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Owls pound FHS in 5A quarterfinals


CHATTANOOGA — Ool-tewah's long kickoff return to begin the game set an early tone for the Owls against Farragut.

An even longer kickoff return two quarters later — 87 yards for a touchdown — was the beginning of the end for FHS.

But line of scrimmage play was even more telling. Offensively, Ooltewah's nifty junior runningback Brian Marshall and the combination of quarterback Jeremy Woods and receiver Jensen Morgan were too much to overcome for the Admirals in a 42-14 Class 5A state quarterfinal setback at OHS Friday, Nov. 17.


“Right now we're hurting and disappointed, yes, but I'm proud of these guys because they've come a long way since week one,” said FHS head coach Eddie Courtney, whose team finishes 2006 with a 9-4 record while matching last season's march to the state quarterfinals. “Our football team showed a lot of character, a lot of heart, coming together. That's what I preach to ’em. ... They did grow up and become a close group.”

As for the seniors, “They learned a lot about leadership from last year's group,” Courtney said. “Hopefully [with] the tradition part of it, and the expectations ... these kids got three weeks of playoff exposure, so the younger kids know what it takes ... I expect that to carry over into next year."

Ooltewah remains unbeaten with a 13-0 record, beating FHS for the second time this season. Farragut played without senior starting quarterback Michael Lawrence, whose career was ended after breaking his collarbone against William Blount the week before. Also missing was injured junior linebacker Will Pearman.

Looking back on the 2006 season, senior offensive lineman David Bernard said, “This was a great season, no one expected us to do anything. I just had so much fun this year playing with my friends, we've been playing together for four years. It's been an awesome time, I just wished we could have kept it going.”

Senior safety Jeremy Walker said, “I'm really proud of the way we came together as a team. We carried on the winning tradition. ... I can hang my hat on this season.”

Lawrence said, “Coming into the season people didn't think we'd be that great because we lost a lot of seniors. We came out and beat Oak Ridge, beat Bearden twice, William Blount in the playoffs. I think we accomplished a lot this season.”

Senior defensive back Todd Ivey said, “Every one of these seniors did a great job this whole year.”

Senior nose guard Adam Wigren said, “You never want to go out like this ... but our seniors stepped it up [in 2006].”

OOLTEWAH 42 FHS 14

Darrell Turner's 79-yard kickoff return to begin the game led to a one-yard Sean Sanders touchdown and a quick 7-0 Owl lead.

After holding the Ads to one first down before punting, Ooltewah went 91 yards featuring Marshall runs of 17, 15 and a pair of eight-yard bursts plus a 30-yard pass to Morgan. Sanders scored his second TD to make it 14-0 with 2:39 left in the first quarter.

But while Farragut's defense would stiffen and keep the Owls scoreless until midway into the third quarter, FHS answered with points.

A 70-yard TD drive was aided by a roughing the punter call, but André Sterling's 17-yard run and a nine-yard pass from junior quarterback Andrew Martland to Chris Eggert set up Martland's clutch fourth-and-three scoring pass. The junior lefty hit Zach Allen in the middle of the end zone, making it 14-6 with 7:20 left in the first half. The extra-point was blocked.

“You've got to give Andrew Martland credit for coming in and making some plays,” Courtney said about his backup quarterback.

Defensively, senior linebacker Micah Devan led FHS with 12 total tackles, seven solo, followed by senior linebacker Shane Reveiz’s nine, four solo. Senior defensive end Jonathan Morrison added eight stops, four solo, including three for minus yardage.

The Owls moved to the FHS 35, but an offensive pass interference call killed the drive. A high snap the OHS punter couldn't catch resulted in FHS possession at the Owl 28 with 3:39 left in the half.

Eggert's leaping catch for 24 yards, outbattling the Owl defender, landed the Ads at the OHS 2. The senior ended with seven catches for 70 yards.

But two Sterling runs added up to a one-yard loss before a huge turnover. Under pass rush pressure rolling left, Martland was picked off at the OHS 2.

Farragut managed to get the ball back following a short punt at the Owl 26 with 20 seconds left, but two incompletions and an interception ended the half.

But the Ads seized momentum quickly in the third quarter.

Jacob Whatley's 54-yard kickoff return sparked what became a tying drive.

A 12-yard Sterling run plus an eight-yard pass to Eggert were highlights before Sterling's eight-yard TD run — where he leaped a defender at the OHS 5 — cutting the lead to 14-12 with 8:33 left in the third quarter. Sterling, who rushed for 2,043 yards and 23 TDs on the season, ended the night with 152 yards on 27 carries.

Going for two, Martland hit Eggert on a slant pattern to tie the game 14-14.

Sanders took a short kickoff and rambled 87 yards almost untouched down the left sideline to quickly put the Owls back ahead 21-14.

An 89-yard Owl scoring drive featured a 13-yard screen pass to Marshall and a 14-yard pass to Morgan came before Woods' screen pass to Marshall that became a 30-yard touchdown to make it 28-14 with 11:09 left in the final quarter.

Marshall's 54-yard TD run with 9:12 to play made it 35-14, then OHS recovered a fumble and went 28 yards to score with 5:23 left.

 

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