Ads’ defense stout in 17th straight win

DANDRIDGE — While Farragut’s offense lost its way after scoring a touchdown just 34 seconds into the game at Jefferson County last Friday evening, the Admirals defense shined — minus three long Patriot runs.

Led by junior running back Isaiah Gibbs’ two touchdown runs, Farragut offense woke up in the second half.

The defense recorded three fourth-down-and-short stops and the Ads, ranked No. 4 statewide in Class 6A, won their 17th straight game spanning two seasons. It was a 33-6 victory Sept. 15, improving the FHS record in 2017 to 5-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-6A.

The Patriots fell to 3-2, 0-2.

“We won the trench battle, that’s always huge,” Cade Burkey, FHS senior linebacker, said about numerous Admirals short-yardage and minus-yardage stops plus sacks. “Our defensive line gets great push on the offensive line, it really helps us linebackers move free and come clean it up. We can come in and push the pile back because of Anthony [Lawson], Nnambi [McSwine], Nolan [Davis], and Caleb Kuhn pushing them back and holding them up. It really helps us linebackers.

“That’s why we were able to keep the score so low,” he added.

“They had some big guys up front, but the best thing that I did was get lower than them,” Lawson, senior nose guard, said. “They didn’t have near enough power as me.

“After the first stop I dislocated my finger, came out, then went back in. No problem.”

Overall, “We had an amazing game,” Lawson said.

“We had to keep on fighting, and towards the second half things started popping loose for us,” said Isaiah Gibbs, who scored on runs of 8 and 3 yards plus a 2-point conversion scamper. His 58-yard run with barely more than a minute left in the first half set up his 3-yard TD and a 12-0 halftime lead. “We executed.”

As for Gibbs himself, “I had to find out what the pace of the game was going to be, what the defense was going to do,” he said. “And as I got more reps, I executed better, hit the hole hard and it was off to the races.”

“Our linemen blocked amazing,” Gibbs added. “It was one of their best overall games against great Jefferson County defense.”

Gavin Wilkinson, FHS sophomore quarterback, hit senior tight-end Jacob Warren on a 46-yard touchdown strike, a slant pattern, just 34 seconds into the game before the Admirals offense went stagnant.

Wilkinson also connected with Braden Collins, senior receiver, on a 7-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.

Jake Evans, junior back-up quarterback, scored on a 64-yard run straight up the middle with 9:27 left in the game.

The Pats’ lone TD came after partially blocking a punt, returning it 40 yards to the FHS 5, then scoring on back-up defenders late.