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A BHS salvage job vs. Sevier
’Dawgs look to ruin Smoky Bear late playoff push

Playing spoiler to a playoff run and closing the 2004 season on a high note, two things Paul Maynard hopes to use as motivation for his struggling Bearden Bulldog football team.

With serious holes at linebacker thanks to a pair a season-ending injuries, plus a starter missing in the defensive backfield, coach Maynard has resorted to desperate measures as his ’Dawgs (1-7 overall record, 1-4 in Region 1-5A) travel to Sevierville Friday to battle Sevier County (4-4 overall, 2-3 in the region) beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The physically gifted starting quarterback is also a physically gifted linebacker.

Starting quarterback Eric Pickle is now doing double duty at linebacker — and doing it well after a 15-tackle performance last Friday’s 16-6 loss to South-Doyle. “I had trained Eric for a year-and-a-half (at linebacker), and he stepped in right where he left off,” Maynard said. “He’s a physical specimen (6-foot-1, 210 pounds). Strong as an ox and has great speed.”

As for trying to inspire his team, “I just told ’em I want to get better,” Maynard said. “This is very important for the Bearden High School football program. We can’t fold, we can’t just go through the motions the next two weeks. We’re an awfully young ballclub. It would be good to go out on a winning note knowing that we got better and let that momentum carry us into next year.”

While generally pleased with the progression of his defense, Maynard has expressed frustration concerning repeated mistakes on offense.

Meanwhile, Sevier County’s up-and-down season is currently up following its 38-21 region victory at Jefferson County last Friday.

“They’ve got a big, physical offensive front that they want to try and run behind,” Maynard said about SCHS.

While Sevier Co. head coach Steve Brewer is quick to point out his team’s lack of overall speed, the veteran Smoky Bear skipper said his defense is “playing with more intensity ... they’re getting to the ball,” while his offense features a speedy back and three big, experienced linemen.

“In the early part of the season we came out and played pretty well offensively and our defense was struggling,” Brewer said.

But following three consecutive losses without scoring, “our offense started to struggle and defensively we started playing a little bit better,” Brewer said.

“I think (against Jefferson Co.) both sides really played pretty good football for the first time in several weeks.”

Seniors anchor that big offensive line, a unit Brewer first pointed to when talking about offensive leaders. Offensive right tackle Tyler Gordon (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) “is maybe the leader of that group.

“When they play good we seem to play pretty good offense, and seem to be pretty productive,” Brewer added while also singling out left-guard Andrew Land (5-foot-11, 225) and left-tackle Adam Metcalf (6-foot-1, 295).

The Smoky Bears’ offense, averaging 268 yards per game, is based out of the I-formation. Tailback Zach Pate (5-foot-11, 190) is the team’s “feature back” according to Brewer, adding that Pate leads the team with “about” 900 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. Pate accounts for about two-thirds of Sevier Co.’s total of 168 rushing yards per game.

“He’s got good speed, he’s a sub four-five kid (4.5 seconds in 40-yard dash), he’s got a strong upper body,” Brewer said. “And he’s been getting some good blocking from his line.”

Behind quarterback Phillip Chaney — who, in his first career start at Bearden last season, led SCHS to a last-minute 20-13 win — “we probably average somewhere around seventeen throws a game,” Brewer said. That’s about 100 yards per game.

Brewer said Chaney has “a good temperament for a quarterback. I think he understands what we’re trying to do offensively. Shows good field leadership.” Receiver Nick Miller leads all receivers with 16 catches.

Defensively, “I think our front seven have been doing a good job,” Brewer said about his 43 base defense.

Strong safety Brian Roberts (5-foot-6, 145) leads the team in tackles, “closely followed” by linebacker Zach Tarwater (6-foot, 220). “Defensively we’ve been getting more and more consistent as the weeks have gone by,” Brewer said. “I think (last) Friday night, the best stat for the defense was that Jeff County only converted on one-of-ten third-down attempts, which is terrific, I think.”

That success came against a potent Patriot running attack. “I think our tackling was better Friday night,” said Brewer, in his 13th season at SCHS.

Defensive ends are Jack McGinnis (6-foot-4, 245) and Jeremiah Fox (6-foot, 215). Defensive tackles are Jake Wilkins (6-foot, 235) and Vaughn Jones (6-foot-2, 230).

Though giving up 31 points to Karns in a three-point early season loss, and 28 in a season-opening 40-28 win at Seymour, the Smoky Bear defense allowed only one touchdown in a 23-7 win against Science Hill and versus Campbell County in an 8-0 loss.

Through eight games, the Sevier County defense have averaged allowing 272 yards per game, 161 rushing and 111 passing.


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