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‘Purty’ good running late
Junior RB leads No. 1 Ads past McMinn with 2 late touchdowns

DeAndre Purty was one shining Admiral star who thought the luster was coming off his shine.

“I met with him this week and I told him, ‘just relax and be yourself, I want to see what you can really do,’” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said of his standout transfer runningback after struggling against Bearden Sept. 12. “He used to run a different style offense. Last week [versus Bearden] he got frustrated.

“Maybe we were putting too much on him last week.”

Guess who stepped up big-time just when McMinn County was looking for a historic upset victory.

On Farragut’s final two scoring drives, Purty rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns in leading the state’s No. 1-ranked Admirals past the Cherokees 28-10 in a Region 2-5A tilt at Bill Clabo Field/Farragut Stadium.

“Tonight he showed how physical he can be as a runningback,” Courtney said.

Purty said he “had to step it up because last week I just played horrible.” The junior scored on fourth-quarter runs of 13 and 29 yards to open up a close game after three quarters.

Purty also had runs of 24 and 9 on a 61-yard drive TD drive that began with a Dane Winborne interception at the FHS 39 with 9:35 remaining in the final quarter. His 13-yard scoring run made it 21-10.

“That was big,” Courtney said. “We needed that, used some clock, got physical and ran the football.”

After Alex Encarnacion’s tackle resulted in a failed fake punt attempt near midfield, Farragut (5-0, 2-0) took over at the MCHS 47 with 6:33 left and Purty went back to work.

Other than a 10-yard Reese Browning pass to David Allen, the other 37 yards belonged to Purty, whose 29-yard touchdown run came with 2:03 to play.

“He finds the holes, that’s all you can ask for,” said J.T. Doucette, FHS senior center.

But as a team whose offense struggled at times, “I think we just lost focus as a whole,” Doucette added.

Courtney said his Admirals “lost discipline” by having “foolish penalties” against an MCHS team he labeled “the best we’ve played so far.

“But we’ll learn from that,” the coach added. “This is a physical team, that’s what our region’s all about. … It helped our kids learn what the heat’s all about. They were putting great pressure on us. They were in our face a lot.”

McMinn was the best combination of “physical, speed and toughness” Farragut has faced so far, Courtney said.

“The kinda heat, pressure you’re going to get in a game like this, that’s what we’re going to see from here on out.”

With defenses ruling in a scoreless first quarter, the Admirals’ 57-yard, four-play TD drive ended with Browning’s deep lob pass to Lee Van Dyne, who went up over a Cherokee DB to haul in the 24-yard strike on the first play of the second quarter.

Purty’s 37-yard run was one of three big plays setting up Farragut’s 80-yard, four-play drive that ended with a 9-yard Winborne scoring reception with 2:20 left in the first half. A Van Dyne 16-yard catch and Brady Evans’ 18-yard grab also aided the cause.

McMinn hurried downfield and eventually settled for a 43-yard field goal with 53.8 seconds to go — and had a great chance for more.

An interception resulting from a dropped pass that was deflected to a McMinn defender landed the Cherokees at the FHS 30 at the 45-second mark.

Driving to the FHS 9, McMinn ran out of time following a Derek Harper sack on a play that began with 23 seconds showing.

But with Farragut’s offense struggling to find paydirt in the third quarter, the Cherokees (1-3, 0-2) used an interception to set up a touchdown that also killed an FHS drive reaching the McMinn 28.

A 31-yard return of that interception and subsequent 52-yard, 11-play TD drive ended with a four-yard run at the 4:02 mark of the quarter.

Praising his defensive line, Courtney said, “We really had to depend on them to make plays.”

Winborne added, “Our defense has been playing solid all year. … Our secondary, we’ve been doing good, our defensive line was getting pressure on the quarterback, flushing him out all night. Linebackers have been doing good.”

Farragut avenged an overtime loss at McMinn last year, the Admirals’ only regular season loss in 2007. The Ads enjoy an Open date this week.


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