Sevier County’s big second half spoils Bearden’s season opener

It wasn’t the start to the season that many had hoped or predicted for Bearden.

Sevier County pulled away to beat Bearden 62-27 on Friday night, shutting out the Bulldogs in the second half after they managed to tie the game late in the second quarter.

Bearden (0-1) started its scoring with a Malachi Horton touchdown run that tied the score at 7-7. Griffin Delong put the Bulldogs back on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a long scoring run, which started 20 unanswered points from Bearden as they tied the game at 27-27.

However, the Bulldogs gave up an 82-yard kickoff return to Conner Bailey, which put the Bears (1-0) up ahead 34-27 going into halftime.

They never looked back.

“That hurt us,” Bearden Coach Brad Taylor said. “We saw a lot of good things, but (Sevier Co. is) a good football team and we knew that they were going to be a good football team coming into this.

“I just felt like we made too many mistakes… Especially second half, our execution just wasn’t there and we had good effort, but we’ve just got to make sure to get 11 guys on the same page all the time.”

Senior transfer Horton showcased his abilities for Bearden, carrying the ball 12 times for 198 yards with two touchdowns in the first half and finishing the game with 16 carries and 219 yards.

Delong had 96 yards rushing in the first half and finished the night with 139 yards and one touchdown.

Sevier County started off the third quarter with a 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Manning to senior Jacob Whaley that made the score 40-27.

Bearden’s offense was unable to make any more big plays, and the Bulldogs defense could not keep up with Sevier County’s passing game.

“They made plays when they needed to,” Coach Taylor said. “And they’ve always have been good in the passing game…and they’ve gotten a better quarterback that’s in their system and they’ve gotten some really nice receivers.”

Bearden now prepares to face defending 4A state champions Fulton (1-0) at Bill Young Field next Friday.

“We’re just going to lick our wounds a little bit tonight,” Coach Taylor said. “And then we’ll go back to work, but you’ve got to allow a little time to lick your wounds.

“We know (Fulton is) a very good football team and we’re going to have to play very sound and we’re going to have to make plays at every time we have an opportunity.”