OAK RIDGE — After two Oak Ridge drives netted 10 points
to begin the game, Farragut adjusted well to Clemson commitment Tee Higgins, superstar senior receiver, and the explosive Wildcats attack.
A 10-0 deficit turned into a 16-10 Admirals lead at halftime.
But three huge plays in
the second half from Jordan Graham, explosive sophomore running back, was the biggest difference in the Wildcats claiming a 30-25 Region 3-5A victory at Blankenship Field Friday evening, Sept. 2.
“We just felt like we had to get penetration and attack their run game. They ran misdirection stuff, so we tried to cave it down and keep it inside,” said FHS head coach Eddie Courtney, whose team fell to 2-1 overall, 0-1 in region. Oak Ridge improved to 3-0, 1-0.
“Our offense got back in it and moved the ball. … In the second half we made another run, but we gave up three long runs that killed us.”
“What they did was they basically put three guys over the top around Tee. They ran guys to the outside and put a couple of extra men away from Jordan Graham so we couldn’t run the outside stuff. And they stopped us for a while doing that,” Oak Ridge head coach Joe Gaddis said.
Higgins had a 17-yard TD catch on the first Wildcats series, then receptions of 28 and 16 yards that set up a 32-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
A 79-yard FHS drive ended with quarterback Adam Fulton finding Jacob Warren on a 6-yard scoring pass. It was 10-6 with 6:54 left in the half. The extra point was blocked.
“Coach was giving us good advice, he was telling us to stay in our gaps and we were doing that,” Nnamdi McSwine, FHS junior defensive end, said. “And we were pursuing to the ball.”
Cooper Hardin, FHS senior linebacker/running back, said about strategy, “Just really blitzing every play and making sure we had the outside contained, not letting them get too deep around the end.”
A 53-yard scoring drive included an 18-yard Fulton run plus a 15-yard pass to Davis Simmons. Fulton then connected with Simmons from 16 yards out for the go-ahead score. Joe Doyle’s extra point made it 13-10 at the 2:41 mark.
“Me and Adam just started clicking again,” Simmons said. “Everybody got into it. … I think we kind of caught them on their toes like with our fast-paced offense.”
An Alex Williams interception set up Doyle’s 33-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first half.
“We started the game off a little slow but we got it going eventually,” said Amon Johnson, Admirals senior running back whose 47-yard run set up his 5-yard TD scamper in the closing seconds.
Caleb Martin hauled in a 14-yard TD pass from quarterback Johnny Stewart, giving the Wildcats a 17-16 lead with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
Graham broke outside right on a 79-yard scoring run with 9:20 to play. It was 27-16.
A 27-yard pass to Warren was key in Farragut’s march to the ORHS 11. Doyle’s 23-yard field goal came with 6:40 left before the Wildcats answered with a 22-yard field goal.
With Farragut punting on each of its first three possessions in the second half, a 24-yard Higgins catch helped set up a Wildcats 37-yard field goal making it 20-16 late in the third.
Graham broke loose up the gut, then outside right on a 79-yard scoring run with 9:20 to play. It was 27-16.
Simmons’ 32-yard kickoff return and a 27-yard pass to Warren were key in an Admirals march to the ORHS 11. But Farragut had to settle for Doyle’s 23-yard field goal with 6:40 to play.
Graham’s 33-yard run set up a 22-yard ORHS field goal with just 2:43 remaining.
“We came out in the second half actually and just blew it,” McSwine said.
Johnson’s touchdown preceded Fulton’s failed run for 2-points with only 45 seconds left. An onside kick failed.
Individually, “Amon Johnson ran the ball real hard. … And Adam did a good job reading and pulling the ball in and getting some yardage,” Courtney said.
Higgins said about the Admirals, “They’re a tough team to beat. We had to come out here and fight hard.”