Farragut High School’s football team had a 19-game winning streak snapped last week at Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett. The Admirals, however, won’t have long to brood over their 42-34 loss to the Indians.
FHS (7-1 overall, 3-1 in Region 1-6A) will host Kingston Pike rival Bearden Friday night, Oct. 13, at Bill Clabo Field.
Admirals skipper Eddie Courtney said he knows his squad must be ready to play against the Bulldogs (4-3, 1-2).
“This game is a big one because it’s our next one,” Courtney said. “That’s just the way it is in this region.
“We have a healthy respect for Bearden because they’re a good football team. They have a great quarterback in [sophomore Collin] Ironside. They have some good running backs and they have some great receivers.”
The Admirals have made a habit of jumping ahead of their opponents early, but things didn’t unfold that way in Northeast Tennessee in that loss to the Indians (4-3, 2-1).
With Dobyns-Bennett using timely passing and a power running game eating up huge chunks of yardage, the Admirals fell behind 21-0 early and, despite closing it to a one-score deficit twice, couldn’t recover.
Farragut highlights were three Gavin Wilkinson touchdown passes to senior receiver Braden Collins of 54-, 34 and 33 yards, and a pair of short TD runs from junior Isaiah Gibbs.
In fact, the Indians also handed Bearden its most recent loss, traveling to BHS’s Bill Young Field and winning 23-7 Sept. 29.
“We’re going to have to come out and do a better job executing early on offense,” Courtney said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of doing that this year. But we didn’t the other night.
“Bearden has size and they’re physical. But we’ve just played two physical football teams in Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett,” he added.
Looking ahead, “We’ll have a bye week after this game,” Courtney said. “We’re going to put everything that we’ve got into this game and then we’re going to take a couple of days off.”
As for the Bulldogs, they enter Friday night’s game after an open date. Bearden took some time to punch the reset button during its off week.
“During the bye week, we concentrated only on us,” BHS head coach Morgan Shinlever said. “We had a productive week.
“We know that Farragut has a good football team and a great program. This is a big game because the rivalry makes it special,” he added. “But it’s also big because Farragut is in a two-way or three-way tie for first and we’re still fighting for a playoff spot. I think it will be a fun game to watch and I think that it will be a competitive game, much like it was last year.”
Farragut rallied late to edge the Bulldogs 28-27 in 2016 — also played at Bill Clabo Field.
The Ads have won four consecutive games in the rivalry series, which dates back to 1949.
Farragut has a 38-20 advantage in the series and has won 17 of the past 19, including a 3-1 edge in playoff matchups, dating back to 2001.
The Bulldogs last beat FHS in 2012, a 48-45 overtime thriller at Bill Clabo Field.
Players to watch for Bearden include: Sam Coffin (running back/linebacker); D. J. Cox (running back); Ironside; Hayden Candela (wide receiver) and London Stephney (wide receiver).
Key players for the Ads include: Kyle Carter (running back); Isaiah Gibbs (running back/defensive back); Gavin Wilkinson (quarterback); Braden Collins (wide receiver) Jacob Warren (tight end) and linebackers Drew Butler, Cade Burkey, Neyland Harmon and Alex Williams.