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A trio of Farragut defenders bring down Riverdale running back Marcellous Odom, including senior linebacker Ryan Walker (28).- Alan Sloan/farragutpress
MURFREESBORO — Seemingly reverting back to its tradition-rich era when Riverdale won four state titles [1994-2004], the Warriors’ offense was big enough and elusive enough to keep Farragut’s defense on the field much too long.

Though the No. 1-ranked Class 6A Admirals returned the favor with its blend of run and pass, two failed FHS series early in the third quarter — one setting up the Warriors’ first touchdown — made a huge difference Friday night.

Despite having just six possessions, Riverdale’s wing-T offense moved the ball, ate up clock, never punted and committed no turnovers.

And with a handful of clutch plays from senior quarterback Cody West, the state’s No. 9-ranked 6A Warriors drove down for a game-winning 27-yard field goal with 38.8 seconds to play for an exciting 20-17 win in RHS’s Tomahawk Stadium Sept. 25.

“In the second half they came out and they made more plays against our defense than they did in the first half,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said. “We played pretty good defense in the first half. In the second half it was back and forth. They just made a few more plays than we did.

“We just didn’t get a turnover on defense, we didn’t get any interceptions, any fumble recoveries, we didn’t get anything,” Courtney added. “That’s one thing that we’ve got to do better.

Defensive problems? “That’s on me … that’s my bad, I take the blame for that,” Courtney said.

Offensively for FHS, “They did their part, but they’d like to have had one or two more big plays,” Courtney said. “We let them keep the ball too long and kept our offense off the field, and that’s a credit to them.

“I just wish we’d played better defensively.”

Nathan Gibson, senior defensive back/wide receiver, said about Riverdale’s size, “We had never faced a team that averages 285 up front. And we usually don’t play against the wing-T in East Tennessee. Both the scheme and the size definitely hurt us tonight.”

Tied 10-10 late in the third quarter, Riverdale (5-1) marched 56 yards in 11 plays to take its first lead of the game, with the longest play a 10-yard run.

West’s 1-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave RHS a 17-10 lead.

But the Ads (4-1) responded. From its 31, FHS got an 11-yard run from DeAndre Purty, while David Allen hauled in an 11-yard pass from quarterback Reese Browning as key plays.

Montre Hudson’s 6-yard TD run tied the game with 6:59 to play.

A 26-yard pass and five West option keepers in the drive were huge, including a third-and-six at the FHS 36 for seven yards as Riverdale kept moving with under three minutes to play.

“On a couple of keeps he made some plays, got some first downs out of it; got some critical yards when we needed to try and get a turnover,” Courtney said.

Two more West keepers gained 15 yards to set-up Grayson Powell’s eventual game-winning field goal.

Gibson added, “It’s better to lose now than the playoffs — this is not a district game.”

Riverdale began the game driving from its own 20 to the FHS 31 before stalling, ending with Taino Perez tackling West on a fourth-and-14 run that fell eight yards short at the FHS 29.

Lee Van Dyne then hauled in Browning tosses as 18 and 10 yards and Hudson got loose for 13.

Allen was immediate hit — twice — at the RHS 9 after a catch over the middle, but the Ads senior spun off both licks and rambled 17 yards for the game’s first points with 3:09 left in the first quarter.

“David Allen made a couple of big, key catches when he got hit and held on to the ball,” Courtney said. “I commend him for that.”

Allen said, “Overall, I think we did really well. We moved the ball up and down the field.”

The Warriors again moved the ball — this time from its 20 to the FHS 1 — but again failed to score.

For the second straight possession, Perez made the big defensive stop. From the FHS 1, the junior defensive back zoomed in to knock down Marcellous Odom on a pitch at the FHS 5.

“He made some plays defensively we had to have,” Courtney said. “That’s the kind of plays we didn’t get enough of.”

Powell then missed a 22-yard field goal.

Farragut drove from its 20 to the Warriors 7, highlighted by a 14-yard Braden Urevich catch, a 10-yard Purty run, a 16-yard Allen reception and a 13-yard Van Dyne catch.

The drive stalled but Christian Ponce’s 24-yard field goal made it 10-0 at the 3:20 mark of the half. Ponce also had three end zone kickoffs and two extra points.

But the Warriors’ first points would be set up by Adam Davenport’s 47-yard kickoff return to the FHS 48.

Riverdale used a 15-yard pass to highlight its march to the FHS 6, where Powell converted a 24-yard field goal with 13.5 seconds left in the half.

After an interception to begin the third quarter, RHS got an 18-yard Odom run and 12-yard West option keep that preceded West’s 4-yard TD run, tying the game.

Farragut tries to bounce back during FHS Homecoming 2009, as Heritage comes to Bill Clabo Field Friday, Oct. 2.

Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


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