Note: This story was last updated with new photos at 11:30 p.m. August 30.
Oak Ridge coach Joe Gaddis savored the 13-0 shutout during the season opener against the Farragut Admirals on Friday night.
“Anytime you get out a shutout against anyone, it’s sweet,” Gaddis told the team during a post-game huddle. “Against these guys, it’s even sweeter.”
Neither offense was able to score a touchdown at Blankenship Field. The Wildcats scored twice on long kicks by junior Brandon Nickle—the first was 44 yards and the second was 46—and an interception returned up the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown by cornerback Jemiah Hall.
Senior cornerback and wide receiver Ted Mitchell had a momentum-stopping interception near the goal line with about a minute-and-a-half to play, ending Farragut’s final drive deep in Wildcats territory.
“They were moving the ball, and I knew we had to come up with a big play,” Mitchell said of his first-ever goal-line pick. “I didn’t care who it was. Luckily, it was me.”
Farragut (0-2) tried three quarterbacks while Oak Ridge (1-0) used two: juniors Gavin Warrington, who is considered a better runner and started Friday, and Logan Fadnek, who presents a better passing option. It’s not clear who might start next week at Clinton (1-1). Gaddis said he’s not really a two-quarterback coach.
Fadnek finished 3 for 7 and 15 yards passing Friday, with one interception, while Warrington ended 3 of 6 for 33 yards.
Gaddis said there is work to do before Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game against the Dragons. The Oak Ridge offensive line, which only has one returning starter, has to block better, the coach said, and the Wildcats’ offense needs more consistency.
“We looked good in spurts, but we didn’t put anything together consistently,” Gaddis said.
But the coach said the team played a physical football game against the Admirals and the defense performed well, two weeks after the South-Doyle Cherokees “killed them” in a pre-season scrimmage. The defense, which forced a fumble Friday in addition to picking up the two interceptions, might have been a bit embarrassed by that pre-season game, Gaddis said.
Farragut coach Eddie Courtney thought the Admirals also played well on defense on Friday, but Oak Ridge “came at them,” Courtney said.
“It was a hard-fought game,” he said.
Nickle kicked his first field goal from 44 yards out with just under a minute left in the second quarter, and Oak Ridge went into the half with a 3-0 lead.
The only touchdown of the night came on Hall’s pick early in the third quarter, with 9:41 remaining. Nickle added his second field goal with about 8:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats and Admirals were about evenly matched in total yards. Oak Ridge finished with 215 and Farragut with 213. Both teams picked up about three-quarters of those yards on the ground, with 167 rushing yards for Oak Ridge and 147 for Farragut.
Junior running back Isiah Jones ran for 65 yards on 15 carries for the Wildcats, while Warrington ended with 59 yards on 10 carries.
Here are preliminary stats courtesy of Mark Haste:
|Scores by Quarters|
Passing and Scoring Cumulative
|NO.||Cumulative-2014||Catches||Yds Gained||Avg/Recpt||TD’s||2 Pt. Con|
|NO.||Name||Carries||Yds Gained||Yds Lost||Net Gain||Avg/carry||TD’s||2 Pt. Con|