BY BRIAN HAMILTON
KNOXVILLE – Sevier County traveled to West to face the Class 4A top-ranked Rebels on Friday night and fell in heartbreaking fashion 20-19.
“I wouldn’t trade for any other team,” Sevier County head coach Todd Loveday said after the loss. “They keep practicing hard and playing hard. We don’t worry about who we’re playing.”
The Smoky Bears took an early 7-0 lead when Garrett Hawkins ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
A West fumble was recovered by Sevier’s Stephen Cain, giving the Smoky Bears good field position again. Sevier County capitalized on the turnover by scoring a touchdown when Collin Shannon found Corbin Overbay for a 13-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
A 32-yard touchdown pass by West would pull the Rebels to within 13-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Rebels scored another touchdown in the second quarter to take a 14-13 lead into halftime.
The Smoky Bears scored on their first drive of the second half and would lead 19-14 after three quarters.
Sevier County would force a fumble on fourth down in the fourth quarter and West recovered, but short of the first down marker. The Smoky Bears would take over on downs with under 10 minutes left to play.
The Rebels would score late in the fourth quarter to take a 20-19 lead, but Sevier County would answer on its next possession when Shannon hit Overbay for a huge gain to the Rebels’ 25-yard line. The Smoky Bears fumbled on the next play and the ball was recovered by West’s Ryan Scott, ending Sevier County’s hopes.
“Sevier County High will not be a pushover,” Loveday said. “We’re here to win every time we play.”
Shannon threw for 274 yards and scoring two touchdowns, while Overbay caught 10 passes for 108 yards and also recorded an interception on defense.
The Smoky Bears (2-3, 0-2 5A Region 2) will travel to William Blount (1-4) in a non-region contest, while West (5-0, 2-0) will host Class 3A top-ranked Alcoa (4-1) on Thursday night. The game will be televised on Thursday Night Rivals.