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Browning likely out for Ads’ opener; Webb ‘D’ must improve

Webb hit Farragut in the mouth on its first play in Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic Kick-Off Classic action in Neyland Stadium Friday.

But the Admirals countered by pushing aside the Spartans’ defense to tie the issue in a 7-7 final Aug. 21, as both teams prepare for season openers this week.

With FHS standout senior quarterback Reese Browning still out recovering from a broken leg, FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said Browning likely will miss the season opener at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field versus Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Friday, Aug. 21.

“He’s a little bit ahead in his rehab, but we’re going to make sure he’s totally ready,” Courtney said. “Right now I don’t think he’ll play against Dobyns-Bennett because we want him to have a full week of practice. We’re going to make sure he’s a 100 percent before we put him on the field.”

But in week two against rival Oak Ridge at ORHS’ Blankenship Field, Courtney said “there’s a pretty good chance” Browning would start.

Browning did participate — in the pass-length halftime competition, winning with a 59-yard toss.

But the Admirals still were able to move the ball Friday as led by senior back-up quarterback Lee Van Dyne, normally the team’s top wide receiver threat.

Farragut’s offensive success, however, came only after the Spartans used a bit of trickery to begin the game — and score.

Webb junior quarterback Parker Wormsley threw a short pass to senior Clark Johnson, who lateraled to freshman running back Aaron Blance out of the backfield. Blance went untouched down the left sideline on a 70-yard touchdown play.

Trey Blakley added the point.

Blanche said, “Our offensive line executed to the fullest so Parker could get the ball off. Parker made an excellent pass, and we executed the play very well.”

But Webb head coach Dave Meske said about his defense, “We’ve got to get more consistent. Third-and-eight [situations], you’ve got to get off the field to win football games, and we’ve got to get that corrected.”

Farragut tied the game, going 70 yards, mainly behind the running of senior Deandre Purty, junior Montre Hudson and two big plays from senior David Allen.

Allen first hauled in a 17-yard pass from Van Dyne on a rollout. Allen, then lined up at quarterback on fourth down and a half-yard at the Webb 3, took a quarterback sneak and used his offensive line’s push to go all the way to paydirt.

“I thought our running backs did a really good job,” Courtney said, also including junior Taino Perez, senior Chris Bass, sophomore Jacob Johnson and junior Ben Colwell.

“With Lee Van Dyne playing at quarterback, I just thought our offense did a really good job.”

Christian Ponce’s kick made it 7-7 midway into the quarter.

Farragut forced a three-and-out on Webb’s second possession.

“I’m real pleased the way our defense responded,” Courtney said. “The defensive line’s done a good job for us in camp, they really have.”

The Admirals then drove 35 yards in nine plays and ended the game with Ponce falling short on a 52-yard field goal attempt.

Greg Grieco, FHS senior standout defensive end, said of his team’s readiness for the opener versus K-DB, “As far as ability-wise, I think we’re ready, definitely. Maybe there’s a lot of mental stuff [where] we need to get more prepared for a game mentally.”

Gabe White, the senior opposite Grieco at defensive end, said, “I think the team’s ready to play. Some younger guys just need to come together and get some more experience.”

Along the offensive line where experience is short, Courtney said, “We’ve moved some guys around, and they’re competing hard ... guys are challenging each other, they’re getting better.”

The starting line included freshman Brett Dockery at one tackle spot. “I thought he did pretty good,” Courtney said. “He handled himself pretty well.”

With Webb’s offensive and defensive line strength in question heading into the season opener at Central Friday, Aug. 21, Meske said, “I think we’re getting better. We scrimmaged Clinton [Aug. 12], and I thought we grew up a lot there and got a whole lot better.

“But we’ve still got a ways to go.”

Meske said of the Bobcats, “They’ve got a lot of speed, they’ve got a lot of athletes ... you can’t give up a bunch of big plays.

“You’ve got to be consistent on offense, and we’ve got to make some plays on defense, get some stops and get our offense on the field.”

Opening kick-off is 7:30 p.m.

Wormsley said about his offensive line, “Jay Werner’s the new center, and he’s been stepping up for us. ... I’m pretty confident in our line, they’ve been protecting me fine out there, and I’ve had plenty of time to throw the ball. In early scrimmages we’ve been running the ball well.”


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