Hammonds remembers tie from long ago

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 12:49 PM

Benny Hammonds still remembers his first — and last — tie.

It was 1969 and the Gatlinburg-Pittman coach was fresh out of Carson-Newman and coaching at Cocke County.

“Back then you could tie. There used to be a lot of ties,” Hammonds said. “We tied Fulton 7-7. Coaches like to say, ‘It’s like kissing your sister.’ You didn’t get anything settled.”

The draw was a matchup of former college teammates with Bobby Black coaching the Falcons back then. It leaves Hammonds with a rather odd career record of 321-148-1. That’s 470 games.

And one tie.

He’s the only active coach in Sevier County with a tie on his resume. Now, ties are impossible with overtime deciding winners. Hammonds said he remembers high schools breaking ties first with the NCAA adopting its version of overtime in 1996.

“I think when you play a game it should be decided,” Hammonds said. “I think that’s the reason you play. ... It makes the ball game exciting for fans and players. Man, you got to buckle down.”

The coach said he remembers as many as four overtime games in his time with the Highlanders. The extra session can be an emotional time for players and fans, but Hammonds tells his guys to stay level-headed. He said it’s important to have a strategy. Hammonds wants to be on defense first.

“Most coaches like to go on defense,” he said. “That way they know exactly what they have to do on offense.”

Sexton a gameday decision

Nick Sexton’s status remains up in the air heading into tonight’s road trip to Cocke County.

The Seymour quarterback suffered a bad sprain during last week’s loss to Clinton. Eagles coach Jim Moore said Sexton is scheduled to meet with a doctor this afternoon.

“They’ll tell him where he’s at,” Moore said. “He’s been in a boot all week. He’s stood over on the sidelines and thrown.”

Brandon Gann has taken the snaps in practice after filling in for Sexton against the Dragons. Moore said Seymour misses Sexton’s experience and dual-threat athleticism when he’s on the sidelines.

But Moore expects Gann to continue to fill in nicely.

“We’ve stayed with what we do,” Moore said. “You just have to go into the game and see what Cocke County has for us. ... Brandon’s been with us all the way through. It’s getting him the reps that he needs. He’s had them all this week and he’s done a good job.”

East a “dangerous” foe

Sevier County coach Steve Brewer knows how tough it is to start the district schedule with a loss.

That’s why the Smoky Bears can’t afford to overlook a Morristown East team that went 1-9 in 2012.

“When you lose early you’re looking up the rest of the way,” Brewer said. “Certainly we’ve got to try to avoid that.”

While a clash with Dobyns-Bennett looms next week, Sevier County (1-0) must first get by a Hurricanes team that has scored 87 points and won twice as many games as it did last year in just two weeks. The Bears arrive in Morristown for a 7:30 kickoff tonight.

“They’ve got some quality skill kids,” Brewer said. “From guard to guard they weight about 900 pounds. Defensively they have good athletes on the defensive side. ... They’re excited about direction they’re headed. That makes for a dangerous foe.”

The Smoky Bears have had two weeks off after putting up 62 points in a win over Bearden. That’s been a positive, Brewer said. Hot temperatures have allowed Sevier County to get good practices in and work on conditioning. After a long weekend, the coach said his team has had a solid game week.

“Practices were a little bit longer (last week),” Brewer said. “I felt like that was a good test. ... I think we’re ready to play Friday night.”