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With quick start, Smoky Bears roll past Bearden

SEVIERVILLE – Bearden traveled to Sevier County High School with the hopes of destroying the Smoky Bears’ playoff hopes.

Instead the Bulldogs saw Sevier County’s playoff dreams strengthen as they sent the Bulldogs home with a 35–7 loss on Friday, Oct. 22.

The Smoky Bears (5-4 overall record, 3-3 in Region 1-5A) gained 517 yards of total offense thanks in large part to their running game that produced 327 yards.

Bearden, meanwhile, fell to 1-8 overall, 1-5 in the region.

Zacc Pate led the Sevier County rushing attack with 251 yards and two touchdowns, one a 74-yarder in the second quarter and the other a 50-yard scamper in the third quarter. Pate finished the night with an inflated 10.5 yard per carry average on 24 carries. “Going into the game I wanted to shut down the run and they were able to run it inside,” BHS head coach Paul Maynard said. “We didn’t tackle very well.”

The Smoky Bears’ passing game also was successful, as Philip Chaney finished the night 10 of 15 for 170 yards and three touchdown passes. Chaney’s favorite target, Trey Pippin, was at the receiving end of two touchdown passes (33 and 50 yards) and Nick Miller caught the other for a 25-yard third quarter score.

The Bulldogs’ lone touchdown came on a two-play, 73-yard drive that was highlighted by a halfback pass when BHS running back Eric Pickle found Thomas Wiley wide open for a 35-yard touchdown.

Pickle, who has been the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback all season, played the entire game as the predominant running back for BHS. Pickle finished the night with 80 yards rushing on 16 attempts. His longest run of the night, a 38-yarder, set up the BHS touchdown play.

“I felt that it would make us better, he is an athlete,” Maynard said of Pickle. “He’s at the caliber of some of the other great athletic running backs we have had at BHS.”

Maynard said Pickle is going to be used as the featured back for the rest of this season and next. “Unless Eric Pickle decides to quit playing football at Bearden High School, that’s what he is going to be, that’s penciled in.”

This isn’t the first time this season that Maynard has surprised Bearden football observers with his use of Pickle. The previous week against South-Doyle, Maynard decided to use Pickle as a linebacker in addition to quarterback. Pickle continued his linebacker duties in this game and finished with eight tackles.

With Pickle at runningback, freshman Dawson Halliday got his first start at quarterback.

“For a freshman I am very pleased, but he has a lot to learn,” Maynard said of his young quarterback. “He did a decent job this past Friday; he’s only going to get better at it.”

Halliday finished with 54 yards on 4 of 13 completions. “We didn’t come out as ready and focused as I thought we should have,” Halliday said. “Next week we have to execute and bounce back from this loss.”

Defensively for BHS, Jordan Maynard continued his strong play at defensive end, finishing the night with 13 tackles, two sacks, a minus yardage tackle and a pass deflection.

BHS plays host to the Jefferson County High School Patriots (5-4, 3-3) Friday.

The Patriots are coming off a 27-7 win against South-Doyle and Chris Shiverdecker, the KFL’s leading rusher with 1,479 yards, is coming off a 158-yard, three touchdown performance.

“It’s tough when you’re (1-8) and you go into a ballgame, it’s hard to focus,” Maynard said. “Going into next game I’ve got to get them focused. Jefferson County is going to run it at us; we have to concentrate on shutting down the run and make them beat us with the pass.”

Opening kickoff on BHS Senior Night is 7:30 p.m.


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