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Irish, FHS state titles highlight 2008

Knoxville Catholic High School had breakthrough athletic success in ‘08 — the school’s first-ever state championships in any sport, spanning 76 years: tennis and boys soccer in spring (Class A/AA) and a perfect 15-0 record to claim the Class 3A football title in December, pictured right.

Meanwhile, Farragut High School baseball won its fourth Class AAA state championships in six years after a 10-6 win against Bartlett in the championship game Friday, May 23, at Lipscomb University. Head coach Tommy Pharr’s team finished with a 43-3 record.

In October, head coach Scott McKenzie led Farragut High School’s “Big Five” on the links to winning the Class AAA Boys State Golf championship in a rain-shortened 18-hole event at Old Fort Golf Club in Murfreesboro.

Christian Academy of Knoxville’s girl’s soccer team won its second Class A/AA state crown in three years last fall.

Webb School of Knoxville’s biggest “Glory” in 2008 was a girl named Johnson. Lady Spartans two-sport star Glory Johnson not only earned her second Tennessee Miss Basketball honor in Division II, but the 6-foot-3 post also was named an All-American who by year’s end was one of Pat Summitt’s main young scoring threats as a freshman Tennessee Lady Vol. Johnson also carried home a pair of Division II track state crowns, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

During January, Farragut High School’s Swim & Dive team ended Bearden’s three-year reign of Knox-area Inter-scholastic Swim Meet, or “City Meet,” championships with 722 points versus 626 for runner-up BHS.

February saw Andre Sterling, Farragut High School senior running back who gained 5,989 yards and scored 72 touchdowns in four seasons with the Admirals, sign with the University of Mississippi.

April 10- It was an-nounced Tennessee football legend Johnny Majors would spearhead a Bearden High School football fund-raising effort as featured speaker at the inaugural Bearden Bash, a fund-raising dinner Friday, April 11, in The Foundry intended to jump-start funding for a Bulldog football fieldhouse. Estimated cost is around $750,000 for a roughly 10,000-square-foot cinderblock building according to BHS head coach Brad Taylor.

In May, Farragut High School’s baseball Admirals crushed Sullivan South 13-0 in a Class AAA sectional game at FHS’s John Heatherly Field, to assure the Admirals a spot in the 2008 State Tournament.

Also in May, a four-run sixth inning helped the Farragut Lady Admirals erase a 2-1 Morristown East lead and head to the Class AAA state tournament with a 5-2 1-AAA Sec-tional victory at FHS’s Bellamy Field. Head coach David Moore’s Lady Ad-mirals would go on to capture third-place in the state tourney (33-11 record).

History was made with Knoxville Catholic High School athletics — times two in May.

The school’s first-ever TSSAA team state championship in any sport was earned in boys tennis, edging University School of Jackson 4-3 May 21, in Murfree-sboro.

Mark Leader’s Knoxville Catholic boys soccer team dethroned five-time defending Class A/AA state champ Christian Academy of Knoxville to win the program’s first-ever state title. Leader’s boys finished with a 26-2 record.

In June, Jarrod Lyle of Melbourne, Australia, spoke glowingly of Fox Den Country Club’s golf course and Food City’s chain of “fabulous” supermarkets after winning the 19th annual Knoxville Open Presented by Food City. Lyle posted a 72-hole 19-under score (269) and collected a $90,000 championship check after his short birdie putt on sudden-death hole No. 18 was good enough to edge out Chris Kirk, Sea Island, Ga.

June also saw construction continuing on Farragut Stadium Bill Clabo Field as the school demolished the 30-year-old concrete high school stadium. All signs of stadium blea-cher concrete were gone by mon-th’s end, to be replaced by aluminum stands with a similar seating capacity — and a climate-controlled pressbox.

In July, a Westside rodeo standout earned top honors in the Peach State. Haley Newport, a junior at Bearden High School, was named Georgia High School Rodeo Queen for 2008-09 along with Wrangler Barrel Racing champ at the Georgia Rodeo Finals in Perry, Ga., May 30-June 1. Traveling to what is billed as “The World’s Largest Rodeo” in Farmington, N.M., Newport went on to compete in barrel racing as part of the Georgia High School Rodeo team. The 60th Annual National High School Finals Rodeo Sunday-Saturday, July 20-26, featured more than 1,500 contestants from 41 states plus Canada and Australia.

In July, Farragut rising sophomores Philip Pfeifer, standout pitcher, and Nicky Delmonico, starting second baseman, were among USA Baseball 16U 22-man national team that would contribute toward a gold metal during international tournament in early August. Tommy Pharr, FHS head coach who has led the Admirals to four Class AAA state titles, earned his own national recognition. Pharr was named an assistant coach on USA Baseball’s 18U National Team playing in an international tourney in Canada.

Also in July, Cade Stallings, standout Farragut High School third baseman and All-state honoree, was selected as one of three high school players from Tennessee to play in the Area Code Games as part of The Fourth Annual Major League Baseball Symp-osium.

Later in the month, Farragut High School football’s 7-on-7 passing league team won the adidas 7-on-7 Regional Championship at The University of Tennessee’s Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. The victory earned Farragut a trip to the national tournament.

Rod Sutch, Senior Olympics badminton phenom from West Knox County, collected yet another singles state title in July, and with wife Lovella’s help, also collected a state doubles crown. Sutch in singles and the couple in mixed doubles qualify for the National Senior Olympics, to be played at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., next year.

In August, Wes Edmonds was elevated from Farragut High School girls varsity basketball assistant to the head coaching position. Scott McKenzie, who took over the golf program, led FHS boys track and field to three consecutive state titles.

In August, FHS raced to have its new soccer stadium operational before the girls’ 2008 season ended. What was needed was roughly $50,000 for lighting — four poles — for the stadium’s location next to Farragut Intermediate School. Program activists and school officials never met the goal.

August also saw the resolution of a history of problems with Farragut High School’s football stadium restrooms, with the help of First Utility District, Knox County and town of Farragut officials.

Farragut High School’s new aluminum-bleachered Farragut Stadium at Bill Clabo Field also was completed in August. “The new stadium, I think, is fantastic,” said Michael Reynolds, FHS principal. “We’re excited about that. I think it’s been much better than I think anyone could have imagined. … I’m more pleased now than what I had seen with the drawings and things like that.”

In September, Farragut team unity took the form of Mohawk haircuts during the Admirals’ 48-10 blowout of rival Bearden Friday night, Sept. 12, at FHS.

Knoxville Catholic, the state’s No. 2-ranked Class 3A high school football team, pulled off a come-from-behind 20-16 victory against archrival Webb in Catholic’s Blaine Stadium Friday, Sept. 12. It marked the seventh straight Irish victory against the Spartans.

Eddie Courtney, Farragut High School football head coach, became the Admirals’ all-time winningest coach with his 88th career head coaching victory (13th season) after a 34-8 victory against rival Oak Ridge Friday, Oct. 31, at FHS.

In November, CAK realized two girls state soccer championships in three seasons. Head coach Nathan Pifer’s Lady Warriors (23-2-1) slipped past Franklin Road Academy 1-0 in the Class A/AA title game at Girls Prep-aratory School in Chatt-anooga.

Also in November, Farragut football again fell short despite its fourth consecutive trip to the Class 5A football state quarterfinals. For the second time in three seasons Ooltewah ended FHS state title hopes with a 14-7 win at OHS.

Newly-constructed Hardin Valley Academy’s Hawks and Lady Hawks played the program’s first-ever varsity basketball games, Tuesday, Nov. 18. At home in the HVA gymnasium, Hardin Valley’s girls and boys teams lost to Farragut.

In December, Daniel Hood upheld a recent tradition of Mr. Football excellence at Knoxville Catholic. Hood, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound standout lineman/tight-end who’s helped lead the undefeated Irish to the Class 3A state championship, was named Tennessee Titans Mr. Football 2008 among 3A linemen statewide. Meanwhile, Farragut All-state offensive lineman Will Jackson, a 6-foot-5, 278-pound Georgia Tech commitment, finished second among Class 5A Mr. Football linemen finalist.

December also saw Knoxville Catholic finally put an exclamation point on an undefeated football season. At Middle Tenn-essee State University’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 6, the Irish claimed the TSSAA Class 3A state championship with a 28-18 win against Memphis Mitchell. Catholic won the program’s first-ever state title and ended the season perfect at 15-0.

Bearden boys basketball finished the 2007-08 season with a 33-4 overall record, District 4-AAA Tournament title and four victories against archrival Farragut. The Bulldogs kept their dominance versus FHS alive and well in the team’s first meeting of the 2008-09 season Friday, Dec. 12, at BHS. With smothering defense and lots of depth, Bearden rolled past the Admirals 84-41 to stay unbeaten on the young season.

Hardin Valley Academy’s Lady Hawks’ 62-37 win against Halls High School Tuesday, Dec. 9, was the team’s first win in the first season by the school’s first basketball team.


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