Speed records fall at Bears combine
In football, there’s an old saying that speed kills.
If that’s true, the Sevier County Smoky Bears could have a lot of victims this fall.
The Purple and White showcased their speed, agility and strength Friday night at their first ever Sevier County High School Football Combine.
“I thought we had a lot of guys that stepped up,” said Sevier County assistant coach Jon Hutchins, who, along with fellow assistant Jonathan Brewer, handles the team’s strength and conditioning program.
“I liked the fact that our kids are willing to compete. When the lights come on and people are there you want to see those guys step up and do there best. And compared to what they have been doing, they did better. That shows you, number one — they’ve been working, and number two — when the lights come on they’re ready to shine.”
The Bears had 15 athletes run sub 4.7 40-yard dash times and an incredible 35 Bears finished in under five seconds flat, which set a new school standard.
“We were excited about that,” Hutchins said.
Rising junior Conner Bailey was the fastest of the bunch, running his 40 in 4.38 seconds.
Senior running back Joseph Hayes (4.45) and sophomore skill player Dorian Banks (4.44) — who transferred in from the Nashville area over the offseason and has already received a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee — also ran in under 4.5 seconds.
“We’re very speed oriented, and in the style of play that we have you have to be speed-oriented or you’re not going to be very good,” Hutchins said.
The Bears also excelled in the 10-yard shuttle, the “2” drill, pro shuttle, standing vertical, standing broad jump and kneeling medicine ball throw, setting four new school records.
Bailey, who’s started in the defensive backfield since his freshman season, got a 9’ 2” standing broad jump, 6.47-second “2” drill and 3.75-second pro shuttle, all three of which are new school standards.
Senior Chaz McKinney also notched a new school mark with a 24-foot, 11-inch medicine ball throw. McKinney also led the team with 18 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Bears head coach Steve Brewer was impressed with what the strength and conditioning staff have done with the players in the offseason.
“I was very pleased with the production of our summer weight program,” the head coach said Saturday. “I think coach Hutchison and Jonathan have done a really good job, and I think our players have worked really hard.
He was also excited about the results of the first public combine the team has held.
“I think last night was a good idea, I think it’s something that will grow, and I think it motivated the kids,” he said. “When you’re running your 40 and there’s a bunch of young kids and parents at the finish line watching you, it adds to the motivation of wanting to run a good time.”
The coach thanked everyone that had a hand in making it happen.
“So many people contributed — the radio station, CNB, our booster club — so many people helped us put that on and make it a nice event for our players,” Brewer said.
The Bears start fall practice, along with the rest of Tennessee, next week. Their first game will be Friday, Aug. 23, at home against Bearden.