Seymour holds off Cocke County
Despite a slow start, the Seymour Eagles bounced back from last week’s 20-point loss to Clinton with a slim five-point victory over IMAC Conference foe Cocke County on Friday night at Hedrick Field.
Seymour (2-1 overall, 1-0 IMAC) scored early but not often in the eventual 19-14 conference victory.
“We’re glad it’s over and that we’re on top,” Seymour coach Jim Moore said. “We’ll take the win.”
Eagles’ senior backup quarterback Brandon Gann started the game at Cocke County (0-3 overall, 0-1 IMAC) after senior starter Nick Sexton suffered a scary foot injury last week against Clinton.
Seymour drew first blood when junior kicker J.J. Jerman drilled a 25-yard field goal after a promising opening possession sputtered at the Newport 8 with 6:18 in the first.
But that was the only score of the first quarter for either squad.
After the Eagles failed to score again in the first, and with Gann going 1-for-2 passing for just six yards, Sexton quietly entered the contest against the Roosters with 10:46 in the half and a 1st-and-10 at his own 12 yardline.
Eight plays later and Sexton rolled left to avoid pressure, shed one would-be Newport sacker and spotted wide-open junior Braxton Dockery deep down the left sideline with no one within 15 yards of the player.
Sexton’s throw was on target and Dockery’s hands were true for a 40-yard TD and a 10-0 edge. The score stood until the break.
The Roosters, who fell by a combined 68-0 margin in their first two games, finally scored their first points of the season with an impressive third-quarter drive.
Cocke County marched 62 yards on 10 plays and found paydirt when senior Hunter Suggs connected with junior Austin Loveday in the right flat for a six-yard aerial TD with 6:52 in the third. Senior female kicker McKenzie Gregg’s PAT cut the Seymour edge to an unexpectedly close 10-7 margin.
But Eagles senior Tanner Sise answered immediately with a 77-yard TD sprint down the left sideline on the ensuing snap from scrimmage. Jerman missed the PAT, but Seymour again had some breathing room with a 16-7 lead with 6:29 in the third.
Jerman got some redemption later in the third with a 37-yard field goal for a 19-7 Seymour lead with 54.9 seconds in the period.
But the upset-minded Fighting Cocks kept clawing away at the Eagles and cut the advantage to an uncomfortable 19-14 tally after senior RB Kimble Thornton capped a seven-play, 66-yard drive with a nifty 35-yard TD run with 10 minutes left.
But that’s as close as it would get as Seymour held on for the five-point win.
Sise came through with another powerful and tackle-breaking run to convert a 3rd-and-7 near midfield that allowed the Eagles to run the clock out at the end.
Seymour next hosts Heritage, while the Fighting Cocks host Pigeon Forge next Friday.