Patriots Fall To Sevier County 26-35

The Jefferson County Patriots first game of the season went much like this year, full of interruption, resistance and resiliency. After the long wait through contactless practice and on the field social distancing, the Patriots were fired up and ready to play their first game. They were met on the grid iron with an equally determined Sevier County squad, and the kind of uncertainty that we’ve all come to expect from 2020 as the weather dismayed football all across East Tennessee.

Unsurprisingly, given the way 2020 has unfolded thus far, a two hour delay occurred right after the beginning of the second quarter. Weathering both the storm and the onslaught of the Sevier County Smokey Bears, the Patriots found themselves down 35-12 heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Patriots slammed their feet firmly into the ground and decided to make a comeback through sheer determination and force of will. Tanner England exhibited this fight throughout the game and specifically in the fourth quarter where he caused a huge turnover for the Patriots. Ayden Houston, rushing over a whopping 200 yards for the night, was consistently lighting quick to the corner causing a solid Sevier County defense problems throughout the game. Houston helped lead the Patriots fourth quarter charge, but an interception by the Smokey Bears secondary halted the charge momentarily. Sevier County attempted to run the clock out; however, the Patriots would not allow that and caused another turnover. A promising comeback drive ensued, but it looked to be halted by a holding penalty. Pushing forward, the Patriots recovered fiercely and created a huge fourth down conversion from Conner Cawood to Kade Parker. Cawood followed that by hitting Colin Young on a seam where he raced to the end zone for a hard-fought touchdown. The Patriots had closed the gap to 35-24 and lined up for a two point conversion. On sheer effort alone, Houston and the offensive line converted against a strong Sevier County defense, showing the grit the Patriots exhibited throughout the night with a score now of 35-26.

The Patriots needed to recover an onside kick to continue their comeback, but the Smokey Bears secured the recovery at their own 45 yard line. Behind a pair of bruising running backs, Sevier County was able to gain a first down and run the clock out. The Patriots hard fought comeback fell short due to the deficit created throughout the game with special teams turnovers. The Patriots will have some time to fix the turnover issues as this strange 2020 season takes more odd turns. The Patriots are scheduled to gain an automatic win against Morristown East due to Covid 19.

Source: Sophie Swann, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer Angie Stanley, Photographs