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Quarterfinal 5: another ‘L’
Despite Purty’s effort under adversity, Admirals fall to Maryville in 6A state quarterfinals

MARYVILLE — DeAndre Purty, a special Farragut football senior fighting off-the-field grief, appeared to have enjoyed one final moment of glory last Friday night.

But the second of two back-breaking events in the fourth quarter, an illegal block, nullified Purty’s 99-yard touchdown kickoff return against Maryville in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at MHS’s Bill Renfro Field Nov. 20.

The Rebels (12-1) pulled away late, winning 35-14 — with the game’s final score Lee Bristol’s leaping fingertip interception and 69-yard touchdown return with 10:44 left in the game.

“I can’t say enough about DeAndre, the heart of a champion,” FHS head coach Eddie Courtney said about his standout senior running back, playing with a heavy heart after his mother died just a few days earlier.

“He gave us everything he had, running that kickoff back. He played tremendous tonight.”

Purty, the team’s leading rusher the last two seasons who is known for a lethal combination of power and speed, said about his two years with FHS football, “It’s meant a lot to me.

“I was new last year and they treated me like I was a brother to them. Coach Courtney really helped me out and took me in, and he made sure I was taken care of every day and treated right.”

Reese Browning, FHS standout senior quarterback, said of Purty, “He’s my best friend. We all rallied around him.”

All FHS helmets featured a “CMP” sticker to honor Purty and his late mother, Candace Monique Purty. “The team decided to respectfully honor her,” Courtney said.

Purty was held to 50 yards on 15 carries for one touchdown, as FHS was held to 112 net yards rushing overall and was outgained in total yards, 397-273.

Farragut (10-3) faced an uphill climb trying to slow down Maryville’s potent offense that twice built 14-point leads.

“They made about three big plays in the second half and we couldn’t answer and make the plays,” said Courtney, whose Admirals lose in state quarterfinal playoff action for the fifth consecutive season.

“Our kids fought hard and played hard, we just couldn’t make some plays when we needed to.”

Maryville — led by senior quarterback Philip Juhlin (12 of 15 passing, 257 yards, three TDs) and receivers Desmund Horne and Stian Romberg — made it look like a rout early, first marching 80 yards for six points before going 87 yards for a 14-0 first quarter lead.

But Farragut responded with its own 14-point burst.

“I think it does say something about character, we just told the kids to settle down and play,” Courtney said. “I’m proud of the way they responded.”

A 17-yard toss from Browning (17 of 27 passing, 161 yards, one TD) over the middle to David Allen, on third-and-six deep in FHS territory, was critical.

Taino Perez picked up 18 and 9 yards with a pair of sideline receptions, then Allen got loose again over the middle for a 19-yard catch to the Rebels 5.

Purty scored from two yards out with 11:18 left in the first half.

Farragut’s defense then made a huge play to set up a tie game.

A minus-2 hit from junior linebacker Daniel Pitcher came before Juhlin was intercepted.

Thomas Jackson’s pick of a Juhlin toss over the middle was returned 15 yards to the MHS 8.

Browning wasted no time, lobbing into the right corner of the end zone to Lee Van Dyne for six. Christian Ponce’s second conversion kick, with 9:56 left in the first half, tied it 14-14.

But Juhlin heated up again, finding Jacob West for 26 yards over the middle, then hitting Romberg for 15 along the sideline as Maryville reached the Ads 7. Buddy Jones scored up the gut from there, making it 21-14 Rebs with 4:32 left in the half.

“A couple of times we got out of position,” Courtney said. “They are so balanced. “Juhlin’s also a good runner. … And they don’t make mistakes.”

Farragut responded. Van Dyne, as a running back, got 12 yards on two carries and 16 more on a draw to the MHS 30. A 7-yard toss to Brad Galloway and 10-yard sideline connection to Braden Urevick had Farragut to the MHS 13.

But Browning was sacked for minus-8, and Ponce’s 38-yard field goal sailed wide right on the final play of the first half.

Purty opened the second half with a 40-yard kickoff return, as Farragut reached the MHS 37 before stalling.

Brooks Harper, FHS junior linebacker who ended with a team-leading 11 total tackles, seven solo, sacked Juhlin for minus-10, as the Ads forced MHS’s first punt.

But the Rebels would go 77 yards to score on its next drive.

Nathan Gibson, senior defensive back, led FHS in solo stops with eight, plus two assisted.

Allen, a senior, said he’d miss “the camaraderie that we have on the team, something you can bond to in school that helps you get by.”

Gabe White, senior standout defensive lineman, said about his FHS years, “I loved every day of it. I never wanted to miss a practice. ... I’m going to miss it.”

Chris Bass, senior running back, said he’d “always followed the Admirals when I was a kid. ... I wish we could have gone further, but sometimes you don’t get to.”

Farragut also lost to Maryville, 35-32, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field Oct. 16.


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