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4th-down improv: No. 1 Ads escape
FHS passing game heats up as winless Govs’ upset bid fails

Brad Galloway turned Farragut’s fourth-down misery into a fourth-down mini miracle.

Galloway, Admirals place-kicker, took a bad snap on a 23-yard field goal attempt against William Blount and, after looking to pass, stuck his head down and got a critical first down at the WBHS 3 late in the third quarter.

The play, which reversed four fourth-down failures by the Admirals in the first half — trailing the winless Govs 13-7 at halftime — allowed FHS to punch in a key insurance touchdown. The end result was a 28-13 Region 2-5A win Friday, Oct. 3, at FHS’s Farragut Stadium/Bill Clabo Field.

“I had no clue what to do, but after I got up and once I knew I got that first down I could barely breath, and was trembling so much,” said Galloway, whose top-ranked Class AAA team led only 14-13 at the time, late in the third quarter.

Rolling to the left after the bad snap on fourth-and-4, “I saw somebody there but he was covered up, so I just decided to tuck it in and run for the corner,” Galloway said. “I think I got hit on the five [yard line] and just tried to spin and reach the ball out and try and get over the line.”

Farragut quarterback Reese Browning — who finished 21-of-34 passing for 335 yards and three touchdowns — fired a 3-yard TD strike to Brady Evans, making it 21-13 with 1:57 left in the third quarter.

Nathan Gibson, Farragut safety/wide receiver, came up big on both sides of the ball in helping FHS (6-0, 3-0) seal the win.

Gibson’s interception of a Zach Witt pass at the Admiral 5 ended a potential Governor game-tying drive with 7:33 to play.

Eleven plays and 95 yards later Browning found a wide-open Gibson down the middle on a 15-yard touchdown strike with two minutes remaining.

“I was given a chance to play offense and defense tonight, I was just trying to make the most of it,” Gibson said, adding that on his interception, “The ball got tipped at the line and I came under it.”

About his TD catch, “We knew if that linebacker was blitzing the middle would open up and I’d be wide open,” Gibson added.

Gibson’s 11-yard catch was another key play in a drive that also included a 45-yard reception by Lee Van Dyne, who out-battled a defensive back down the right sideline.

Farragut took its first lead of the game on its opening possession of the second half, marching 65 yards in 12 plays. Austin Bolen capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown catch with 8:32 left in the third quarter.

In the first half, “They were moving around a lot, trying to confuse us, and it was kinda working,” Browning said of the Govs’ defense. “But then we started going no-huddle, which made ’em stop moving around so much so they couldn’t be calling it in from the sideline. That helped us out.”

Bolen, senior tight-end/defensive end, also had an interception and came up with a critical solo stop on a fourth-and-3 Govs run, killing a William Blount drive at the WBHS 45 late in the third quarter.

About the Admirals’ defense, Bolen said, “We came out flat at first, and then we kinda kept our composure — that’s the first time we’d been down by that much all year, by 13 points.

“But we just like to go out there and have fun as a defense and play as a team,” he added. “We just kept it under control and let things pan out.”

Jonathan Moskal, senior defensive back/linebacker, intercepted Witt with 38 seconds remaining.

Four times in the first half William Blount held the Admirals on fourth-down, beginning with a fourth-and-1 stop at midfield early in the first quarter.

William Blount answered with the game’s first score, needing just four plays to go 49 yards. Witt’s 24-yard TD pass to Robbie Irwin made it 7-0 with 7:50 left in the first quarter.

The Admirals marched from their own 16 to the WBHS 35 before a fourth-and-8 pass fell incomplete with 2:50 showing in the first quarter.

Again the Governors fed off momentum gained from its defense. Marching his team 65 yards in nine plays, Witt found Don Cope on a 23-yard scoring pass over the middle in the end zone at the 11:53 mark of the second quarter. The extra point was blocked.

Yet again an FHS drive ended with fourth-down failure, as Montre Hudson was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the WBHS 34. A 21-yard Van Dyne reception was wasted on that drive.

Farragut finally responded for its only first-half point, going 72 yards in just three plays.

A 48-yard Dane Winborne catch on a streak pattern down the left sideline was followed by DeAndre Purty’s 21-yard scamper of dancing around tackles or breaking them. Purty scored from the 3 with 5:37 left in the half.

An Alex Encarnacion interception of a Witt bomb landed FHS at its own 15 with 1:21 left — Encarnacion’s 50-yard return was wiped out by an illegal block.

Despite an impressive, quick march, the Admirals again failed on fourth down.

Gibson’s 16-yard reception and a 21-yard Van Dyne catch highlighted a drive that reached the WBHS 7. But three incompletions came before Galloway missed a 24-yard field goal with 23.7 seconds remaining.

But Galloway, 4-of-4 on extra points, later made amends.

About his huge off-the-cuff run, “They were all pretty excited, they were all giving me high-fives,” Galloway said of his teammates.

Friday, Oct. 10, is Football Homecoming at FHS, as region foe Bradley Central rolls into Farragut. Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.


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