Maroon Devils strong second half drives 35-16 win

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Toby Burrell

Swain County Schools

 

The Maroon Devils reeled off 28 straight points to open the second half, paving the way for a 35-16 non-conference win over visiting Smoky Mountain in the Friday, Aug. 25 home game. In the first half neither team could generate much offense. Smoky hurt themselves with turnovers, while the Maroon Devils could not jump start their running game.

For the second straight week, it was key halftime adjustments by the Maroon Devils that paid huge dividends. The adjustments effectively got their previously non-existent running game in high gear. The return of Swain’s most experienced running back, in Keshaun Beaner, didn’t hurt either. Swain scored on their first four possessions of the second half to erase a 10-7 halftime deficit.

In the second half, the Maroon Devil offense came to life. Swain took the opening possession of the second half and marched 78 yards in eight plays and took the lead for good. Quarterback Brodie Bowman scored the go-ahead score on a 33-yard option keeper. Holden Petty converted the extra point to give Swain the lead at 14-10.

The Maroon Devil defense would not be out done as they forced a three and out for the Mustangs on their opening possession of the half.  Swain took over following the punt on their own 32-yard line. They then covered 68 yards in seven plays to find the end zone on a three yard Keshaun Beaner run.  Beaner’s hard-nosed running accounted for 30 of the Devils 68 yards on the drive.  Bowman connected with Seth Parker for a 35 yard gain, to set up the Beaner touchdown.  Petty again made good on the extra point to stretch the lead to 21-10.

Swain was far from finished, as the Devils D forced another three and out for the Mustang offense. This time the Devils took over on their own 33 yard line. After a Bowman keeper on first down netted eight yards, Beaner would handle the rest. On the next play the senior broke free and dashed 59 yards for the Devils fourth score of the night. Petty knocked the extra point through to push the Swain lead to 28-10.

This time the Maroon Devils D wasted no time in getting the ball back.  Brier Younce intercepted a Smoky pass, giving the Devils the ball at their own 49 yard line. It would take the Devils seven plays to cover the 51 yards, all on the ground. Hunter Burrell did the honors with a 25 yard scamper. With the game barely into the fourth quarter Holden Petty gave the Devils their largest lead of the night at 35-10.

Swain’s only first half score came in the second quarter. Ian Brooks set the Maroon Devils up nicely with a fumble recovery at the Mustang 49 yard line. From there it took Swain 4 plays to cover the 49 yards.  Keshaun Beaner scored from seven yards out, while Petty’s first extra point gave Swain a 7-3 lead.

Smoky Mountain’s scored first on a Juan Yanez 27-yard field goal with 10:17 left in the second quarter. Just before halftime the Mustangs score to take the lead again on a Nate Coffey 1-yard run. Their final score came on a Cyrus Lanning 13-yard run with 3:33 left in the game.

Swain’s Keshaun Beaner finished with a career high 16 carries to go along with a career high 145 yards.  It marked the second career 100 yard game for the senior running back.

Brodie Bowman finished with 68 yards rushing, to go along with 99 yards through the air.  Bowman was 6 of 13 passing. His 99 yards pushed him past Denny Rochester into 7th place on the all-time passing yardage list at Swain.

The Maroon Devil defense, which was solid for the second straight week, was led by their trio of senior linebackers. Wren Gunter had 11 tackles, while Will Paul and Ice Littlejohn finished with nine tackles each. Gunter added a sack and a forced fumble, while Littlejohn had a nifty interception that stopped a Mustang drive in the first half.

Brier Younce and Tanner Wiggins were outstanding in the secondary. Younce came away with two interceptions, while Wiggins had one. Wiggins added a pass breakup just for good measure.

The Maroon Devils hit the road this week as they travel to North Henderson.

Smoky Mountain Times

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