Streak over: Bearden wins 3OT thriller against Farragut

Aidan Sears

Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Bearden sideline looked dejected. Five minutes later, Trent Waters jumped up onto the bench, pumping up the crowd with a grin on his face. Three overtimes later, the Bulldogs rushed the field. They had beaten Farragut. Bearden erased a two-touchdown deficit midway through the fourth quarter to come back and beat the Admirals 48-45 in triple overtime, ending more than a decade of frustration against their bitter rivals. Bearden last beat Farragut in the 2007 playoffs, but had not gotten a regular season win in the series since 2001. Nicky Frizen led the late Bearden surge, finishing the game with four touchdowns through the air and the game-winning sneak in the third extra period. Frizen either threw or ran for all three overtime scores. “We just love playing with each other, and we had a lot of fun there at the end of the game,” Frizen said. “It felt great. I can’t even describe it.” After starting the fourth quarter down 21-7, the Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 District 4-AAA) cut the lead in half with a touchdown catch by Hunter Johnson. Farragut (3-4, 2-2) started their next drive at their own 10-yard line, but Admiral running back Jackson Fain ran 90 yards for the touchdown on the first play, giving Farragut a 28-14 lead with six minutes remaining and seemingly ending Bearden’s hopes of ending the streak. But the Bulldogs responded with 5:08 left as Christian Robinson caught a touchdown from Frizen. A high snap ruined the PAT attempt, but after Josh Walls’s touchdown run four minutes later, Frizen found Ethan Pollack for the two-point conversion, and the game was tied 28-28. “I think it is a testament to our kids never giving up,” Coach Brad Taylor said. “It didn’t look good, the odds were against us, but they weren’t going to die.” Farragut got a touchdown to open overtime play, and the Bulldogs found themselves having to convert on a fourth-and-goal to stay alive. Frizen found Pollack in the corner of the end zone to force a second overtime. Both teams traded touchdowns in the second overtime, and to start the third, the Bulldog defense stalled the Admiral offense and held them to a field goal. Frizen scrambled nine yards to start Bearden’s drive, and the next play, he punched it in to seal the comeback. “[Nicky] is a competitor, and he deserves it more than anybody,” Coach Taylor said. “He’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever been around, so I’m really happy for him and the whole team.” Junior linebacker Kole Matherly attributed the comeback to “adrenaline, the fans, and the atmosphere.” Despite the Bulldogs’ struggles through the first three quarters, they were not going to give up a game with that much weight. “[Farragut] played a heck of a game,” Frizen said. “They outplayed us the whole game. It’s just at the end of the game we came together. “This is the best team I’ve ever been on.” The win, along with West’s loss to Lenoir City, puts Bearden second in the district behind unbeaten Maryville. Even during the post game celebration, the importance of playoff positioning was not lost on the Bulldogs. “We’ve got some tough games up ahead, but it puts us in a great position in the district and getting playoff positions,” Coach Taylor said. The Bulldogs travel next week to take on Heritage (0-7, 0-4), but they took plenty of time Friday to enjoy a win that had been a long time coming. “We worked hard all summer for this, and everybody’s happy,” Matherly said. “We love it.” Aidan Sears is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.