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Admirals dominate Round 1
Patriots’ season ends with 44-13 loss, Dobyns-Bennett next Friday, Nov. 16

One final tune-up before the real post-season fun begins.

Behind old reliable Andre Sterling and his 252 yards rushing and two touchdowns, the state’s No.4-ranked Farragut Admirals pulled away in the second half to drop Jefferson County 44-13 in the TSSAA playoff opening round Friday, Nov. 9, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field.

Next in round 2 is Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett (8-3), Region 1-5A’s No. 2 seed and a perennial East Tennessee football power. The Indians edged then No. 9-ranked Oak Ridge 21-14 at KD-B last Friday.

Opening kick-off is 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16, at Bill Clabo Field. (More on the Indians later in this story).

The Region 2-5A champion Admirals (10-1) struggled to pull away from Jefferson County during the first 24 minutes, leading only 10-7 at the half.

“We thought we were just going to come out and roll all over this team,” said FHS senior linebacker Will Pearman, who ended with eight total tackles. “They came out and were swinging hard, just like we were.

“They were a good team, and the first half we just didn’t play like a championship team, like we should have been,” Pearman added.

Senior Zach Allen returned the third-quarter opening kick-off — a pooch kick — 70 yards almost untouched down the left sideline to put Farragut up 17-7.

“You could tell we were just more ready to play in the second half,” Allen said.

At safety defensively, Allen’s seven tackles, six solo, came with one interception and general praise from head coach Eddie Courtney.

Courtney added about the team, “I’m glad the way the kids responded in the second half. We came out and got ignited on that kick-off return. From there on out we played pretty good football except for penalties.”

Of 22 penalties accessed in the game, several were holding calls on Farragut. “That’s entirely too many penalties for a playoff game,” Courtney said. “That’s just not being focused enough to do what you’re supposed to do.”

A 67-yard scoring drive on FHS’s next possession ended with a Sterling 15-yard TD run to make it 24-7 at the 5:52 mark of the third quarter.

Sterling then provided Farragut second huge touchdown play, getting loose up the middle then cutting outside on an 84-yard TD scamper with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

Sophomore Lee Van Dyne scored from 15 yards out with 3:10 remaining. The sophomore ended with 44 yards rushing on seven attempts.

The Admirals still had one more huge offensive touchdown play waiting to happen. Sophomore runingback Chris Bass ended the game with 59-yard scoring run, breaking about three tackles and winning rave reviews in the FHS post-game on-field huddle.

“It felt good, I just wanted to get in there, I got it done,” Bass said, adding that Sterling “is a great back to look up to. I try to learn from him.”

Admiral quarterback Andrew Martland scored on a one-yard sneak that provided the game’s first points with 1:09 left in the first quarter, capping an 86-yard, 14-play drive.

Martland was 10-of-21 passing for 92 yards, finding seven different receivers: Zach Allen, 4 catches for 43 yards and one catch each for Sterling, Van Dyne, Lawton Johnson, Alex Encarnacion, Cody Harvey and David Allen.

Defensively, senior linebacker Micah Devan won coach Courtney’s praise while leading Farragut with 17 total tackles, nine solo, including two for minus yardage and one sack.

Devan’s placekicking provided perfect results: 5-of-5 on extra points plus nailing a 42-yard field goal.

Other top FHS defenders were Josh Morrison’s eight stops, three solo with one sack and one fumble recovery.

Ty Canan ended with five solo stops, including two minus yardage; J.T. Doucette with five total tackles, four solo including one minus yardage; Alex Johnson also had five tackles, four solo, with two minus yardage; Trevoris Bogan with four stops, three solo, and Jonathan Moskal and Austin Bolen, three apiece.

About adjusting to a JCHS veer offense that moved the ball effectively at times in the first half, Johnson said the coaches advised “to get back to fundamentals, keep your gaps, stay low and make the plays. At halftime we turned it around and got ready to play.”

Jeff Jameson, Kent Reinhart, Encarnacion, Brandon Hylton and Taylor Fry had two tackles each, with Reinhart recording a sack and minus yardage hit, and Fry a minus yardage stop.

Jacob Velba, Greg Griceo, Derek Harper and Nathan Gibson each had one tackle.

Region 1-5A’s No. 4 seed, Jefferson County ends with a 6-5 overall record.


A predominantly running team (I-formation), Courtney said Dobyns-Bennett is led offensively by the rushing of freshman tailback Chris Sensabaugh. Sensabaugh rushed for 115 yards on 22 carries last week versus Oak Ridge.

“They’ve got such a good running game … the fullback and tailback are both active in their offense … they run it inside and outside,” the coach said. “On average I’d say they throw less than 10 times a game.”

Defensively, “They’re a three-three stack team like us, they blitz a lot, they come out you,” Courtney said.

In terms of size comparisons, “I think we’re pretty well equal … two pretty good-sized teams.”

Keys to success? “We’ve got to execute and not have penalties on offense,” Courtney said. “On defense we’ve got to play assignment football and try and keep them contained.”

Courtney said his Admirals were in generally good health entering the week, aside from the normal bangs and bruises.


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