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Here we go again with Oak Ridge
Ad talk more low-key as FHS gets yet another shot at mighty Wildcats in 5A state quarterfinal playoff


Here we go again — round three at Blankenship Field, so to speak. Farragut travels to Oak Ridge in a Class 5A state playoff quarterfinal showdown beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.

Time for some more Wildcat woodshed treatment?

Last season, following a narrow Oak Ridge regular season victory at what is now Bill Clabo Field in Farragut, the Admirals-Wildcats second-round playoff matchup at ORHS’s Blankenship Field was highly-anticipated to be interesting.

But Oak Ridge dominated on both ends of the field and dumped the Ads 48-0.


This season, with an 8-1 FHS team, ranked No. 8 in the state, heading back to Blankenship Field for the regular season finale against the No. 6, once beaten Wildcats Oct. 28, many thought the 2005 Admirals were special. Special enough to keep the issue close, at least.

Wrong, in a Gulmire-type way. Oak Ridge senior tailback Spencer Gulmire set a school record with 347 yards rushing and three touchdowns while Farragut red zone miscues meant another shutout, this time 39-0.

At least this time, Farragut pre-game talk is a bit more subdued. But not totally.

"Right now we have confidence, but we had confidence last time going into it," FHS senior guard Shaun Smith said after the Ads’ 33-16 second-round victory against Ooltewah last Friday. "But we've just got to execute against them. I believe we have a better ballclub than they do, we have more talent. But, I mean, if they are going to execute better than us they're going to win the ballgame."

Offensively, "We've got to want it more when we get in the red zone," Smith added. "That's all it is when you get in the red zone, executing and wanting it more than the other guy.

"Any time a defense is backed up in a red zone, that's when they turn on their highest, and then the O-line's got to turn on their highest when they're in that red zone."

Will overconfidence be a Wildcat problem?

“You’d probably be worried about it with some of the players, but most of the players know this is going to be tough game,” Gulmire said. “We all know Farragut’s a tough team, has some really good players.”

FHS senior linebacker Steven Moon said after the Ooltewah game, "With this game performance, we're ready for Oak Ridge. I honestly think we can take 'em out."

As for Gulmire's 347-yard performance in the regular-season finale, Moon said this time, "you gotta hit him, you gotta wrap him up. You can't let him get outside. ... We just need to set more people up on the outside so they can't get outside," adding that Gulmire will have a harder time going up the middle "with the [line]backers we got. He can hurt us on the outside.”

One strategic difference in this game? "My brother's back," senior standout linebacker Nick Reveiz said about junior linebacker Shane Reveiz, who was suspended for the game following what was ruled to be a flagrant late hit versus Soddy-Daisy. The Reveiz brothers are Farragut’s two leading tacklers this season.

Maybe Nick Reveiz himself was "out" of the first game, so to speak. The senior standout linebacker said he was "kinda out of it" early in the game after "getting my bell rung in the head" during the Wildcats' first drive, adding it was so bad "I don't remember half the game."

However, "I don't want to make excuses, they're a great team," Nick Reveiz added. "They’ve earned everything they’ve got."

As for slowing down the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Gulmire, "Oh gosh, tackling, you know, we missed a lot of tackles last time," Nick Reveiz said, adding that various defenders were playing out of position due to necessity.

FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said his Admirals must "be fundamentally better than we were, we learned a lot in that game. We were of position so many times. That’s one thing we’ve done better the last two weeks because after that game, we’ve gone back and worked on our defensive scheme and made sure our kids understand their responsibilities.

"And they’ve got [Revel] Coffey [wide receiver, 6-foot, 165] and others that’ll hurt you if you just key on Gulmire," he added.

Gulmire’s younger brother, junior quarterback Connor Gulmire (6-foot-2, 160), “has been playing really well, he’s got down his mechanics. ... He’s taken a lot of the pressure off me, so now I don’t feel like I have to do as much as I would in the past few years,” Spencer said.

Defensively for the ’Cats, “Well, our defense is kinda like bend but don’t break throughout the whole year,” the ‘Cat runningback said. “We’ve given up a lot of yards. And of course, the Ooltewah game, it was just turnovers that really cost us, giving them the ball on our twenty-, thirty-yard-line about two or three series in a row.”

Keys to ORHS success Friday? “We’re going to have to shut down their running game,” Spencer Gulmire said. “I think we need to make them beat us by passing the ball. I know their quarterback [Tyler Powell] is good, but their two runningbacks [Nick Moore and Andre Sterling] are two of the best around.”

In addition to Shane Reveiz being available, FHS linebacker Brent Harkins is back from a high ankle sprain that kept the senior out during the first game versus Oak Ridge.

In fact, Courtney said all Ad players should be healthy enough to play Friday night.

Spencer Gulmire said Oak Ridge is basically healthy except for “a couple of turned ankles.”

 

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