Sevier County offense doesn't slow down
Sevier County’s consistent offensive production, which has been on display over the course of the regular season, was the difference in Friday’s TSSAA Class 6A first-round contest win over Cookeville.
“We scored on every possession,” quarterback Luke Manning emphasized following the 56-42 victory.
And the Smoky Bears (10-1) will likely need that kind of production again in hosting Science Hill (9-2) this week in the second round.
The Hilltoppers used defense to gain an advantage over Farragut on Friday night, turning a pass interception into a go-ahead touchdown and, like Sevier County, then relied on its offense to maintain a two-touchdown cushion for the remainder of the contest, which also ended 56-42.
Sevier County’s defense, which had its hands full against Cookeville’s running attack, led by Cameron Germenis’ 218-yard, four-touchdown night, will again be challenged by Science Hill, though the Toppers rely nearly as much on the pass as the Smoky Bears.
Quarterback Malik McGue was 13 of 22 for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns against Farragut, while Sevier County’s Luke Manning was 24 of 27 for 336 yards and four TDs against the Cavs.
Despite the impressive passing stats, both teams got solid production from running backs in the first round. Science Hill’s Chance Pierce rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns against Farragut, and Sevier County’s Joseph Hayes carried 10 times for 74 yards and two TDs. Hayes also had a score called back by a penalty. Dorian Banks ran for 84 yards on nine carries and scored once.
So offensively, the second round appears to be primed for another shootout – as well as more frigid weather -- and each team’s defense will be on the spot to make a difference in the outcome.
“This is a team thing,” Sevier County coach Steve Brewer said after the win over Cookeville. “Sometimes one side of the ball picks up the other. We’ve got a week to get ready for Science Hill and that’s what we hope to do.”