The King's Academy begins football season with a win
A home-run offense and a defense that has grown up over the last year got The King’s Academy off to a strong start on Friday.
“We obviously knew we were going to be better (this year),” said Lions coach Matt Lowe. “To have that type of success, it’s a credit to these young men and how much better they’ve gotten. Bottom line, we have a chance to be really good.”
Sunbright doesn’t need any convincing of that after TKA blew past the Tigers, 41-14. Ben Sexton, Ridge Palmer and Chandler Viscardis averaged 44 yards per catch and reeled in four touchdowns in the win while Phillip Sellers had two scores on the ground. Jacob Hoffman and Brandon Burgess split time at quarterback, throwing two touchdowns each.
The Lions were even more impressive on defense, holding a Sunbright team that scored 55 points in this game last year to just 14 points. Jason Maduafokwa, who was productive at running back, stuffed the stat sheet on defense. The Nigerian native had three tackles for loss two sacks, two caused fumbles and a fumble recovery as part of 11 total tackles. Sellers had 14 total tackles.
Jonathan Atchley picked up the first interception of his career in the secondary when the Tigers had driven within two yards of a score while Cameron Bostic played great in 1-on-1 coverage all night long, Lowe said.
“Defensively is where you saw this team really grow up,” Lowe said.
The Lions return home next Friday to host Hancock County before opening up district play on Sept. 5 against Friendship Christian.
“There’s some major teams on our schedule (but) it’s an exciting time to be a part of The King’s Academy football program,” Lowe said. “These guys have really taken big step from a year ago.”
County starts strong
TKA’s victory meant all five Sevier County high school football teams are off to 1-0 starts. Pigeon Forge (71-0 over Cobsy) and Sevier County (35-0 over Bearden) earned shutouts while Seymour (34-7 over Sullivan North) came close. Gatlinburg-Pittman had to hold off Cocke County, 49-42. Since Pigeon Forge began play in 2001, that’s the first time all five schools have won the first game.
Twist of fate
After catching the first touchdown pass of Friday’s 34-7 win over Sullivan North, Seymour receiver Blaise Rooney had what everyone thought was a second TD reception only a few minutes later.
It wasn’t to be, however, after a holding call negated Rooney’s weaving run through the Raider defense. Then as he played defense early in the second quarter, Rooney went down and didn’t get up. After a delay, he was helped from the fieldwith an apparent ankle injury. Ice was applied and he spent the second half supporting himself on the sideline with crutches.
“He said he got stepped on out there, and so to take precaution, we just pulled him out,” Seymour coach Jerry Cooper said. “It hurt him pretty good. We’re hopeful that it was minor.”
Seymour’s Devante Farmer showed against the Raiders why he has the potential to be exceptional on both sides of the football.
Farmer caught a touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 27-0 in the first half. He then intercepted a pass just before time ran out in the second quarter and recovered a Sullivan North fumble as the third period opened. As if that weren’t enough, he ran the ball a few times.
“He was all over the place,” Cooper said. “He might be the best athlete in the locker room. We’re still working with him on discipline and execution, but he’s a great athlete and I’m happy for him.”
Northview Academy began the middle school season on Thursday with a 42-0 shutout of Concord Christian.