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Courtney faces one game suspension, FHS $250 fine, after ejection in No. 1 Admirals’ 31-3 loss to No. 9 Ooltewah

CHATTANOOGA — Farragut High School football paid a heavy price on two fronts traveling to Ooltewah last Friday.

It was ugly enough that former No. 1 state-ranked FHS was overwhelmed on the line of scrimmage and whipped 31-3 by the previously No. 9-ranked Owls.

Add to that the tirade, and subsequent ejection, fine and suspension of Admirals head coach Eddie Courtney.

Courtney, ejected late in the third quarter after vehemently protesting a no-call when his quarterback, Reese Browning, was hit well after throwing a pass downfield, will be suspended by Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association for at least one game — minimum standard punishment — while FHS will be fined $250.

Gene Menees, TSSAA assistant executive director, said the fine and suspension are “minimum” penalties for a coaching ejection that could increase, for example, if unruly behavior was said to have continued after the ejection.

Menees said that evaluation begins with the referee’s report, required to be filed with TSSAA wherever there’s an ejection.

“If there’s more to it that ejection, walking off the field, then this office will get involved in regard to Farragut High School,” Menees said. “If there is something in the report that would mandate a further call to [FHS] in regard to a [coach’s] actions Friday night, then we’ll make the phone call to the administration of that particular school.”

Menees added, “In most cases, if we deem more action needs to be taken, the school will take it.” He gave no timetable for TSSAA evaluation of the report.

Courtney — who threw an official’s flag after being called for unsportsmanlike conduct, flung a clipboard according to a Chattanooga Times Free Press story and had to be restrained from reaching the referee — was apologetic two days later and said the final “verdict” on his punishment wasn’t expected until later this week (after press deadline).

“Everybody who knows me, known me for 30 years, [knows] I’d never reacted in a way that I didn’t think was appropriate. I’m not proud of what happened,” he said. “Like I told my team — I apologized to them — I don’t behave that way, I always believe in playing with class … I’ve always tried to stress staying under control.

“But the play, in particular, was a play that I strongly felt like was a flagrant hit … when you lead with your helmet that’s illegal, can’t do it, supposed to be spearing, as well as bringing a forearm, that’s an illegal hit,” he added. “It was no call, and I was upset.”


The running of Matthew Polk, the first-half passing combo of quarterback Brady Reed and Geno Norwood and, perhaps most notably, the Owls’ physical, quick and huge defensive line — Que Jackson, Brandon Bruell, Kevin Adams and Jaques Smith — combined to control the game.

“They were really good up front and made it tough,” FHS offensive coordinator David Sweetland said. “We haven’t seen quickness like that upfront all year. Really hard to simulate in practice. The first time they get out there it’s a shock for ’em to see how quick and how athletic these big guys are.

“When we started doing anything downfield they got pressure on us.”

Polk, who rushed 28 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns, led an OHS offense with 294 yards total offense compared to FHS’s 185. Ooltewah improves 6-1, 5-0.

The Admirals, falling to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in 2-5A, actually broke ahead 3-0 after recovering an OHS fumble. Christian Ponce nailed a 44-yard field goal with 3:37 left in the first quarter.

Alex Encarnacion, FHS senior linebacker/running back, ran four times late in the fourth quarter for 74 yards. “Alex Encarnacion, on both sides of the ball … came in and ran the ball tough and played hard on defense,” Sweetland said, as the senior filled in at running back despite very few practice reps. “That’s the type of kid that’s going to pull us back together.”

Encarnacion filled in for a depleted running corps after the first-quarter rib injury to junior DeAndre Purty. He did not return.

“I think that [explained] some of the ineffectiveness in the running game, him being hurt, too,” Sweetland said. “Purty, I think he’s going to be able to play next [game].”

Also injured is junior starting running back Motre Hudson.

Brooks Harper, sophomore linebacker, led the Ads in tackles with eight, six solo, followed by junior nose guard Greg Grieco and Taylor Fry, senior outside linebacker, with seven each. Senior linebackers Jonathan Moskal and Terry Wheatley each had five.

Courtney will miss Friday’s Region 2-5A showdown versus red-hot Soddy-Daisy, tied with Ooltewah for the region lead at 5-0, 7-1 overall. Opening kickoff at SDHS is 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24.


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