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Ads hang close but fall to No.2 Ooltewah 30-28

OOLTEWAH — Terrorized at key moments by the rushing of nifty Ooltewah junior Brian Marshall, Farragut mounted an effective passing game when its own nifty junior, André Sterling, was mostly held in check.

But despite going 16-of-25 passing for 281 yards that including two TD passes in the fourth quarter to keep the issue close, FHS senior quarterback Michael Lawrence and the Admirals fell just short in a 30-28 Region 2-5A loss to the state's No. 2-ranked and unbeaten Owls Friday, Oct. 13, at OHS.

“I think this is the best passing performance we've had in a couple of years, actually,” Lawrence said. “We weren't getting it done running, so as a receiving-quarterback corps we decided we had to step it up and make plays, and we did.”

And as a team, “We fought hard but came up short,” he added.

In a game featuring 38 fourth-quarter points, Farragut (5-3 overall, 4-1 in Region 2-5A) played from behind almost the entire game despite landing inside the OHS 30 on five drives without scoring during the game's first 37 minutes.

Sterling, with more than 1,200 yards rushing on the season through seven games, ran 28 times for 98 yards and one TD Friday.

Meanwhile, the Owls' Marshall put on a clinic at times on how to hit a hole quickly and keep going, rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yarder.

Leading 13-7 and holding FHS on downs at the Owl 27 to begin the fourth quarter, Ooltewah made it 20-7 on Marshall's 73-yard TD run on the next play.

“He's obviously real explosive, but obviously you've just gotta stop those kinda guys in the backfield before they get started,” senior linebacker/fullback Micah Devan said. “He's really fast. I'd say he's probably the best (FHS has faced) as far as hitting the hole.”

A 15-yard Lawrence pass to Chris Eggert, who ended with six catches for 81 yards, was followed by a wild scoring pass play. Avoiding a sack, Lawrence spun to his left and floated a pass deep to Devan at the OHS 30, and after an official helped by getting in the way of a tackle, Devan scored on a 50-yard pass play with 9:41 left.

But a 20-yard punt return, a 28-yard lateral-then-pass to Owl quarterback Jeremy Woods, a 15-yard penalty and a third-down 15-yard pass set the stage for a one-yard TD run from Sean Sanders and a 27-14 Ooltewah lead with 6:46 to play.

A 39-yard pass to Jacob Whatley (two catches, 68 yards) and two Sterling runs, the final a five-yard TD, made it 27-21 with 5:16 left.

But a 36-yard Woods pass helped set up John Long's 36-yard field goal with 2:05 left to make it 30-21.

Farragut didn't quit, using a 28-yard pass to Eggert to set up Lawrence's 15-yard TD strike to Zach Allen (six catches for 69 yards) with 57.2 seconds left.

The onside kick failed.

“Great passes all night,” Eggert said of Lawrence, adding that making it close in the fourth quarter “was a great sign for the team.”

Praising his FHS passing game, head coach Eddie Courtney said he was “so proud of this team, we've done that the past three or four weeks, our kids keep battling.”

Marshall's runs of 15, 9, 12 and 7 set up his 19-yard scoring run on the Owls' second possession to make it 7-0. Passes to Eggert of 10, 13 and 26 yards set up Lawrence's quarterback sneak on fourth-and-a-half-yard with 31 seconds left in the first quarter, making it. 7-7

Lawrence then peeled off a 16-yard keeper as FHS reached the Owl 24, but under pass rush pressure was intercepted by Michael Welch, who returned it 50 yards to the FHS 26. A 21-yard Marshall run preceded a fourth-and-goal one-yard TD run from Sanders making it 13-7 with 3:55 left in the half.

Devan led FHS in tackles with 12, nine solo. Shane Reveiz had nine, six solo including two for minus yardage. Will Pearman added eight total stops. Andrew Martland had an interception.


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