JOHNSON CITY — Yes, Science Hill running back Tyler Moon’s speed and quickness was hard to handle for Farragut’s defense — six rushing TDs, including scores of 80 and 70 yards, and 302 total yards sure proved that point.
And yes, key Ads mistakes plus the Hilltoppers’ strength on both sides of the line of scrimmage also were factors in a 40-19 season-ending loss for FHS, coming in a Class 6A second-round playoff game in Steve Spurrier Stadium on a cold, misty Friday night, Nov. 11.
However, Farragut’s final 9-3 record and Region 2-6A co-championship was led by a senior class head coach Eddie Courtney labeled as “providing great leadership,” adding, “There’s going to be a lot of great things happening for that group.”
Looking back on Farragut’s 12-game statistics among its top seniors finds Reese Keeney, a Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Semifinalist as one of state’s top five kickers/punters, averaged 41.8 yards on 26 punts, landing seven of those inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line. As for kicking, Keeney was 47-of-48 on extra point conversions and 6-of-8 on field goal attempts.
Having an eight-game winning streak snapped by SHHS (8-4), “It’s tough to go out this way, but (with the seniors) it’s a brotherhood,” Keeney said. “I’ve been playing with most of them since elementary school.”
Season stats on both sides
Offensively, quarterback Luke Johnson ended his Ads career with 24 touchdown passes (only seven interceptions) while completing 167-of-248 passes for 2,383 yards (118.7 quarterback rating).
Receiver Ashton Auker hauled in 57 passes for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also led the team in kickoff returns (eight for a 39.3-yard average and one touchdown).
Featured running back Elijah Gibbs scored 18 TDs while rushing for 1,279 yards on 207 carries (6.2 yards per carry).
Defensively among the Ads seniors, linebacker Jay Smiley led Farragut in total tackles (124) and solo stops (79). “I’m going to miss this group of guys a lot,” Smiley said. “I love these men; I’ve played with most of them for half my life.”
Defensive lineman Brice Fontenot was third with 64 total, 32 solo — and he led the team in minus-yardage stops with 12 and sacks with seven.
Defensive back John Duncan was fifth with 49 total, 31 solo — and led the team in pass break-ups with 19 and fumble recoveries with two — followed closely by fellow defensive backs Hudson Kraemer (48 total, 31 solo), Jackson Fisher (48 total, 28 solo) and Jacob Farhat (41 total, 26 solo).
Yet another Ads senior defensive back, Griffin Mashburn, was co-leader in interceptions with two.