Second-half rally powers Sevier County past Dobyns-Bennett, 34-30
Finally, it was there.
After Dobyns-Bennett quarterback Josh Holt had torched Sevier County with the football all night long, the junior had made a mistake. There was the football, precariously just out of the reach of the paws of Dorian Banks.
“I couldn't bend over to pick it up,” said the Smoky Bears sophomore. “I was too excited.”
Instead, he fell on it. Three plays later, Luke Manning found Alan Silva for the game-winning touchdown in a remarkable 34-30 Sevier County win. It came one year after the Indians handed the Bears their only two losses.
“It's unbelievable,” Banks said. “It's undescribable. You have so many things running through your mind.”
Sevier County (3-0) rallied from 23-7 down in the second half to knock off D-B (2-2), overcoming Holt's 233 yards on the ground, 131 through the air and four touchdowns. In the moments following the game, how they did it may not have been so important. They just did it.
“I'm just proud of the effort, the way these guys kept fighting,” said Bears coach Steve Brewer. “It's a great win.”
That victory, like a slow-moving play, just took a while to develop. The first half looked like a repeat of last week when the offense struggled to move the ball against Morristown East. Holt burned the defense, meanwhile, with brilliant fakes. One came on his first touchdown when it appeared the defense had stopped tailback Zach Casey. Instead, the quarterback was 38 yards downfield in the endzone.
Injuries made the situation even uglier. Jacob Whaley was hurt early in the game and the guests lost both Connor Bailey and Kody Paul later in the game. Senior Joseph Hayes was already missing after suffering a sprain last week.
Quick strikes changed the script in the second with Manning leading the Sevier County offense to four straight touchdowns. He finished 12 of 23 for 173 yard and one touchdown each on the ground and through the air. Banks had 61 yards and a touchdown.
Even when the offense finally rallied the visitors within three points, the Bears had to fight. Holt, holding on until the last second against the Sevier County, fired a 46-yard touchdown pass to Casey with eight minutes, 39 seconds to play to give the Indians a 10-point lead back.
The response was immediate, with Ben Ogle casually one-handing a 44-yard pass on the first play of the Bears' next drive. Zach Sauls second touchdown run put the pressure on the Sevier County defense to get the ball back in Manning's hands.
“Our offensive coaches will just come up to me, come up to some other guys and say, 'Hey, we need the ball,' ” said senior linebacker Logan Brett. “That's what we did.”
Four plays later, Holt lost the ball.
“I didn't have it tucked,” Holt said. “Good hit, jarred it loose. …
After Silva's touchdown catch, Holt brought his team deep into Sevier County territory. But his final, seven-yard run on fourth down came up two yards short.
“It feels great,” Manning said. “It feels great to come back and beat D-B. Great rivalry, great atmosphere here. It's just an awesome win.”