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Bulldogs deliver the ‘Works’
Bearden faces defending state champion Smyrna Friday

Twelve angry men, “Down by the River,” leading the charge to end six seasons of frustration while creating a golden opportunity in the next two weeks.

In its 28-14 victory against archrival Farragut, Bearden’s 11 defensive players held standout Farragut runningback Andre Sterling to 95 yards rushing on 23 attempts and the Admirals to only 176 total yards.

And then there was Torey “Rockwood” Works on offense.

The senior Bulldog runningback/safety churned out 260 yards and four touchdowns as Bearden ended an eight-game losing streak to Farragut with the biggest stake ever in series history — the TSSAA state quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 23, at BHS’s Bill Young Field.

“That’s special, it’s special to do it this way, to beat Farragut,” BHS first-year head coach Brad Taylor said. “It had been awhile since we’ve beaten them, so that’s big. It’s exciting.

“Obviously Torey Works ran the ball fantastically,” Taylor added. “Our whole defense played unbelievably. “[Sterl-ing’s] a fantastic running back. To be able to contain him and stop him like we did is special, something that nobody’s been able to do all year.”

Next is defending Class 5A state champion Smyrna (10-3 record), on the road this Friday, Nov. 30, as the Bulldogs (12-1) are going to the state semi-finals for the first time in school history. Opening kick-off is 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST — see preview, page 12).

Works said, “We just wanted it real bad, I mean, we lost the first game (35-28 Sept. 14 in two overtimes) and we just said it ain’t gonna happen again — no more, no more, we’re making a stand right here, right now.

“Don’t be shy, don’t be timid, don’t let nobody stare you down and don’t you back down,” added Works, whose four-yard TD run with 3:49 to play broke a 14-14 tie. “You take the fight to them, you’ll win every time.”

While Works’ 51-yard scoring run with 1:52 put the game on ice and ended Farragut’s winning streak that began in 2002, the senior didn’t forget his defense.

“The defense played a heck of a game,” Works said. “They stepped up big. … The defense was just unbelievable tonight — defense won this ballgame.

“They stopped Andre in his tracks.”

Zach Allen, Farragut senior standout safety/wide receiver, said Bearden “just came out stronger, they took it to us. They were just well-prepared.”

About the 2007 FHS season (12-2) that included a Region 2-5A championship, capped with a 42-7 win at Oak Ridge, and top-five state ranking most of the season, Allen said, “Looking back at it we had a really successful year. It was a good ride.”

Celebrating after the game, BHS players came together for their “Down by the River” chant: “Down by the River, took a little walk; Ran into some Admirals … We threw them in the river … We don’t need no Admirals hanging around.”

Sean Cunningham, senior defensive back who had an interception, remembered a special former Bulldog.

“A monumental victory, we just came out and we played for [the late coach Bill] Wilson, heart and determination,” he said. “The Farragut Admirals weren’t gonna stop us. This was just a game, there was no curse, that all in your heads. We came out and played with hearts — we played for coach Wilson.”

About his defense, Cunningham said, “We have an awesome defensive coordinator, coach [Brian] Tanner.”

Bulldog defensive end Matt Williamson led BHS with eight tackles, including three for minus yardage.

“To tell you the truth we didn’t approach this game as a rivalry,” Williamson said. “We approached it as the third step in the playoffs. We’re thinking further ahead. But it sure does feel great.

“I think [not approaching the game as a rivalry] paid off, helped us keep our heads. Everything worked out.”

Bearden senior lineman Peter Shankles remembered an even bigger losing streak ending earlier this season. “Dobyns-Bennett had beaten us 14 times in a row,” Shankles said, as the Bulldogs finally beat KDB 8-7 Sept. 7. “We knew we could beat Farragut.

“We just gelled as a defense at the beginning of the post-season,” Shankles added. “We just came alive. It was a whole new defense. Holding Farragut to 14 points, that’s pretty amazing.”

Brandon Pemberton, BHS senior linebacker, said going to the semi-finals for the first time in school’s history “feels excellent. I can’t even explain it.”

Ryne Goodrich, BHS senior lineman, said the team “worked their hearts out” to get into the state semifinals.

Other key defensive players for Bearden included defensive tackle Josh Kelton, linebackers Preston Rouse and Nathan Hamilton, and defensive backs Cory Eichholtz and C.J. Gunn. Rouse was second in tackles with five.

Gunn, also a Bulldog wide receiver, said the win ranks “number one” in his athletic career.

Dawson Halliday, BHS senior quarterback/safety, said “words can’t describe the feeling I’m feeling right now. … It’s just amazing.”

Though Halliday was only 7-of-17 passing with two interceptions, the senior praised his teammates.

“It’s a really great feeling to know that it’s O-K for me to make mistakes because I’ve got teammates beside me to take care of me,” he said. “They’ve got my back.”

The first of Halliday’s two interceptions, picked off by Trevoris Bogan at the BHS 38 in the first quarter, didn’t result in any points thanks to the BHS defense.

“I put our team in some rough positions,” Halliday said.

Halliday’s second mistake, an Austin Bolen interception and 20-yard return to the BHS 24 with the score tied 14-14, seemingly added to Farragut’s momentum at the 6:57 mark of the third quarter.

Though FHS marched to the Bulldog 8, the BHS defense — which included Halliday at safety — stiffened and the Admirals missed a 25-yard field goal with 3:39 left in the quarter.

Farragut would earn just one more first down the rest of the game.

Eddie Courtney, FHS head coach, said in the fourth quarter “we just didn’t get some things done. … [Bearden] made plays, especially in the last five minutes, when they had to.

“I’m proud of our kids, we had a good season this year.”

As for Sterling, “They contained him pretty good,” the FHS coach added.

Aaron Gray, BHS senior receiver, said Bearden’s offensive line “is great, I’ve known those boys for a long time now. A lot of our success goes to them; a lot of people don’t realize that.”

That group features Alex Goltry, Shankles, Wes Moore, Jarrett Davis and Goodrich.

Tied 7-7 at the half, Bearden’s Brandon Sapp recovered a pooch kick-off fumble to begin the second half, then BHS drove 44 yards to score ending with Works’ two-yard TD run.

That Bulldog momentum began to wane when FHS quarterback Andrew Martland hit a wide open Lee Van Dyne with a 34-yard touchdown pass to tie it 14-14 with 6:27 left in the third quarter.

After Bolen recovered a fumbled punt late in the first quarter, Farragut drove 33 yards ending with a Sterling four-yard TD run with 27 seconds left in the quarter. The drive was highlighted by Allen, placekicking holder, running with a fake field goal for a first-down.

Bearden tied it 7-7 with a 59-yard drive highlighted by a 28-yard Halliday pass to Gray. Works scored from three yards out with 5:19 left in the first half.

Defensively for Farragut, senior linebacker Micah Devan led in solo tackles with seven followed by Alex Encarnacion and Taylor Fry with six each and Allen five solo stops.


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