Farragut loses to top-ranked Bradley Central 28-20

By Mark Nagi

Last Friday night, the Farragut Admirals knew that they’d be in for a battle when they hosted Class 6A’s top-ranked team. Bradley Central not only was undefeated but featured one of the best players in the state, Tennessee commit Boo Carter.

The Admirals fought hard and led the game in the third quarter but eventually fell to the Bears, losing 28-20.

“I love these guys,” said Farragut head coach Eddie Courtney. “They work hard during the week. They have a lot of pride. They understand what our program is about. They keep coming and fighting. It was another one of those games where we needed a play or two at the end and we didn’t get it.”

Midway through the first quarter the Ads offense took possession at their own 48 and put together a 12-play drive that nearly ended in the Bears end zone.The Admirals mixed the run and the pass, with Bryce Thompson picking up 17 yards on 4th and 1 from the 20. That drive finally stalled inside the 5. Ryan McCue kicked home a 20 yarder, and Farragut led 3-0.

The Admirals defense got the football right back for its offense when David Broda recovered a Bears fumble at the Bradley Central 43.Farragut then took a shot deep, with Cam Duncan seeing single coverage, and hitting Landon Collins for a 35-yard gain. That gave the Ads the football at the Bears 5-yard line. Two plays later, Wyatt Drummy powered it in from a yard out, making it 10-0 Farragut.

Drummy was fed often on this night, picking up 106 yards on the ground.

“We challenged them,” Courtney said of his running back and offensive line. “We had to do that… that was our best chance to keep the ball, use the clock, don’t let their big play people (out there), try to frustrate them a little bit.”

Bradley Central (6-0, 2-0 in Region 2-6A) used a big kickoff return to their advantage, embarking on a short, 6-play, 40-yard drive. QB Caleb Martin passed to Jarrius Rogers for a 12-yard touchdown, and it was a 10-7 game. On their next drive, the Bears would take the lead on a 4-yard TD run by Martin. They were up 14-10 with 3:14 to go in the half.

The Admirals offense worked to pick up some points in the closing stages of the second quarter and achieved that goal thanks to a 28-yard FG by McCue at the buzzer. The big play on that drive was a 22-yard pickup on a screen pass from Duncan to Drummy on 3rd and 18 from the Bradley Central 42.

It was a 14-13 game at the half.

Farragut received the opening kickoff of the second half and began their drive at their own 29. It didn’t take long for them to take the lead back.

Duncan had all sorts of time to throw and found a wide-open Jordan Sheppard in the middle of the Bears secondary. Sheppard sprinted to the end zone on a 67-yard score, making it 20-14 Ads. Sheppard caught 4 passes for 112 yards on the night. Duncan had 301 passing yards against the Bears.

But then Bradley Central punched back with a 15-play, 80-yard TD drive to re-take the lead. Martin found Ben Collins alone in the end zone for a 7-yard score with 4:19 left in the third quarter, making it 21-20.

On the Ads ensuing drive, they drove inside the Bradley Central 30, but on 4th down Duncan was intercepted by Bears DB Tito Williams.

Carter was used mostly as a decoy in this game offensively but had a highlight reel play on the next drive. Martin appeared to overthrow Carter, but he made a spectacular one-handed catch, never breaking stride while coasting to the end zone for a 50-yard score, making it 28-20 with 6:33 left in the game.

Farragut’s final two drives crossed into Bears territory, but the Ads turned the football over on downs each time. From there, Bradley Central was able to run out the clock.

“We are a beat-up football team but who isn’t this time of year,” said Courtney. “We are playing for respect and playing for each other right now.”

The Admirals will try to snap their four-game losing streak on Friday night with a non-region contest against rival Oak Ridge. That game will be played at Farragut.