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Local FHS football historian publishes book

The grand man of Farragut High School football as a player, volunteer and avid fan saw the first-ever Admirals touchdown in the days of leather helmets and Royal Blue team colors.

That was the inaugural season of 1947, when Clyde Floyd was just a curious eighth-grade Farragut student.

“I had seen the first touchdown that Farragut ever scored in ’47, went down on a student bus to Tyner in Chattanooga … we recovered a fumble in the end zone [FHS lost 21-13],” said Floyd, FHS Class of 1952 who played on the 1950 and ’51 Admirals teams as a defensive end/cornerback.

Who better than Floyd, someone who’s eaten and slept FHS Admirals football for 62 seasons, to compile a book on the program’s history? “Farragut Foot-ball, A Retrospective 1947-2007” is five chapters and about 100 pages of scores, records and interesting facts coupled with color pictures on the history of Farragut High School football. Cost is $20.

“And since I was on the chain gang all of those years I guess I was just the one to do it,” said Floyd, who retired as a member of the FHS “chain gang,” volunteers who hold first down markers, after 45 years of service.

“Here we were the biggest high school in the state of Tennessee and we did not know what our [historical] record was. Nobody had done anything, period.”

Some of the most interesting facts? “I found out we intercepted five passes in one game,” Floyd said of a game in the 1960s. “I never knew that, nobody else in the world knew that.”

That record recently was tied, however. “Last Friday night against Bearden [Sept. 12 at FHS] we intercepted five passes,” Floyd added about the Admirals’ 48-10 victory against its archrival.

“One of the most amazing stats, record-wise, was this past career of Andre Sterling,” Floyd said of the former Admiral All-state runningback (2004-07) who signed with Ole Miss. “He carried the ball 844 times and fumbled the ball three times.”

Favorite player whose statistics help fill the book? “I think Neil Clabo was probably the best all-around athlete that I’ve ever seen, he’s the only All-American we’ve ever had,” Floyd said of the former Admiral standout (1967-69) who went on to punt at UT and in the NFL.

Favorite teams among those first 61? “The 1978 team was probably the best team, in my opinion,” Floyd said. “We had three sign with [Division] One schools: Bill Bates [UT and Dallas Cowboys defensive back], Rusty Rennie and Jeff York.”

Floyd said he’s amazed at how Farragut went from a tiny farm community school with small rosters in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s into one of the largest schools in the state with rosters and success to match. “When I played Farragut football down here in ’50 and ’51 we had a little less than 150 in school,” he said. “Now we’ve got more than 2,000.”

On the field, “The size, the speed, it’s altogether different. They will kill you now.”

A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, Floyd said his first inspiration for compiling statistics and pictures for an eventual book came “in the early ’80s, but I had a lot of stuff before that.”

But the book actually started taking form earlier this year and took “four-to-six months” to complete.

Floyd, 74, said his 60-plus years of Admiral football documentation was secured “in a lot of boxes, but I also had to research information. Newspapers, Lawson-McGee Library microfiche … going back to the ’40s,” Floyd said. “I got it from past coaches, current coaches, past players, scrapbooks, annuals and like I said in the book, ‘sometimes memories,’ but it was confirmed memories.”

Floyd said the task often proved difficult because “some coaches didn’t even keep records. I’d have to go downtown to the microfiche department. … sometimes I’d check out the wrong microfiche and take it back.”

You can find out who scored the first-ever FHS touchdown — and the biggest member of that 1947 team — all 155 pounds of him — in Floyd’s book.

Copies can be obtained at farragutpress, 11863 Kingston Pike, Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce office, FHS Football Boosters Club stand during home football games or from Floyd himself by calling 865-966-1582.


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