By Ken Lay

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss — A season of hard work culminated in the ultimate prize for the Farragut High School hockey club.

“I’m really proud of the boys. They worked really hard in practice and they’ve worked really hard all year,” Admirals coach Jeff Lindsay said after Farragut claimed the Blue Division High School State Championship with a 2-1 victory over two-time defending champion Germantown on Sunday, March 12 at the Midsouth Ice House in suburban Memphis. “These boys deserved this and it’s nice to finally bring the state championship back to Knoxville.”

Farragut faced a tough test against Germantown in the championship game and the Admirals notched a 2-1 victory behind goals from Anthony Ragone and Ryan Preiss.

Germantown entered the recent state tournament as the two-time champion and Lindsay said that he thought the team was undefeated.

“They had won the state championship two years in a row,” the coach said.”And I think they were either undefeated or they only had one loss.”

Farragut came back to East Tennessee with the state title despite have less than two hours to recover after notching a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Christian Brothers in an early-morning tilt that concluded preliminary play for both squads.

“We finished our game against Christian Brothers at 10:40 and we had to be back on the ice for a game at 12,” Lindsay said. “Against Christian Brothers, we pretty much played everybody but we still had only about an hour and 15 minutes to recuperate and get ready to play.

“We played well against Christian Brothers and we put about 30 shots on their goaltender. If it wasn’t for their goalie, Christian Brothers wouldn’t have been in any of their games.”

The Admirals (17-1-1) knew that they had pretty much clinched an appearance in the championship game when they arrived at the rink to play to Christian Brothers early last Sunday morning. Farragut, which won that game, had to lose it by seven goals to be eliminated from tournament competition.

The Admirals took care of business there as they got goals from Preiss, tournament Most Valuable Player Garrett Rodgers and Preiss.

Farragut opened tournament play on Saturday, March 11 against a familiar opponent in Knoxville Amateur Hockey Association High School League rival, the Knoxville Warriors. The Admirals notched a 5-3 win but Lindsay said that he knew that game wasn’t going to be easy.

“The Warriors were the only team to beat us this year in Knoxville and they were certainly capable of doing it again,” he said. “They are a very good team but we played extremely well in that game.

“We played well in the entire tournament. Our kids worked hard all year and they really deserved this.”

Ben Baungardner and Kenny Richter both scored twice against Knoxville and Preiss scored Farragut’s other marker.

The Warriors got their markers from Carson Rogers, Nick Mackle and Sam Hale.

“We got all of our goals from our defensemen,” Lindsay said.

After defeating the Warriors, the Admirals had a preliminary game against Germantown and they won that came 4-1 as they had a pair of empty-net goals

Rodgers and Corey Lindsay each tallied twice for Farragut and each had an empty netter.

Farragut goaltenders James Brinkley and Zach Jordan each had a pair of state tournament wins.