Thanks to win over Bearden, Sevier County can clinch playoff berth Friday against South Doyle
A win over the 1-8 South Doyle Cherokees Friday night will clinch a post-season berth for the Sevier County Smoky Bears just 21 days removed from a 13 quarter scoreless streak and three-game losing skid that left Bears’ fans wandering if this might be the year that Coach Steve Brewer’s string of 10 consecutive playoff appearances comes to an end.
Thanks to a 35-7 win over the Bearden Bulldogs last Friday; the Bears (5-4, 3-3) will guarantee itself a post-season slot virtue of a head-to-head win over Jefferson County. The Patriots and Bears are tied for fourth place and have identical overall and conference marks heading into the final week of the regular season. The top four teams in the region earn playoff berths.
Senior tailback Zacc Pate piled up impressive numbers of his own against the Bulldogs. Pate, who was injured during the mid-season, appears to be back in form. He grounded out a season high 251 rushing yards and found the end zone twice Friday night. Pate’s 251 yards against the Bulldogs gives him 1,148 on the season to go along with 18 touchdowns. Despite his outstanding play this season, Pate’s numbers could get lost in the mix when All-Region honors are handed out because of a bevy of great tailbacks in 1-5A.
Pate’s first touchdown of the night came in the second quarter and covered 74 yards to give the Bears a 14-0 lead after the Zac Tarwater extra –point. Pate helped set up Sevier County’s first score of the night by converting a key fourth down with a six-yard run, giving quarterback Phillip Chaney an opportunity to hit Trey Pippen on a 35-yard scoring pass to put the bears up 7-0 in the first quarter. The Chaney to Pippen touchdown capped a 96-yard Bears drive.
Chaney and Pippen hooked up again on Sevier County’s next offensive series on a 50-yard pass and catch to put the Bears up 21-0 at the half.
Pate broke loose for a 50-yard scoring jaunt in the third and Chaney threw his third touchdown pass of the night—a 25-yarder to Nick Miller—to give the Bears a 35-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs prevented the shutout with a late touchdown pass.
The Smoky Bears will host the Cherokees with the season on the line Friday night at 7:30.