Blanking at Blankenship

Ads shut down Oak Ridge 24-0; Cleveland at FHS

  • Jordan Sheppard, Farragut junior wide receiver, hauls in this 57--yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Luke Johnson against Oak Ridge Friday evening, Sept. 9, at ORHS’s Blankenship Field. - Photos courtesy of Carlos Reveiz/

  • Brice Fontenot, Admirals senior defensive lineman, returns a Wildcats fumble caused by a hit from Cole Felthoff, FHS sophomore defensive lineman. - Photos courtesy of Carlos Reveiz/

OAK RIDGE — In Farragut High School’s first three football games this season — a win followed by two losses — the Admirals had their challenges on defense.

Friday evening at Oak Ridge, Farragut’s “D” was both stingy and opportunistic, holding the Wildcats to just 263 total yards. The effort helped the Ads shut out Oak Ridge 24-0 at Blankenship Field Sept. 9.

“We played good, assignment football tonight,” Admirals head coach Eddie Courtney said. “The guys rallied around the ball and got to the ball, and we needed to do that.”

Wildcats head coach Scott Cummings wasn’t reticent with his frustration.

“We just keep kicking ourselves in the foot,” said Cummings, who’s in his first year at Oak Ridge. “Making mistakes. We gotta just clean things up and be more coachable and disciplined.”

Farragut jumped to a 7-0 lead on the game’s first possession when, on third-and-17 from OR’s 43, quarterback Luke Johnson connected with Jordan Sheppard for a 57-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.

The Admirals made it 14-0 with 1:09 left in the first when, on third-and-goal from the OR 3, workhorse running back Elijah Gibbs went around the right side for the score. The seven-yard, three-play drivewas set up when John Duncan recovered Oak Ridge’s fumbled punt.

Gibbs carried 16 times for 92 yards and two scores. Johnson was 8-of-13 passing for 74 yards, including the touchdown toss, and one interception.

The Admirals’ much-improved defense was led by senior linebacker Jay Smiley, who had a huge night with 15 total tackles, 13 solo. Jack Alley had seven solo as part of 14 total.

Brice Fontenot had a pair of sacks to go along with nine tackles. Junior defensive end Naaol Kerro had a sack as well.

“I challenged Brice before the game,” said Courtney. “I told him ‘I need some plays out of you tonight.’ He had to make sure to contain the quarterback. Brice did a good job of running our game plan.”

“I mean it’s big,” said Smiley of the win. “Coach always preaches six-second effort every play. Even if you’re on the back side you hustle and hustle and try to make a play … like a strip-sack or strip-fumble. I do my best.”

After a less-than-stellar second quarter - possessions ending with a failed fourth-down run, a pick, and a punt - Farragut (2-2, 0-1 Region 2-6A) added a huge touchdown on its first possession of the second half.

It started on OR’s 23 when Duncan recovered his second fumble on the ‘Cats’ first play from scrimmage. Gibbs ran five straight times, and on the fifth, took it in from the two for a 21-0 lead.

It would turn out to be way more than enough.

Oak Ridge might still have made a game of it, but the Admirals’ defense made a game-clinching play on the next drive. Starting on their own 20, the ‘Cats drove to Farragut’s three, where they had a fourth and one.

De’Jauvis Dozier, OR’s shifty, speedy running back, took the handoff and was stuffed for a two-yard loss. The drive ended with 1:23 left in the third. The ‘Cats wouldn’t threaten again.

Reese Keeney’s 27-yard field goal late in the game completed the scoring.

“I feel like we played a lot better today,” Kerro said. “This is gonna give us confidence.”

Farragut hosts regional foe Cleveland (2-2) starting at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17.