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Tears flow freely in emotional post-game scene as Farragut players, coaches, reflect on ’05 season

OAK RIDGE — By game’s end Friday night at Blankenship Field, it was cold and wet.

The chill was probably a little more pronounced for those wearing navy and gray, as Region 2-5A co-champion Farragut fell to the Oak Ridge Wildcats 28-7 in the TSSAA Class 5A state quarterfinals Nov. 18.

But a emotional post-game gathering perhaps warmed things up, as players, coaches and parents were brought to tears while sharing musical-chair hugs, pats on the back for a stellar season (10-3) and well wishes to seniors finishing their final two years at FHS with a combined 19-6 record.

Fighting back tears in the post-game huddle, head coach Eddie Courtney told the team to “keep your heads up, you did a lot of good things this year. ... I love everybody on this team.”

Assistant coach Steve Gordon added, “great ride, you started a tradition. Maybe we can do that next year, too.”

Finishing their careers, a handful of FHS seniors reflected on the 2005 season.

“This team has the most heart than any I’ve ever been a part of,” senior linebacker Brandon Besola said.

Senior linebacker Tony Manilla added, “I know it’s disappointing to lose this, but I wouldn’t change this season for the world.

“This is the best season we’ve had in a very long time. We just came out here and gave it all we had, we just didn’t make the plays when we needed to make ’em and they did, that’s the bottom line.”

Senior defensive lineman Adam Baxter said, “I’m proud of my guys. This is the farthest we’ve been since nineteen-ninety-three. It’s a good season.”

Senior placekicker Patrick Ladd added, “It was an overall great season. It stinks to lose like this, but I think we played together really well as a team this year. It’s kinda a bittersweet time ... we all built memories off this.”


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