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Farragut ‘Sterling’ in rout of ORHS for region crown


A 42-7 score is pretty typical at Oak Ridge’s Blankenship Field.

But not with a team wearing blue pants having the 42 on the hallowed grounds of one of Tennessee’s most tradition-rich programs.

The Andre and Andrew Show, starring Andre Sterling and his 291 yards alternately running through and around Wildcat defenders, set the stage as No. 4 state-ranked Farragut crushed No. 6 ORHS 42-7 to claim a share of the Region 2-5A championship and earn the No. 1 playoff seed (6-1 region, 9-1 overall).


Next is a visit from Region 1-5A No. 4 seed Jefferson County (6-4, 3-3), coming off a 31-8 loss to No. 7 state-ranked Bearden. Opening kickoff is 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field.

“Friday night he was determined to win the region championship, that’s been his goal all along,” Courtney said of Sterling’s 10-yard-per-carry average (29 attempts) and three touchdowns. “He had a great night.” The senior now has 2,130 yards on the season (230 average per game).

FHS senior quarterback Andrew Martland, who led an offense gaining 513 total yards, said, “Andre, he’s amazing. Just handing off to him, I’m supposed to carry out my fakes handing off to him, but I know I’m guilty every once in a while just watching him because it’s so beautiful watching him, just breaking all the tackles.”

Defensively, the Admirals held Oak Ridge (8-2, 5-2) to 172 total yards, as the No. 3 seed Wildcats travel to Region 1-25A No. 2 seed Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Friday.

As a team, Courtney said, “I thought for this year it was probably our best performance in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams.”

On the offensive line, “Those guys in the hole really played a great ballgame,” Courtney said of linemen Will Jackson, Brett Courtney, Dylan Young, James Harrill, Dominique Billingsley and Evan Pittman. The six graded out at 92 percent. “That’s pretty good for all of them together,” Courtney said.

The Ads scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, as Martland was 9-of-15 passing for 90 yards. He added a one-yard TD.

Sophomore Lee Van Dyne actually had a higher yards-per-carry average than Sterling, gaining 108 yards on 10 carries and one score. Chris Bass had a four-yard TD run.

“Defensively, Jeff Jameson and Josh Morrison both had a pretty good night up front,” Courtney said. “And Micah Devan really had a good ballgame. ... he was back in the groove Friday.”

Devan, a senior middle linebacker, led the Admirals with 11 total stops, nine solo.

Of Jameson’s seven tackles at defensive end, six were solo and two of the six were for minus yardage, including a sack. Five of Morrison’s stops were solo, two of those for minus yardage.

Defensive back Trevoris Bogan had seven tackles, six solo.

As a big moment in his high school career, Sterling said, “It ranks pretty high, words can’t explain how great this is. Coach Courtney’s first region championship [as a No. 1 playoff seed]. This is the first time we’ve beaten Oak Ridge at Oak Ridge since sometime in the 70s. It’s just incredible.

“We were just all so fired up and hyped. We just came into this game thinking every single quarter started all over zip-zip, even if it was 35 or 28 [to 7], it was zero-zero in our minds,” he added.

“I just wanted to come out and prove to everyone that we could excel as a team ... We can come out and be one of the best teams in the state every single time we come out on the field.”

Exalting his faith in Jesus Christ during the post-game, on-field team huddle where he received the game ball, Courtney added about his successful battle with Hodgkin’s disease, “Three years ago He healed me and gave me a chance to stand on this field. … I want to thank the coaching staff for doing a great job.”

Courtney then thanked his players for taking “a great step.”

Senior nose guard Kent Rinehart said, “We knew we had to come in focused, we knew Oak Ridge is a tough team. We knew they were going to come out there and try to toss on us and try to get outside and use their speed, and have the deep ball.

“We worked [on that] all week, and our corners and D-Bs just did great,” Rinehart added.

Concerning the so-called “Blankenship Field curse,” Rinehart said, “We were tired of hearing about it. We wanted to come in and make it Farragut’s house.”

Jameson said, “We had the same chance two years ago, and that didn’t work out for us, so we just knew we had to put a lot more into it to come out on top this time.”

As compared to FHS’s last trip to Blankenship Field in 2005, a romp by the eventual Class 5A state runner-up, Martland said, “When we came out we were extremely confident and we had the mindset ‘we’re going to win this game.’ … We had no fears of messing up or losing.

“Compared to two years ago, we had the mindset, like, ‘let’s try to win this game,’” he added. “This was our best week of practice, we worked extremely hard. The whole team was focused and ready to go. We were extremely excited to play this game.

“Our offensive coordinator [David Sweetland] has done a great job of mixing the run and the pass. It really puts teams on their heels. ... Our receivers have done a great job catching, and our line has done an exceptional job blocking. I don’t think I had a sack tonight,” Martland said.

Cody Harvey led the Admirals with three catches for 23 yards, while Zach Allen had two for 32, Van Dyne two for 19, Lawton Johnson one for nine and Jameson one for six yards.

Courtney praised sophomore kicker Brad Galloway for doing “a great job on our chip-shot kick[offs]. And actually made a touchdown-saving tackle on one kick-off.”

Other Admiral tacklers: Brandon Hylton five, Will Pearman, Taylor Fry and Zach Allen four each, Reinhart, J.T. Doucette, Alex Encarnacion and Kyle Casey three apiece, Jonathan Moskal, Jacob Velba and Alex Johnson two each and Ty Canan, Derek Harper and Danny Vest one apiece.



As for choosing to wear the blue pants, “That’s what the seniors wanted, unanimously,” Courtney said.





JEFFERSON COUNTY

“We scrimmaged Jeff County in August, so we do know a little bit about them,” Courtney said.

The Patriots run a “split-back option veer offense,” the trademark of powerful JCHS teams of the 1980 and ’90s. “We haven’t seen that this year [in the regular season]. We certainly think we can defend it pretty good.

“They don’t very pass much, when they do it’s just play-action off the option game,” Courtney added.

Defensively for the Pats, “They’ll mix it up some and go five- and a four-front and try to make you make mistakes, blitz you a lot,” the coach said.

Keys to success? “We’ve got to establish dominance in the interior lines, that’s the first thing we’ve got to do,” Courtney said. “And play smart football and not turn the ball over.”

 

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