Maryville rolls by Sevier County, 55-6
Luke Manning sat alone on the bench, helmet still on, staring straight ahead.
His Sevier County teammates had the same glum, zombie-like look on their faces. Hours earlier, the Smoky Bears were undefeated. That was about to change.
“There's a big knot in my stomach right now,” Manning said. “You hate to lose by this big of a margin. Give it to Maryville. They're a great team. They showed us that tonight.”
Manning and Sevier County discovered the gap between the Bears and the state's top-ranked team Friday in a 55-6 loss at Burchfield Stadium. Maryville (5-0) scored on every possession, converting big play after big play to steamroll the Bears (4-1).
The Rebels had 375 yards rushing and 179 through the air. Quarterback John Garrett racked up 254 total yards and three touchdowns while Shawn Prevo ran for 136 yards and two scores.
“Some of the matchups weren't good and they just blew us out,” said Sevier County coach Steve Brewer. “Defensively we had a hard time stopping them. Offensively we had trouble putting together consecutive decent plays. We did have one really good drive.
“They just beat us. There is no alibi.”
The Bears only scoring drive came in the second quarter when it was already 28-0. Manning, who finished 19 of 32 for 152 yards and two interceptions, found Devante Matthews three times for 49 yards on the drive. One 26-yard pass set up Zach Sauls for a 1-yard touchdown.
Maryville's response? A four-play drive, highlighted by a 57-yard jog from Prevo. Jaylen Burgess took it the last 12 yards into the end zone to give the Rebels a 35-6 lead.
“We scheme and we scheme,” Matthews said. “We just have to make plays on the defensive side of the ball.”
Stopping Maryville turned out to be the impossible task. No down or distance was too much for the Rebels to overcome. The visitors swallowed yardage in big chunks, scoring their first three touchdowns on plays of 36, 28 and 30 yards. None of their first-half touchdowns were for less than 10 yards.
“I just thought we executed well,” said Maryville coach George Quarles. “We had a real good week of practice, probably one of our better weeks in a while. Practice went fast. It was fun. You wish you could be like that all the time.”
Finding that kind of offensive success was a bit tougher for the Bears. Sevier County was counting yards in twos and threes while Maryville moved down the field in 10s and 20s. A 26-yard catch from Matthews was the Bears' biggest play. They had just six plays over 10 yards, none on the ground.
That will have to change if Sevier County has aspirations of contending for a state title. Brewer billed Friday's loss as a learning experience. Now the Bears know how far they have left to go.
“We learned what it takes to be the No. 1 team in the state,” Austin Rice said. “We know what we have to work up to. We will. We will work up to that.”