stevens said standout ORHS receiver Revel Coffey "is a good, technical route runner and gets open and has the ability to go up in traffic and get the ball.”

A Wildcat offense line Stevens said averages 6-foot, 250 pounds is anchored by seniors Tyler Trent, 6-2, 260, center, and left tackle Josh Whaley, 6-2, 285.

Defensively rebuilding, "there’s some new guys and some guys that are gaining experience as we go along," Stephens said, adding that his most experienced and top-performing unit is the defensive line.

Though the Ads have already earned a least a share of the region title, "Nobody wants a share of the region, we want the whole thing," FHS senior cornerback Brian Tipton said. "I think we’ll come away with it."

Farragut hasn’t won in this annual series since 1993.

"Of course it’s going to get in your head when you’re going to Blankenship Field and you’re thinking, ‘man, we haven’t beaten them in a while,’" Reveiz said. "But, honestly, I just think we’ve got a lot more to prove than we ever have …

“Oak Ridge better watch out."


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