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No. 4 Ads look to end Blankenship Field skid, claim 2-5A title versus No. 6 ORHS

With a Region 2-5A football championship at stake this Friday in Oak Ridge — and a Blankenship Field mental block to overcome — Farragut first had to dispose of Soddy-Daisy. It wasn’t easy, but the state’s No. 4 state-ranked Ads stepped up defensively in a 17-7 region win Friday, Oct. 26, on Senior Night at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field.

“Our defense played much better, we needed that going into this stretch right here,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said. “And I was pleased with our special teams, our kicking game. We’re getting better, and that’s what we’ve been stressing all year long.”

While leading the Admirals in total tackles with 10 at middle linebacker, senior Micah Devan also kicked with success: a 42-yard field goal, two conversions on extra points and a 41-yard average on two punts.

“Micah had a good night,” Courtney said. “He’s back on his game.”

The Admirals defense held SDHS to 105 yards total offense, as the Trojans fell to 1-5 in the region, 2-7 overall.

Jeff Jameson, senior defensive end, was second in total stops with nine, including two for minus yardage. “Another productive effort for us,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said. “He’s really been a good, physical defensive lineman that’s really put the pressure on, getting off blocks.”

Linebacker Will Pearman added seven stops, J.T. Doucette, Jonathan Moskal and Brandon Hylton five each, and Zach Allen and Ty Canan four apiece.

Josh Morrison and Kent Reinhart had three total tackles apiece, Danny Vest, Taylor Fry and Alex Johnson two each and Dane Lovell and Alex Encarnacion one tackle apiece.

Andre Sterling rushed 34 times for 183 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown, while quarterback Andrew Martland was 15-of-24 passing for 164 yards and a three-yard touchdown toss to Dane Winborne.

Lee Van Dyne caught six passes for 77 yards, Zach Allen four for 45, and five other Admirals with one catch each: Lawton Johnson (13 yards), Brady Evans (11 yards), David Allen (nine yards), Cody Harvey (seven yards) and Winborne’s TD catch.

“We were able to spread the field and a lot of guys be involved in it,” Courtney said. “That really helps our offense.”

Encarnacion was second in rushing: twice for 12 yards.


Oak Ridge, ranked No. 6 in the state, is currently in a three-way tie with FHS and William Blount atop the region (5-1). The Wildcats are 9-1 overall.

A Farragut win means the region crown and an opening round playoff game at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field against the No. 4 team from Region 1-5A. A loss means the Admirals probably drop to the No. 3 region seed and would travel to Kingsport to face traditional power Dobyns-Bennett, who has already secured the No. 2 spot in 1-5A.

Zach Allen labeled the trip to Blankenship Field “a challenge, we’ll have fun over there. It’s a great atmosphere, and we’ll be ready to play.”

Allen said having finally beaten the Wildcats last season, for the first time since 1993, plus the “season we’re having” give FHS “a ton of confidence” heading to Oak Ridge.

Van Dyne, a sophomore, said his closest association to Blankenship Field was going there “once a long time ago and watching them play,” adding he’s “very anxious to go out there and play, and show ’em what I can do.

“It’ll be a really good test, to see how we do against them,” Van Dyne said. “We haven’t won many games against them. I know that this year, we’ll be ready to play.”

Evan Pittman, FHS senior offensive lineman, said the Admirals will try to “look at it as a normal game.”

Courtney labeled the Wildcats “an I-formation team, and they’re going to build it around their tailback [Jared Stephens, 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior]. They’re a very good football team rushing-wise, and they run a lot of play-action, bootleg action passes. Mostly try to throw it to the fullback out in the flat.

“And of course, getting the ball to [Ralpheal] Coffee and the wide receivers. They’ve got some good wide receiver speed.”

Defensively out of the 43 alignment, “They’re very sound up front,” Courtney said. “They’re well coached up front. They don’t gamble a lot, they’re just a very good technique football team.

“They’re defense has gotten better the last half of the season the more experience they’ve gotten,” Courtney added. “They’re playing well as a group.

“It’s a typical Oak Ridge football team, you’ve got athletes in the skill positions, and they’ve got some very good football players in the trenches.”

Courtney said he’s learned from past mistakes on how to properly prepare for big games.

“When I was a younger coach, you put so much into that. Sometimes we tried to do so much, and make it so much of a big thing, it probably hurt our kids more than it helped them,” the FHS skipper said.

“Sometimes in big games, not only the Oak Ridge game, you’d keep the kids out there 45 minutes or an hour later in practice trying to cover all this kind of stuff,” Courtney added. “By the time the game got around on Friday your kids were so leg-heavy and weary — you put too much on ’em.”

Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


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