Extra-motivated by Nesbitt injury, Farragut goes on 28-0 run to beat Bearden for 20th time in last 23
KNOXVILLE — As if Farragut needed any extra motivation to beat rival Bearden, a serious, high school-career-ending ankle injury to senior Trey Nesbitt, standout defensive end, late in the first half fueled several key Admirals with even more intensity.
The result was erasing a 17-17 tie midway into the third quarter, using kickoff field position, three second-half interceptions and a balanced offense to go on a 28-0 run for a 45-17 Region 1-6A win at BHS’s Bill Young Field Friday night, Oct. 16.
“It really kind of pulled us together. ... When Trey went down, we knew how hard he works, we know what he stands for. It all kind of hit home for us: ‘we’ve really got to show up for him’,” said Eli Purcell, senior defensive leader at inside linebacker who had 10 total tackles, including four solo stops.
“We just tried to play the game for Trey,” said Dawson Moore, Farragut junior quarterback who went 11 of 16 passing for 185 and four touchdown tosses.
“Our offensive line did a great job,” said junior running back Schumann Xie, who rushed for 102 yards on 16 carries. “... And it was a great job by the coaches on play-calling.”
Yet another junior, receiver/defensive back Mason Collins, caught an 11-yard TD pass and caught two Bearden passes for interceptions — while recording six solo tackles, eight total.
After a 20-yard field goal by FHS junior Simeon Sharpe, the next Admirals score came on Dion Williams’ 4-yard touchdown run to make it 9-3 (conversion missed).
Though the Bulldogs answered with a touchdown and a 10-9 lead, Moore hit a wide-open Matt White just beyond midfield, and the senior receiver took it 66 yards to put the Admirals (5-3, 3-1) back ahead with 5:14 left in the first half.
Purcell’s 2-point conversion run made it 17-10.
Another FHS scoring chance died on downs at the Bearden 23 — a touchdown pass being dropped in the end zone — in the closing seconds of the half just before Nesbitt’s injury.
The Bulldogs (2-5, 2-2) were quite effective in tying the game about four minutes into the third quarter. Combining the power running of junior Nicco Young with the outside speed of senior running back Makai Williams and the option keeps from elusive sophomore quarterback John Carlevato — plus a pair of clutch slant pass completions — the Bulldogs went on a nice 13-play, 80-yard drive to tie things 17-17.
Carlevato’s 2-yard scoring run and junior Luke Wilkins’ third successful kick (two conversions and a 20-yard first-quarter field goal) pulled the game even with 8:21 left in the quarter.
It was the sophomore’s second TD run, having broke loose on a 55-yard scoring jaunt to put Bearden up 10-9 with 6:18 left in the first half.
But a short kickoff and a personal foul penalty gave Farragut the ball at the BHS 46.
Moore’s quick toss right to senior tight end Jake Wallace turned into a 19-yard TD toss.
Sophomore Reese Keeney converted the first of his four extra points, as the Ads led for good, 24-17, with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
Farragut’s 58-yard TD drive ended with Xie scoring from 17 yards out making it 31-17.
After the Bulldogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff out of bounds at the BHS 6, Grant Rice, FHS senior safety, intercepted Carlevato.
Collins’ 11-yard TD catch from Moore made it 38-17.
Following the first of two Collins interceptions, Moore hit senior wideout Alex Taylor on a 22-yard scoring pass with just 3:33 remaining.
“The key was to stay focused and keep our heads in the game,” FHS junior nose guard Corey Walker said.
“We had mistakes snowball on us, and we couldn’t put the brakes on to straighten that out,” Bearden head coach Morgan Shinlever said.
Individually, Shinlever praised senior captain Christian Spining, a standout linebacker. “He’s playing when he’s banged up — he’s always giving his all,” the coach said.
“Every Friday we can always count on No. 1 (his jersey number) to perform.”
Against FHS, “He went all out for us,” the coach added.