Sevier County's offense putting up big numbers

Nov. 15, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

Every time Steve Brewer looks up the scores of high school football games on Saturdays, the numbers seem to get bigger and bigger.

“You see a lot of people scoring in the 40s, 50s and 60s,” the Sevier County coach said. “It’s just strange what’s happening. Our offense has been very efficient. I think this team has scored more points than any since I’ve been here certainly.”

It’s been a scoring feast for the Smoky Bears (10-1) in 2013. They started the year by dropping 62 on Bearden and have scored more than 40 six straight times. They’ve scored more than 50 six times, including the last two weeks. 

But here comes Science Hill (9-2) for the second round of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class 6A playoffs. The Hilltoppers posted 90 points on David Crockett in the second game of the season and have scored 273 points during their current six-game winning streak. If ever Sevier County needed to put up a big number, it’s tonight at Burchfield Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Bears quarterback Luke Manning. “Seeing which offense can outlast the other and which one can outstrategize the other’s opposing defense. I think it’s just going to be a great contest.”

Manning is a big reason for Sevier County’s nearly 500 points. The IMAC offensive player of the year has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and found the end zone 29 times with his arm. He led the Bears to a touchdown on every possession last week in the playoff opener against Cookeville.

But he’s had plenty of help, too. Seventeen different players have scored touchdowns for Sevier County this fall. Twelve of those players have found the end zone more than once.

“A lot of it is the quarterback,” said receiver Jacob Whaley, who has seven touchdown catches. “Luke knows how to find us. He knows where we’re going to be and he gets us the ball.”

That instinctive feel between quarterback and receivers goes back to repetition. It’s possibly the biggest by-product of the no-huddle offense the Bears have run since around 2009, when college teams like Oregon popularized it. Sure, Brewer’s offense allows Sevier County to run more plays in a game, but more importantly is what it does in practice.

“The reps we get in practice going no-huddle, probably two to three times the amount of plays we get if we huddled up after every play we ran,” Brewer said. “To me, we’ve done these plays over and over and over and over. I think it’s true of most any sport, the more quality reps you get, the better you’re going to execute. I think this style has a built-in way of kind of improving your execution.”

Manning said that constant repetition allows the Bears to execute little things so well that a simple screen pass can end up going for 20 yards. The level of complexity isn’t astronomical. Sevier County is just very good at the things it does well. A glance at the numbers confirms that.

“We repetitively practice the same routes, the same simple stuff week in, week out,” Manning said. “Getting that down to a T is what lets us score so many points.”