Streak broken; Dawgs eye No. 1 seed

Bearden’s big victory versus Farragut includes late stand

Condredge Holloway (3), Bearden senior defensive end, prepares to take on Farragut senior lineman Preston Webb, who looks to protect Admirals junior quarterback Gavin Wilkinson, left.
KNOXVILLE — The celebration at Bearden High School was a wild one Thursday, Oct. 11, and the school’s resident football team had plenty of reasons to have a party.

The Bulldogs survived a tough game and knocked off Kingston Pike rival and nemesis Farragut, 17-13, before an area TV audience and a packed and boisterous house at BHS’s Bill Young Field.

“This feels great,” said BHS junior quarterback Collin Ironside, who threw the eventual game-winning touchdown pass to his older brother, Addison, a senior tight end, with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the contest. “I feel incredible. I haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here at Bearden. I lost a tough one to them my freshman year in my first start ever. So I’ve been wanting to get them back for two years.”

Bearden’s victory was its first over the Admirals since 2012, and it denied Farragut the chance to take control of Region 1-6A. It also created a logjam atop the league standings and gives the Bulldogs a chance to claim the crown if they can beat Hardin Valley Academy on the road this Friday, Oct. 19, then defeat 1-6A foe Morristown West at BHS in the regular-season finale Friday, Oct.26.

The Hawks (5-3, 3-1) also can claim the title if they can knock off Bearden and Farragut, at FHS, to close out the regular season.

“Now we control our destiny. If we win out we can win the region,” Collin said. I don’t know if we’ve ever done that. We’ll have to beat Hardin Valley on their Senior Night and that’s going to be tough. They got up for Farragut last year on their Senior Night and they beat them. We’ll have to be ready.”

The game-winning play against Farragut last Friday was designed during a timeout according to Addison.

“We had a run play called, and we called timeout because we knew that they would be keying on (senior running back) Caleb (Wilkins),” Addison said after the Bulldogs (7-1, overall, 3-1 in the region) knocked the Ads (8-1, 4-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. “Collin threw me the ball in the flat and there was nobody there.”

FHS had its chances throughout the game. The Admirals almost mounted a late rally, reaching the Bulldogs’ “red zone” — but a pair of 15-yard penalties on one play all but cost Farragut a chance to extend its winning streak in the series.

“We were sorely disappointed because we just didn’t make the plays that we usually make,” Ads head coach Eddie Courtney said. “Bearden did a great job.

“ ... Hopefully, we’ll be able to heal up and get our legs under us. We just have to go back to work and keep getting better.”

Bearden dominated the first half, taking the opening kickoff and holding the ball for nearly 10 minutes. The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead when Connor Cross kicked a 37-yard field goal with 2:26 left in the first quarter.

The Admirals would answer when Daniel Bethel booted a 34-yarder to knot the contest early in the second stanza.

Wilkins, who rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries and had nine tackles and a sack on defense, helped the Bulldogs take a 10-3 lead with a 3-yard touchdown plunge later in the frame.

Farragut pulled even early in the third frame when Isaiah Gibbs scored on a 4-yard run.

Bethel’s second field goal gave the Admirals a 13-10 lead with 11:54 remaining in the game.

“This rivalry means an awful lot to our kids and our school,” said Morgan Shinlever, BHS head coach. “And knowing the track record we’ve had against Farragut (2-18 from 2002 through 2017), it was just time we were able to materialize this into victory.”