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Westside football 2009: changes for Farragut, Bearden
Dobyns-Bennett, Riverdale, OR on FHS non-district slate

(Final in a two-part series)

Farragut’s 2009 football schedule in newly formed District 4-AAA includes Maryville and its seven Class 4A state titles the past 10 years and defending Class 3A state champ Knoxville Catholic.

And never forget about archrival Bearden — at BHS this fall on Week 7, Oct. 9.

But beyond those rigors, FHS head coach Eddie Courtney has lined up three perennial Class 5A powers on his non-district slate: at Murfreesboro Riverdale (Week 5, Sept 25); hosting Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett to open the season (Week 0, Aug. 21) along with rival Oak Ridge (at ORHS Week 1, Aug. 28).

About the tough non-district schedule, Courtney said, “We feel like that with our program and with our kids and what we’ve tried to establish you’ve got to play the best to continue to be the best.

“We’re excited about it and we’re trying to take one game a year and go away [Riverdale in ’09, Dobyns-Bennett in 2010].” Courtney said he had “early contact” with both Oak Ridge and Dobyns-Bennett to play the next two seasons prior to the District 4-AAA schedule being announced.

Courtney said although the contracts haven’t been signed and delivered to make it official, Riverdale and FHS “have a verbal agreement” to play the next two seasons, with Riverdale visiting FHS in 2010.

Despite no signed contract to play Oak Ridge, Courtney said the Admirals “are on” to play the Wildcats — who is seeking a new head coach. “I talked to their [athletic director] the other day … I expect their contract any day.”

Courtney said he “tried to work with schools around the area” but couldn’t work out a deal. “But we think we got what we wanted out of our schedule,” the FHS skipper said. “I contacted 19 schools … but then we moved on because I didn’t want to get stuck still looking for games right now.”

Courtney said he did not consider a West Tennessee opponent nor did consider traveling out of state.

Courtney said the Ads’ Sept 4 home battle versus defending Class 3A state champ Knoxville Catholic is the first time FHS has played the Irish in his coaching career. “I can’t imagine a [district] that’s going to be more competitive,” Courtney said, adding that coach Mark Pemberton’s KCHS Irish “are a great program.”

While Catholic and FHS having met just one time ever — a 21-7 Irish win in 1965 — Maryville holds a 5-2 series edge against Farragut, with the last game a 17-14 MHS victory in 1992. About the Rebels, “They’re a class program, I can’t think of a man [MHS head coach George Quarles] as far as in this state in recent years who’s established the reputation he has,” Courtney said. “Not only the football team, but the type of man he is in the program, the way he conducts himself, first class. That’s exciting, that’s something we want to try to compete with.”

Perhaps Farragut’s toughest stretch finds the Admirals hosting Maryville in Week 8, Oct. 14, the week after traveling to Bearden.

“You draw a number at your district meeting … the formula was already set out,” Courtney said, adding the Admirals already have faced similar challenges at the end of their Region 2-5A schedule with Ooltewah, Soddy-Daisy and Oak Ridge. “It’s something we’ve been doing for years as far as playing good people back-to-back, certainly in that part of the season.”

While saying he’s “excited” about the challenges of a new schedule, Courtney finds no enthusiasm about playoff qualifying criteria for teams not winning their district.

In the former region system, “You knew by weeks 8, 9, 10 where you fall and whether you’re in the playoffs,” Courtney said. “The only thing I’m still skeptical about is about that at-large wild card stuff.

“There’s going to be somebody that feels they’re getting messed over. I’d rather it be played on the field to determine than somebody else choosing who’s going to go and who doesn’t go.”

Other 4-AAA rivals are William Blount, Heritage, West, Lenoir City.

FHS Football 2009

Aug. 21 Dobyns-Bennett

Aug. 28 at Oak Ridge (T)

Sept. 4 Knox Catholic•

Sept. 11 Bye

Sept. 18 at West•

Sept. 25 at Riverdale (T)

Oct. 2 Heritage•

Oct. 9 at Bearden•

Oct. 16 Maryville•

Oct. 23 at Lenoir City•

Oct. 30 William Blount•

Bold – home games

• - denotes District 4-AAA games

T- game tentatively set


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