Indians quarterback Josh Holt was sacked six times for negative 28 yards by the blitz-happy Admirals. At crunch time, he did what it took to win.
KINGSPORT — When Dobyns-Bennett fullback Zach Casey juked his way outside for a 46-yard scoring run against Farragut on Dobyns-Bennett’s second snap of the 2013 season, it looked too easy.
As a matter of fact, it was.
Dobyns-Bennett’s 21-20 season-opening win over Farragut at J. Fred Johnson Stadium Thursday night was wild, woolly and, at times, downright improbable.
“We’ve got a bunch of young puppies and sometimes young puppies make mistakes on the carpet,” said Indians coach Graham Clark, whose team’s last three possessions of the second quarter ended in turnovers, allowing the Admirals to claw their way to a 14-14 tie at the half.
In the end, it was all redeemed by a phenomenal catch and scoring run by Caleb Cook in triple coverage off a Josh Holt pass with 34.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Landon Salyers’ kick gave D-B the critical winning point.
Mere moments earlier, it looked as if Farragut was on its way to avenging three consecutive losses to D-B.
Shortly after taking the reins back from quarterback Skylar East, who kept Indians’ comeback hopes alive with a 33-yard completion to D.J. Jones, Holt got sacked for a loss of 6 yards. It looked pretty bleak for the Tribe, which had been plagued by cramps and miscues and had been steadily pounded on by Farragut’s massive linemen and blitzing linebackers.
It was third and 16 when Holt hit Cook in converging triple coverage for a desperation bid to keep the series going. Had Cook merely held onto the football for the first down, it would have been an amazing catch.
Somehow he managed to break all three tackles and gallop off for the end zone. Cook was dragging Admirals linebacker Juan Aranda when he broke the plane.
“I had a feeling I was going to catch the football — just not with three guys hitting me at once,” said Cook, whose 26-yard TD catch off a Holt throw put the Indians up 14-0 in the first quarter. “It was a bang-bang thing. I don’t even know how I got out of there.”
Dobyns-Bennett had trailed 20-14 after consecutive Carter Phillipy fourth quarter field goals of 36 and 32 yards.
The 34 seconds remaining on the clock was time enough for the Admirals to get Phillipy within 33 yards of the uprights. But his kick as time expired pushed slightly wide right.
“Their kicker is going to win a lot of football games for them. I told him that after the game,” Clark said. “And how about our young kicker stepping up and hitting his big extra point?”
Farragut quarterback Bryan Phillips proved a tall order to contain. He scored a 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Admirals multi-position standout Billy Williams tied it up with a 7-yard scoring run with 1:40 remaining in the first half.
“We lost a lot of people due to cramps and dehydration,” said Casey, who led D-B rushers with 84 yards on 10 carries. “But at the end of the day the thing that kept us in this game was our fight.”
Holt was in and out due to cramps and was cramping on the field when it ended. The heat punished Farragut as well. Durable running back Mitch White had churned out 75 yards rushing before coming out with cramps midway through the fourth quarter. He was missed.
“Farragut is going to be a good football team. This was a super night for our kids,” Clark said. “I wish I could say I had something to do with it.”