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‘How the West Was Won’ Friday
U.S. Cellular How the West Was Won trophy up for grabs Sept. 8

Chris Eggert has a warning for his Farragut High School teammates about their recent string of football success against Bearden.

“First thing, we’ve got to stay focused. Last year we had beaten them the last three years and that kinda got to our heads, and they came out and played good the first half,” the senior wide receiver said about a 17-7 BHS lead at halftime in last season’s U.S. Cellular How the West Was Won game, which Farragut rallied to win 27-17.

Counting a dramatic 21-17 Class 5A playoff triumph against the Bulldogs last fall, Farragut’s string of victories in what is arguably Knox County’s biggest football rivalry stands at five.

The Bulldogs look to reverse recent history tomorrow night as the fifth annual U.S. Cellular How the West Was Won showdown is Friday, Sept. 8, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field. Opening kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

“We need to keep our heads on straight. Just because we haven’t lost to ’em doesn’t mean they can’t come back and beat us,” Eggert added. “They’re a good football team this year.”

Bearden lineman Dorcel Cunningham pinpoints one crucial area: “All we got to do is make a lot fewer mistakes at Farragut,” he said.

Bulldog Torey Works, the team’s leading rusher as a junior runningback, said Farragut “has a good team,” adding, “We’ve got to get our heads on right after [a 10-6 loss to Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Sept. 1] and prepare well, push it to the limit. We’re feeling a little pain now, but there’s no gain without some pain. That pain doesn’t last long, and pride lasts forever.”

Bearden senior wide receiver Dontae Bunche, the team’s top target, said his team needs “to play better against Farragut” than it did versus KDB. “We need to remember a game isn’t over until the last tick goes off the clock.”

Other FHS players said a good week of practice is key following a 44-15 rout of Heritage last week at HHS, improving Farragut’s record to 1-1.

Senior defensive back Bryson Simpson said he is plenty motivated. “We just gotta practice hard and keep our heads in the game ... and I believe we can shut down Bearden’s offense,” said Simpson, who’ll be starting against BHS for the first time. “I remember sitting on the sidelines last year, wanting to get into the game so bad. I finally got my chance, and I played my heart out.”

Farragut senior lineman Michael Hoag was confident. “If we practice hard this week I think we’ll be able to beat ‘em,” Hoag said.

Farragut junior quarterback/wide receiver Andrew Martland said Bearden “is a good team, two-and-[one record], and I know it’s going to be a hard game. But if we practice hard, hopefully we’ll come out with six in a row this year.”

Admiral senior linebacker Shane Reveiz said, “I know they’ll all pumped up and ready, Bearden’s a good football team, but we’re ready for ‘em.”

In recent series history, Farragut used a long run in the final seconds of regulation play to break a tie and win 30-24 in 2002 at FHS, ending a three game Bearden winning streak in the inaugural U.S. Cellular HWWW game.

A last-second field goal and controversial touchdown were part of a 10-7 Admiral win in 2003, followed by a 14-0 Farragut victory at FHS in 2004.

The Bulldogs’ last triumph in the series was a dramatic 49-42 double-overtime win in 2001.

farragutpress writer Jerry Dean contributed to this story.


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