Sevier County dominates Science Hill in playoff win
Earlier this year, Steve Brewer called Sevier County’s 42-point second quarter against Seymour one of the most productive the coach’s Smoky Bears have ever had.
That outburst may have been knocked down a peg after Sevier County repeated the feat Friday in a 63-20 rout of Science Hill in the second round of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class 6A playoffs.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know what the score was,” said Bears defensive end Seth Arwood. “I looked up to see how much time was left and it was 49-7. I was amazed. I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ ”
In a season of skyrocketing scores, this one may be the most shocking. These same Hilltoppers (9-3) had scored 90 in the second game of the season and hadn’t been held below 35 since Sept. 27. They were down 56-7 by halftime.
“Our goal is to score as fast as we can, any way we can,” said Connor Bailey. “Big plays, driving the ball down the field, whatever we’ve got to do. Score fast, keep a fast pace. We like to stay in shape like that.”
Sevier County (11-1) will need to put together that same kind of performance next Friday when the Bears travel to face a Maryville team that beat them 55-6 in September. They’ll bring a defense that on Friday, after surrendering 35 points or more the last three weeks, broke Science Hill’s back.
It was just a 14-0 game after the first quarter when Devante Matthews caught a short pass and turned it into a 55-yard scamper down the sideline to the end zone. Jesse Adams picked up his first of two second-quarter interceptions on the Hilltoppers’ next drive, returning the pick 45 yards for a touchdown. He made a leaping interception after the team’s traded touchdowns, setting up another short touchdown run for Dorian Banks.
If you lost count, that made it 42-7.
“We knew we had a terrbile defensive game last week,” Adams said. “We had to come out and show what we can actually do, and we did.”
The Hilltoppers showed they had playmakers, racking up 338 yards rushing, but couldn’t get what they needed most: points. Their second drive of the game went 15 plays and 73 yards before ending in a missed field goal.
Then there were those two second-quarter picks, one coming right after Malik McGue had ripped off a 21-yard run for a first down. Very little went Science Hill’s way in that 42-point quarter.
“We lost control of the game as soon as they started scoring,” said Hilltoppers coach Stacy Carter. “From the get-go we didn’t play very good and they played great.”
How great? Bailey, asked to play running back for the first time since middle school with both Joe Hayes and Banks nursing injuries, had two touchdowns and 84 yards. Banks, who Brewer wasn’t even sure would be able to play, ended up scoring three touchdowns on 107 yards. Zach Sauls also had a pair of touchdown runs.
We haven’t even talked about IMAC offensive player of the year Luke Manning (10 of 13 passing, 205 yards, touchdown).
“It was just a great performance,” Brewer said. “I never saw that coming.”