When the 2017 high school lacrosse season began, Farragut High School’s boys club had some simple but lofty goals to reach.
“Expectations were high. We came into the season knowing that we had to make the state tournament,” Admirals head coach Taylor Clark said. “When [athletic director Donald] Dodgen hired me, he told me about those high expectations.
“I played at Farragut High School [Class of 2008] and our goal this year was to put Farragut High School lacrosse back on the map. I’m from Virginia, where the sport is huge,” Clark added.
Clark led Farragut to its first winning season in five years. The Ads finished second in the East Tennessee Region and had victories over St. George’s, a top team out of Memphis and the No. 2 ranked team in Tennessee; Signal Mountain [a regional foe, which was a top-5 team in the Volunteer State] and West Knoxville [another league opponent, which was ranked fourth when the Admirals defeated them].
Farragut [12-4] was the only public school team to reach the state quarterfinals. By season’s end, the Admirals, who suffered all their losses to state tournament qualifiers, were ranked fifth in the state.
“This was a good team,” Clark said. “We have five guys who signed to play college ball and we had six players who made the All-region or All-state teams. And we broke almost every offensive and defensive record in our record book.
“I’m really proud of these guys and I’m pleased with this team,” the coach added. “We were the only public school to make it to the state quarterfinals. Like football, lacrosse is an expensive sport to play.”
Top players for FHS included: Tyler Stinnett (a senior midfielder going to Palm Beach Atlantic University who was a first-team All-region performer. He also received second-team All-state honors); Alec Maluso (an attacker, headed to Ole Miss, who received first-team All-region honors and was named to the All-state second team); Webber Herman (a first-team All-region defender); Ethan Smalling (a second-team All-region goalie); Joel Kohlmyer (a second-team All-region long stick midfielder) and Tanner Elwood (a second-team All-region attacker who is headed to Tennessee Wesleyan University).
Other FHS Class of 2017 signees include Jaylan Steen (Tennessee Wesleyan) and Paul Schechter (also the TWU Bulldogs).
Lacrosse is a growing sport in East Tennessee and Farragut competes in a region that features teams from the Knoxville and Chattanooga Areas.
Farragut’s league foes include Signal Mountain, Christian Academy of Knoxville, the West Knoxville Warriors, Knoxville Catholic High School, Webb School of Knoxville, the Roane County Knights and Soddy-Daisy.
For now, the sport is a club non-TSSAA sanctioned activity but Clark said that’s about to change in the near future.
“Kellie Ivens is in charge of our club sports and she’s fantastic,” Clark said. “But I answer to coach Dodgen and principal [Ryan] Siebe.
“Sanctioning isn’t here yet but it’s coming and we want to be all ready for it when it comes.”
Farragut, which had five players sign to play in college next season, loses 12 seniors but that’s not a huge concern.
“We have a middle school feeder program and we have a K-5 program, so our future is really bright,” Clark said.
Admirals moving on to college next season include: Stinnett (Palm Beach Atlantic); Maluso (Ole Miss); Jaylen Steen (Tennessee Wesleyan); Elwood (Tennessee Wesleyan) and Paul Schecter (University of Georgia).