Farragut Admirals

One of the true puzzles of Knoxville Area high school football is the gridiron fortunes of the Farragut Admirals. The ship is loaded with players but the sail has often been blown off course. The 2002 season was a case in point as Farragut struggled to a 5-5 record. Disastrous, certainly not, but definitely not what the Admirals would envision in preseason as the seamen plot their course over unchartered waters.

If Farragut is to right the ship, Head Coach Eddie Courtney and his staff must find an offense that returns only three starters from last year's unit. Perhaps the best news entering the season is that two of the top offensive threats return with big play potential.

Quarterback is always a good place to build an attack and the Admirals' have the luxury of welcoming back senior signal caller Dylan Dickey (6'4" 190). The Farragut QB has excellent size that enabled him to complete 112 of 207 passes for 1483 yards last season. Dickey gives Farragut's offense a chance to excel and be multi dimensional. Junior Nick French (5'10" 180) and sophomore Tyler Powell (6'4" 165) are the understudy's at QB.

Farragut should field a balanced offensive attack as the Admirals top returning ground gainer is back looking to expand on big rushing totals from a year ago. Junior tailback Michael Wright (5'9" 180) was a workhorse carrying 195 times for 1013 yards. Wright has the ability to wear a defense down with his powerful runs. Sophomore Nick Moore (5'6" 145) will spell Wright when he needs a breather. Fellow sophomores Nick Reviez (5'6" 175) and Tony Manilla (5'8" 165) will line up at fullback in the Admirals' backfield.

In passing situations Dickey will survey the field with his 6'4" frame and need a program to find his receivers as all his experienced pass catchers graduated. Senior Jason Stone (6'0" 170) hopes to have a big final season filled with big plays. Sophomore Lee Travis (5'10" 150), junior Tyler Ladd (5'8" 145) and senior Jesse McKee (5'10" 150) look to make their mark at wideout as well. The tight end should be senior Sheldon Mattice (5'11" 190) and junior Court Courtney (6'0" 185).

Farragut must rebuild their offensive line but there is talent, size and strength giving the Admirals great potential. The center will be junior Chaz Graham (6'0" 245). The guards should be sophomore Shawn Smith (5'10" 240) and junior Dane Deatherage ( 5'8" 270) while the tackles should be senior bookends Daniel Galloway (6'3" 220) and Chase Smith (5'9" 215). Top backups will be sophomore Matt Helton (5'11" 230), junior Robert Facklam (6'1" 265) and sophomore Brandon Lazarus (5'11" 225).

The news is better on the defensive side of the football as six headhunters return to man the Admirals' stop troops. The top returning tackler is middle linebacker Jon Smith (5'10" 195). This hitman recorded 71 total tackles five for loss and also blitzed his way to two sacks. Smith will be joined inside by fellow senior Brandon Douglas (5'8" 230). The outside backers will be senior theft specialist Brett Barnes (6'0" 190) and sophomore Brian Tipton (5'6" 145). Barnes intercepted five passes in 2002. Senior Matt Walls (6'0" 225) will supply quality reserve duty.

The Admirals will field a nasty gang of linemen who possess good size and strength giving Farragut an opportunity to be stout against the run. The tackles will be seniors Tyler Kesler (5'9" 235), Zach Brezina (6'0" 255) and Matt Cheney (5'7" 275). The ends should rotate among junior Tommy Lawhorn (5'11" 220), senior Brandon Hall (6'0" 190) and senior Michael Forbes (6'5" 195).

The secondary will feature senior Jesse McKee (5'10" 150), sophomore Marcus Huie (5'9" 140), Court Courtney, sophomore Steven Moon (5'7" 150), junior Renaldo Bell (5'10" 175) and senior Michael Kendrick ( 5'10" 170). The defensive backfield is quick and aggressive.

As usual the Farragut Admirals will be a force to be reckoned with each Friday night. The only question is can this group of sailors right the ship, pull together and get it done. The schedule is brutal with five consecutive road games in the middle of the season. Big games feature Halls on opening night, perennial bullies Ooltewah, McMinn County and Oak Ridge plus one of the biggest rivalries in Tennessee in the annual Battle of West Knoxville against hated rival Bearden. Look for Farragut to find their ship sailing toward the postseason in 2003.

TNPrepSports.com Prediction- 6-4

Playoff Contender- Yes

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