Manning sets TD mark in Sevier County victory
Sevier County raced out to a 35-point first-half lead over Cocke County on Friday night and rode it, and the mercy-rule clock, to a 42-0 District 2-AAA victory.
On the final home game of the regular season, Smoky Bears quarterback Luke Manning celebrated senior night by passing for 242 yards and four touchdowns, breaking Angelo Raga’s TD record.
Manning’s final toss of the night was a 54-yard, second-half strike to Jacob Whaley, who was seeing action in his first game since suffering an elbow injury earlier this season.
“The seniors came out with a fire under their tails tonight since it was the last home game,” Manning said. “I’m glad we came out like we did and took care of business.”
Manning said he was unaware of breaking the TD passing record until he exited the game for the night and was told by Raga himself.
“I didn’t even know I was close,” Manning said.
Sevier County coach Steve Brewer said he was more than happy with the energy and enthusiasm exhibited by his squad.
“We got off to a good start with 21 points in the first quarter and you always want to end your last home game on a positive note. We have a lot of seniors,” Brewer said.
“I’m glad we got out of it healthy. Luke broke a pretty significant record. He has 50 now. That’s pretty good execution on his part.”
Although Cocke County (1-7, 0-5) couldn’t stop the Bears defensively, the Fighting Cocks tried to slow the onslaught on offense by running the play clock down to its final seconds before each snap. The strategy didn’t work and even resulted in several delay of game flags.
Cocke County also lost its quarterback, Hunter Suggs, to injury in the second half.
Sevier County (7-1, 5-0) opened the contest by stuffing Cocke County’s first offensive effort and then scored on its second play with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Dalton Ford.
The Bears repeated the feat to make it 14-0 after a 47-yard pass from Manning to Devante Matthews set up a 5-yard rushing TD by Joseph Hayes.
Manning next hooked up with Jake Gosser for an 18-yard TD, and the Bears increased their lead to 28-0 when Manning hit Austin Rice on a 34-yard scoring strike.
The final score of the first half came on a 5-yard run by Zach Sauls to make it 35-0.
Next up for the Bears is a road game at Jefferson County.