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What a grind
Ads hold off Bearden 10-3 in classic defensive playoff slugfest; MHS rematch in quarterfinals


An offensive shootout on wet grounds in the regular season at Bearden became a playoff defensive grind on a dry but cool November evening at Farragut.

But to Admiral Nation relief, the outcome was the same as the 42-17 regular season win — though much closer.

Farragut’s 10 points on its first two possessions of the game had to stand up, and did thanks to containing Devrin Young (21 rushes, 107 yards) and greatly limiting Bearden’s passing attack (12 of 23, 101 yards).


The Admirals (10-2) survived Bearden, 10-3, Friday, Nov. 13, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field, setting up a showdown-rematch with Maryville [11-1] next Friday, Nov. 20, in the Class 6A quarterfinals at MHS. Opening kickoff is 7 p.m.

“Our defense stepped up tonight,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said. “We challenged those guys the last two weeks.

“Those front guys have done that all year. ... They allow the other guys on defense to make plays,” he added.

About slowing down Young, Bearden’s speedy junior runner with 1,362 yards and 19 touchdowns entering the game,” FHS standout senior defensive end Greg Grieco weighed in.

“The key to winning this game was containing him and not letting him get to the outside, force everything back inside, back to the linebackers,” said Grieco, who made a handful of key stops including one critical sack assist.

Up 10-3 and facing fourth-and-1 iat ts own 49 with about four minutes to play, Farragut gambled.

And won.

Senior runner DeAndre Purty, who rushed for 142 yards on 18 carries, broke through congestion and raced to the Bulldogs 30.

A Dillion Wilker sack and another tackle for minus-6, however, gave Bearden one more offensive chance.

The Bulldogs (9-3) took over at its 22 with 1:42 remaining.

But after an attempted flea-flicker was dropped before it could be pitched, the Bulldogs fired incomplete deep.

Gabe White, FHS standout senior defensive end with 11 total tackles, joined Grieco to sack Bearden quarterback Kyle Riemer for minus-13, leaving BHS fourth-and-23 at its 9 with 50 seconds left.

A long pass near midfield was broken up to end the game.

“A great team win,” Courtney said. “Our kids showed great poise and toughness at the end.”

Ryan Walker, FHS senior linebacker, said his team displayed “championship ‘D’ ... that’s what it comes down to in the playoffs.

“We ran some nickel [pass coverage] on long situations and held them,” Walker added. “Got a good rush from our D-line, helped us out a lot. That’s why we got the interception we got.”

Farragut’s lone first-half touchdown was a 14-play, 94-yard march on its first possession.

Quarterback Reese Browning’s passes to primary wideout target Lee Van Dyne, of 18 and 14 yards, plus a 10-yard toss to David Allen keyed the early part of the march.

Browning finished 16 of 28 passing for 193 yards.

Purty’s 13-yard draw, which went for 40 yards before an FHS hold, still took the Ads to the Bearden 33. Montre Hudson ran for seven before Van Dyne capped the drive.

The senior out-battled a BHS defensive back down the left end zone sideline and hauled in Browning’s 20-yard lob TD pass with 3:15 left in the first quarter.

Ending with nine catches for 122 yards, Van Dyne wasn’t done making things happen.

As a defensive back, he stole a long Riemer pass for an interception, out-battling the receiver at the FHS 32.

From there, Browning hit Brad Galloway for 14 before Purty got loose on a third-down draw for 20 to the BHS 22.

Wilker, Bulldogs senior defensive end who led BHS with 11 total tackles, seven being solo including five for minus yardage, tackled Taino Perez for a three-yard loss on second-and-one at the 13.

The Admirals were stopped, but Christian Ponce nailed a 33-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 10:14 left in the first half.

Peyton Landers’ option pass on a fake punt found a wide open A.J. Scalf at the FHS 20, continuing a Dawgs drive starting at its own 20.

Bearden reached the FHS 2, but Farragut defense back Nathan Gibson’s interception 1-yard deep into the end zone came with 4:50 left in the half.

But the Bulldogs returned the favor, as Farragut’s late first-half march to the BHS 22 ended with Michael Williams interception and 35-yard return with 1.6 seconds left in the half. Williams later stopped an FHS drive with a fumble recovery at the Bearden 35.

Bearden drew first blood after the break when Bulldogs kicker Ben Sisco nailed a 35-yard field goal with 8:08 left in the third quarter.

A 12-yard Young run and 18-yard toss to Aaron Archer, plus a roughing the passer call, moved Bearden from its 42 to the FHS 9 late in the third quarter looking for the tie.

But after a Grieco hit on Young for minus-2, Riemer was called for intentional grounding — placing the ball all the way back to the 31.

After another incompletion, Sisco’s 48-yard field goal fell short on the first play of the fourth quarter.

As for other top FHS defenders, “I think Brooks Harper had some hits tonight,” Courtney said about his junior middle linebacker, who led FHS with 11 total tackles, seven solo.

Harper said, “The key was our defensive line. We really had to get pressure on the quarterback.”

Jacob Johnson, FHS sophomore defensive back, had eight tackles.

About his offense failing to score a point the last 34 minutes of the game, Courtney said, “You’ve got to remember, we had two freshmen offensive linemen out there [Patrick Doucette, Brett Dockery]. But they play like upperclassmen.

“Bearden was physically really getting after us up front in the second quarter,” he added. “Their defense kept pushing and pushing. And we just couldn’t make a play to get any more opening there.”

Landers and Drew Williamson, Bulldog linebackers, each finished with 10 total tackles. Adam Robertson and Logan Candela each had seven total stops.

 

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