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Gulmire early, Gulmire late, as Oak Ridge fights off FHS challenge, pulls away for 28-7 state win


OAK RIDGE — This time, Oak Ridge was more generous and Farragut was more effective — and maybe more determined.

The Wildcats led by only 7 early in the fourth quarter before the Gulmire brothers took care of business. Standout tailback Spencer Gulmire, who rushed 25 times for 213 yards, got loose on a 43-yard run late in the third quarter to set up a key Wildcat touchdown, and junior quarterback Connor Gulmire threw his second TD pass of the game.


Oak Ridge (12-1) advances to the TSSAA Class 5A semifinals and host nemesis Riverdale following a 28-7 quarterfinal win against the Admirals at Blankenship Field Friday, Nov. 18.

“I think we had a pretty good season overall, obviously tonight it didn’t end up how we wanted it to,” FHS standout senior tailback Nick Moore said. “We had a good team, played good defense all year. Offense, tonight, especially, we just couldn’t get it clicking when we needed to. Defense was able to hold ’em down, but we couldn’t get enough points, so that’s why we lost the game.”

Of Farragut’s 291 total yards of offense, 124 came on the ground. Oak Ridge finished with 371 total yards, 316 rushing.

The Wildcats began the game the way they ended the regular season contest with Farragut three weeks earlier — a 39-0 Wildcat victory — with Spencer Gulmire running wild.

The talented tailback churned out runs of 18, 7 and 27-yards during the first drive. Connor Gulmire scored from a yard out with 8:35 left in the first quarter.

After Revel Coffey’s interception and return to the ORHS 48, the Wildcats made it 14-0 on Connor Gulmire’s fourth-and-10, 36-yard TD lob pass to Alonzo Douglas down the left sideline with 4:10 left in the first frame.

But Spencer Gulmire’s fumble on the ’Cats’ next possession, recovered by Shane Reveiz at the FHS 37, seemed to turn momentum.

A 19-yard Moore run keyed an Admiral drive to the ORHS 4. But four Moore carries ended up in negative yards, as Oak Ridge held on downs at the ORHS 5.

After holding the ’Cats, FHS went 53 yards in eight plays featuring runs of 10-yards each from Andre Sterling and quarterback Tyler Powell.

Powell and Jovon Miller created fourth-and-long TD magic of their own, as Powell hit Miller in stride down the right sideline from 28 yards out on a fourth-and-eight play. Patrick Ladd’s extra-point made it 14-7 with 4:57 left in the first half.

“That was a big shot of confidence,” senior linebacker Tony Manilla said. “Everybody was up after that, we were ready to go in and stop ’em and then tie it up, but we just couldn’t do it.”

Having a 46-yard TD pass called back due to a penalty, Oak Ridge was held and Lee Travis’ 16-yard punt return had FHS at the Wildcat 47.

“We just kept making adjustments, we put some new things in this week that we kept throwin’ at ’em,” Manilla said. “I think that got ’em off-balance a little bit. They just made some plays there at the end, that’s what beat us.”

Reaching the ORHS 25 thanks to an 11-yard Moore run and a 13-yard Powell-to-Miller connection, Farragut lost the ball on downs with three incompletions and a sack.

Miller recovered Spencer Gulmire’s second fumble of the game at midfield with 7:08 left in the third quarter, but after a 10-yard completion to Miller, the Ad drive stalled at the Oak Ridge 42.

Again holding the Wildcats and forcing a punt, Travis’ 20-yard punt return to the ORHS 22 was wiped out by an illegal block. Starting at its own 49, Farragut saw its last chance to even the issue blown apart by an interception.

Travis Davis did the honors, as Oak Ridge started at its own 36 with 1:32 left in the third quarter.

On third-and-11, Spencer Gulmire took a pitch and ripped off an apparent 65-yard TD run down the right sideline. A clip nullified the score, but only for a few moments.

Connor Gulmire avoided a near sack and hit a wide-open Jordan Murray for an 8-yard TD with 8:44 to play, making it 21-7.

Coffey’s second interception, this one at the ORHS 39, set up a 61-yard, 8-play drive ending with Spencer Gulmire’s seven-yard scoring run with 2:04 to play.

 

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