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Lyle once again leads FHS freshmen to grid title game

The freshmen at Farragut High School have had another winning football season under head coach Ben Lyle.

The Ads won 6 of 11 games while beating all of its conference opponents, as Lyle took FHS to the region freshman football championship for the third time in four years.

Even though the team did not come out on top against the Ooltewah Owls in the title game Saturday, Nov. 3, in Athens, Lyle said he saw good talent that was making its way to varsity.

“We try to make it fun, we don’t want to run kids off,” Lyle said. “We did our job if a class of guys can stay together through senior year, and that’s a great feeling.”

Lyle has been working in Farragut football since 1987 and has been a position coach, including offensive coordinator, for the varsity team.

He moved to head freshman coach four years ago, which was the year the current FHS seniors won the championship — ironically against Ooltewah.

Lyle said he tries to teach fundamentals while also trying to find and settle players into a position that would suit them on the varsity team. Lyle is accompanied by his defensive coordinator, Alex White, who also has been with the program for a number of years.

“Out of 11 games we have had four shutouts, which we won pretty handily” Lyle said. “Coach White does a great job with our defense and we are lucky to have him.”

Lyle is also accompanied by Danny Gosnell, a long-time follower and fan of the Admirals. Gosnell coaches the defensive backs and dabbles wherever his services are needed.

His defensive backs include Jason Bodak, who led the team in interceptions. There is also a strong linebacker core that includes defensive leader Brooks Harper, Nick Mencer and William Park.

The defensive front that has been putting on the pressure all season long are Justin Poplawski, Caleb McDonald and Casey Hart.

Farragut’s offense is mainly a rushing team, much like the varsity Admirals. So the offensive line has to be pretty stout, and Lyle made a point to give credit where credit’s due.

“They all blocked well all season long, and stayed very consistent.” Lyle said.

The O-line includes team captain, center Bobby Fricks, along with Robbie Leonard, Connor Scourby, Matthew Bates, Zach Savell and tight end Conner Taylor.

The offense did run into a few snags this season due to injuries, but Lyle had solutions to that problem — trick plays. He likes to take risks and incorporate plays such as flea flickers, double passes and reverses.

“I like to try and spark creativity by using those plays,” Lyle said.

On the receiving end of those plays are the receivers coached by Lyle’s former player, Ricky McCollum, who came to the team in mid-season to help out the receiving core.

Other Admiral receivers are Walter Patrick, Alex Farmer and James Elajam. The leading rushers on the team are Montre’ Hudson, Elliott Jetton and Brooks Harper.

Quarterbacks Chad Borry and Bryan Tillman shared time throughout the season.

The Admirals’ place-kicker, Zach Hammond, did not miss an extra point all season.


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