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U.S. Cellular How the West Was Won matchup goes to Farragut High School for fifth year

A 8-yard loss on Farragut junior tailback André Sterling’s first carry of the game could have set the tone for the annual U.S. Cellular How the West Was Won dual between the Farragut Admirals and Bearden Bulldogs.

However, the Admirals and Sterling weren’t about to let that happen.

Sterling ran for 263 yards on 36 carries as the Admirals retained its dominance with its sixth straight win over cross-town rival Bearden with a 27-14 win Friday, Sept. 8, at Farragut’s Bill Clabo Field.

“It was our senior leadership, Michael Lawrence and [David] Bernard, all of ’em, they just did a fabulous job leading our team,” Sterling said. “I felt very inspired because they kept my head up. On that first play when I [lost] about eight yards, they came in the huddle and said, ‘keep your head up,’ and I did.”

Even though the junior tailback amassed 126 yards at the half, Admirals head coach Eddie Courtney knew that he was capable of much better.

“I told André at halftime he needed to be more physical with his instincts, run hard and protect the football,” Courtney said. “I thought he was kinda’ cuttin’ back and forth instead of just takin’ it and going, he needed to be more aggressive with his running style.”

But in the end Courtney admitted that Sterling “had a heck of a night.”

In addition, “The offensive line was getting good push up front and helping him, and they just started coming together, and that’s what you want to do and that’s what we had to do in the fourth quarter to win this ballgame,” Courtney said.

With a tie ballgame going into the fourth quarter, Sterling took his coach’s advice and it worked out for the best.

Sterling rushed for 95 yards in the fourth and gave the Admirals (2-1 record) the 21-14 lead on a 38-yard run with 9:12 left.

“Coming into the week we watched ‘em on film and we just felt we were the more physical team up front, so we planned the whole week just coming out and pounding it right at ‘em and see if they could stop us,” senior offensive lineman Michael Hoag said. “They couldn’t stop us, there was no point going away from it.”

The Admirals kept pounding the ball and Lawrence scrambled in from 8-yards out to put Farragut up by two scores, but the PAT was missed, making the score 27-14 with 4:35 remaining.

“We couldn’t slow them down, they sort of manhandled us which we weren’t really expecting them to be able to do that well,” BHS coach Bill Wilson said. “But they did a great job and they were well prepared.”

Sterling got the Admirals on the scoreboard with the first of his two touchdowns with a 46-yard scamper with 11:46 left in the second quarter and it was then that the Bearden coach knew that it was going to be a long day for his Bulldogs defense.

“What can you say,” Wilson said. “I thought he was tackled two or three times and then next thing you know he is running down the field. He is better than he looks on film, he is absolutely fantastic.”

Bearden (2-2 record) answered with a Dawson Halliday 30-yard touchdown pass to Dontae Bunche on the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession. Bunche hurt his shoulder on the play and didn’t return.

The loss of Bunche proved to be substantial.

“There is no question, anytime you lose Dontae, you’ve got a problem,” Wilson said. “Is that the difference in the whole game? Probably not, because I thought they did such a good job controlling the line of scrimmage, but needless to say the injury took away one of our big play men.”

Wilson believes that the injury isn’t a serious one and doesn’t expect to be without the senior standout for too long.

“It’s a shoulder and I think he is going to be O-K in a week or two,” the coach said. “So I don’t think he is going to have to have surgery or anything, so we are lucky there.”

Halliday found junior tailback Torey Works for a 6-yard touchdown with 5:07 left in half to put the Bulldogs up 14-7 momentarily.

The Admirals tied the game 16 seconds before halftime when senior quarterback Michael Lawrence connected with tight end Nick Guess for a 3-yard score.

“I really think where we won the game this week was the end of the first half we took it down there seventy yards and stuck it in,” Lawrence said. “That was the change of momentum in the game right there.”

Coming into the game, the Admirals knew they were going to need a big game from the offensive line and nobody stood out more than senior David Bernard.

“Last week he hurt his ankle and came out here tonight and played through the pain and he really did a good job and so did the whole offensive line,” Lawrence said.

Despite the pain, Bernard wasn’t going to miss the biggest game of the year.

“I broke a bone and I tore some ligaments but I came out this week and once the adrenaline got going I didn’t even notice it until the fourth quarter,” Bernard said. “It’s worth playing hurt for this game.”


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