Sevier County defense steps up
Seth Arwood just saw the colors.
“All I remember is a bunch of purple flying to the ball,” the Sevier County junior said. “We got a good stop. It’s definitely a good feeling, especially on fourth down.”
That was just one of five Cherokee drives in the second quarter on Friday where the Smoky Bears defense got the ball back for its potent offense. Sevier County produced four touchdowns off those stops, rolling its way to a 56-14 victory.
“Everything just had to click for us,” said safety Jesse Adams. “And it did.”
The Bears (5-1, 3-0 District 2-AAA) allowed 98 yards in the first half and 30 of those came on the final play of second quarter. Cherokee made it past midfield just once in the first 24 minutes on a three-yard incursion.
It was exactly the kind of performance Sevier County coach Steve Brewer was looking for after Maryville put 55 points on the Bears a week ago.
“I think it’s huge,” Brewer said. “We gave up a lot of yards against Morristown West. Against Dobyns-Bennett, the first half we had three possessions. They kept the ball most of the time and certainly against Maryville, Maryville scored every possession.
“This was a gut check for our defense and, man, I’m just pleased with how they responded.”
It wasn’t until the second half that the Chiefs (2-4, 1-2) put together any significant drives. By then, it was already 49-0.
“That’s momentum that will carry us into the next few games and into the playoffs,” said Connor Bailey who logged his first playing time since being injured against D-B. “We’re excited. We know our defense can step up and play ball. We’re just ready to play.”
The Bears showed that, letting the game get out of hand in the second quarter. The lead then was 14-0, but the Chiefs managed only 11 yards over their next four drives. Two of those drives gained -1 and zero yards.
Sevier County kicker Paul Butuza drove every kick into the end zone, leaving Cherokee stuck short of the 30 drive after drive.
“We were just playing smash-mouth football,” Arwood said. “The whole team was hitting. On a couple fourth downs and third-down stops, the whole team was around the ball. We just came up with a big stop.”
It’s the type of performance the Bears can build on with a trip to rival Seymour looming next Thursday.
“Practice, practice, that’s all we did,” Adams said. “We worked hard and we knew we had to.”