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Make it seven!
Farragut beats Bearden again as defense, 2nd-quarter push, difference in 20-6 final

Make it seven straight.

A second-quarter explosion of points led by standout junior tailback André Sterling with help from senior quarterback Michael Lawrence among others helped Farragut overcome a couple of critical early penalties and a Bearden go-ahead touchdown. Throw in tough defense and the result was a 20-6 Admiral victory against the Bulldogs in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field Friday, Nov. 3. Marking Farragut’s seventh straight win versus Bearden dating back to 2002, “We took it to ’em again like we do every time,” FHS senior offensive lineman David Bernard said.

Bernard added that he and other Admirals “were fired up” after learning about what they said were BHS students who broke into the stadium the night before and spray-painted the new U.S.S. Farragut anchor partially maroon in addition to vandalizing other areas of the stadium.

“I took it personally, because every single game they’re talking and during something like that, even though every game we come out and whip ’em over and over again,” Bernard said.

Sterling’s second-quarter scoring runs of 32, 20 and 21 yards turned a 6-0 deficit into a 20-6 halftime lead that stood up.

“It never gets old beating Bearden,” said senior cornerback Todd Ivey, who had a key interception setting up a touchdown.

Sterling’s 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarterback was nullified due to a holding penalty.

On top of that, Bearden (7-4 final record) took advantage of a pass interference penalty on a third-down play to keep its scoring drive alive late in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second period, BHS quarterback Dawson Halliday rolled right then threw back left to Torey Works, and the junior runningback weaved his way 40-yards to put Bearden up 6-0. The extra-point was blocked.

Chris Eggert’s 36-yard kickoff return placed FHS (8-3 record) at its own 48, then Eggert’s sliding pass reception came after a nine-yard Lawrence run.

Sterling, who ended with 100 yards on 23 carries, then broke loose, breaking a pair r of tackles near the line of scrimmage then weaving his way 32 yards to tie the game with 10:58 left in the half. BHS returned the special teams favor by blocking the extra point.

A 59-yard, five-play scoring drive began with Jacob Whatley’s 47-yard reception and ended with Sterling’s 20-yard TD run — once again breaking a pair of tackles near the line of scrimmage then slipping his way to paydirt — making it 13-6 with 6:58 left in the first half.

Ivey’s interception of a sideline pass set Farragut up for its final points from the BHS 39. An 11-yard pass to Eggert and a seven-yard Lawrence keeper set up Sterling’s weaving, cutting and powering 21-yard run for his third TD and a 20-6 lead midway into the quarter.

According to BHS stats, Farragut led in total yards by game’s end 302 to 241.

Lawrence, who rushed seven times for 51 yards, was 10 of 15 passing for 148 yards.

Farragut head coach Eddie Courtney held out special praise for senior linebacker/fullback Micah Devan for “playing well” in addition to his defensive line and defensive backs Brandon Hylton, Alex Encarnacion, Brenton Dickerson, Andrew Martland and Ivey.

Recording nine total tackles, six solo, Devan also rushed three times for 21 yards, caught a pair of Lawrence passes and left two of his punts inside the BHS 20, one at the BHS 8.

Linebacker Shane Reveiz led FHS with 11 tackles, eight solo and two for minus yardage. Linebacker Will Pearman also had 11, six solo.

“Our kids had a really good week of practice,” Courtney said.

For Bearden, defensive back Zack Jackson led in total tackles with nine, six solo, followed by Peter Melloy with eight and Sean Cunningham with seven. Alex Goltry had two minus yardage stops totalling 15 yards.

Works led Bearden in rushing with 73 yards on 21 attempts.

Halliday was 15 of 32 passing for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Standout Bulldog senior receiver Dontae Bunch finished with seven receptions for 58 yards.

“We’ve been ready to play every time we’ve come out here,” Bunche said. “But this has become a sort of mind thing.”

Halliday said Bearden’s senior captains, “Michael Lewis and Zack [Jackson] stepped up and played so well, but we just couldn’t get it all together. It wasn’t the cold. We just weren’t clicking on offense, and Sterling is obviously a great athlete.

“What it boils down to is that we didn’t make big plays when we needed them. We tried to come out, and we hit them quick with that first touchdown.”

farragutpress writer Jerry Dean contributed to this story.


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