Admirals win unexpected nailbiter

Admirals 31

Eagles 21

CORRYTON — There were lots of reasons to think Farragut would blow out Gibbs: last year’s one-sided game at FHS; the Eagles’ 34-point home loss to Campbell County one week earlier; a second-string quarterback and practically no passing game.

As it turned out, Gibbs used its double-slot triple option offense with enough power

up the gut [mostly Dalton Rodgers], enough speed outside [lots of Demarcus Hight] and good reads from its backup quarterback [Kolby Mundt] to go up 14-0 late in the first half and 21-7 midway into the third quarter. All without completing one pass.

The Admirals’ sputtering off-ense started clicking in the second half, however, and with a huge fourth-down stop at midfield late in the game that turned into a 31-yard fumble return, won this Friday, Aug. 27, unexpected nailbiter 31-21.

“We came out underestimating their offense and defense,” said Amon Johnson, senior running back/linebacker whose 2-yard run iced the game in the final seconds.

“The leaders, we all just took part of the team and we told everyone to just keep their heads up and get focused,” he added.

A 33-yard field goal by Joe Doyle with 3:43 to play, set

up by Cooper Hardin’s 31-yard fumble return, gave Farragut its first lead 24-21.

“We just weren’t focused. We came in thinking we were big stuff after winning big against Powell,” Hardin, also a senior linebacker, said. “We didn’t really listen to coaches when they said they were big, strong, tough, physical football team and they were going to take it to us for four quarters.

As for nuts and bolts reasons for Gibbs’ offensive success despite no passing threat, “Just bad angles, bad technique,” Hardin said.

Farragut’s defense did come to life in the final 18 minutes with two other fourth-down stands: one early in the fourth quarter ending at the FHS 29.

“We got things cleared up at halftime,” Hardin said.

Down 14-0 with just one minute left in the first half, the Admirals used a 47-yard drive to finally crack the end zone.

A 23-yard pass from quarterback Adam Fulton to receiver Braden Collins put FHS at the Gibbs 2. Hardin ran it home on the next play with just 35.4 seconds left in the half.

“We just weren’t that focused. … I had some lazy passes. We were kind of lazy in the first quarter,” Fulton, a senior, said. “… That first touchdown really got us back into knowing what we do.”

Strategically from Gibbs’ end, “Some of their blitzes, that’s probably what rattled me in the first half,” Fulton said. “Our O-line did a good job of responding to that in the second half.”

The Eagles (0-2) took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards to score highlighted by Demarcus Hight’s long scampers of 40 and 37 yards. He scored from 6 yards out making it 21-7.

Gibbs head coach Brad Conley said about his offense, “That’s just double-shot triple option, that’s old school football. Up front our offensive line got the movement that we needed. The kid that played quarterback for us tonight, for the most part, read [Farragut’s defense] really, really well.

Isaiah Gibbs’ 30-yard kickoff return set up a 67-yard Admirals TD drive highlighted by a 20-yard catch by Grayson Utterback, three Johnson runs for 23 yards and a 14-yard Hardin carry. Fulton’s 3-yard scoring pass to Utterback made it 21-14 with 4:52 left in the third.

One pass play tied the game less than three minutes later, coming one play after Farragut’s defense stopped Mundt’s fourth-and-2 run a yard short at the Admirals 44.

Collins was wide open down the left sideline, Gibbs’ cornerback fell down, and Dalton made the 56-yard TD connection for a 21-21 tie.

Gibbs drove to the Farragut 39, but Hight fumbled an end around on fourth-and-4 near midfield and Hardin scooped it up to set up Doyle’s field goal.