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Cruze legs, arm, hit burn Ads in 28-21 Powell OT win

It was a one-man nightmare for Farragut, as Powell was in Cruze control from its second play from scrimmage to the very last play of overtime.

Panther senior quarterback Kenny Cruze led a split back veer offense that caught the Admirals off-guard in the first half, running the option keeper and scrambling for 191 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 169 more in a 28-21 overtime victory at PHS Friday, Sept. 22.

As for the new offense, “We hadn’t seen them do that this year,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said. “The Cruze kid is really a good athlete. ... It took a couple of series for our kids to adjust to it. It did catch us off-guard. But I’m proud of the way our kids responded. We did make a few adjustments.”

Ty Canan, junior linebacker who led FHS with 12 tackles, five solo, said Cruze “made a lot of good plays with his legs. ... He really kept us off-balance, scrambling ... and with that quick hitting pass.”

FHS senior linebacker Shane Reveiz, who ended with 11 tackles, four solo, said Cruze “is probably one of the fastest [quarterbacks] we’ve played, and most talented. The option we started getting down toward the end.”

Powell’s win (now 2-3) overshadowed an FHS rally from 14-0 and Brenton Dickerson’s last-second blocked field goal attempt from 28-yards out forcing overtime.

It was more Cruze on both sides of the ball in OT, taking the Panthers’ first play and running 10 yards up the middle on a quarterback draw to make it 28-21.

The Admirals (3-2) marched to the PHS 1 but were pushed back by a holding penalty. But on 4th down from the 15, quarterback Michael Lawrence appeared to have found receiver Zach Allen open for the tying touchdown in the middle of the end zone.

Cruze had other ideas as a PHS safety, dislodging the ball from Allen on a perfectly-time wicked hit to end the game and set off Orange and Black bedlam.

After Cruze scored almost untouched on a 55-yard option keeper on Powell’s second play from scrimmage, the Panthers capped an 89-yard, seven play drive on its third possession with Cruze’s 35-yard option keeper TD making it 14-0 with 10:08 left in the first half.

But FHS junior tailback André Sterling, who ended with 177 yards on 30 carries, peeled off runs of nine, 10, 12 and 17 yards and ended a 73-yard, 14-play drive by scoring from five yards out with 3:31 left in the half.

“André’s running was not only running the ball hard, his blocking was much better,” Courtney said.

The Ads tied things on its second possession of the third quarter, going 55 yards in nine plays highlighted by Sterling’s 32-yard run where he carried tacklers 10 yards. He scored from a yard out on fourth-and-goal to tie it 14-14 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

After Powell answered with a 63-yard drive ending on a 23-yard TD pass to Jared Clemons, Farragut came right back with a 48-yard Sterling touchdown run to make it 21-21 with 7:36 to play.

Senior fullback Nick Guess, who rushed five times for 25 yards, “had a good night, his blocking grade was good,” Courtney said.

Linebacker Will Pearman ended with 10 tackles, five solo, while linebacker Micah Devan recovered a fumble.


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