The Transylvania Times -

Blue Devils Fall To Mustangs, Johnson Exits With Injury - Brevard NC


October 22, 2018

Graham Phillips looks for open space after intercepting a Mustangs' pass in the first half.

One week after putting together his best performance of the season, Brevard senior quarterback Mitchell Johnson had to watch his team suffer a tough conference loss Friday night at Smoky Mountain.

After scrambling out of the pocket during the first quarter, Johnson was sandwiched between a pair of Mustang defenders, ultimately injuring his shoulder and forcing him to exit the contest.

Backup quarterback Keenan Hawkins took Johnson's place under center, and while he came up with some quality drives for the offense, a pair of interceptions helped Smoky jump out to a 14-0 halftime lead, with the Mustangs going on to win by a final of 28-14.

Losing your senior quarterback in the first quarter of a big conference game is the type of scenario every coach dreads.

Brevard head coach Craig Pritchett said he was proud of the effort he got from Hawkins, who finished the game playing both sides of the ball as an outside linebacker on defense.

"I'm proud of Keenan," Pritchett said. "I thought he did a great job while he was in. He had a few interceptions where he was trying to make a play. But it was a game between two good football teams and everything just seemed to go Smoky's way."

Aside from the turnovers, Pritchett said Brevard's offense was able to move the ball against the Mustangs, but wasn't able to cap off those drives.

On the other side, while the defense hung tough in the first half, a few big plays down the stretch gave Smoky the boost they needed.

"The offense seemed to move the ball pretty well in the first half. We just couldn't quite punch it in. The defense came out strong and gave up some plays later on. I told the team that this was a game that came down to six inches difference here and there, and credit to Smoky Mountain for making those plays," Pritchett said.

As for Johnson's injury, initial reports were a shoulder sprain.

Pritchett said the senior was sore over the weekend, but planned on a more thorough examination during Monday's practice.

It's the kind of injury that could take a few days, or a few weeks, to fully recover.

All Blue Devil fans can do is hope for the best.

In the meantime, the loss to Smoky drops Brevard to 7-2 overall, with a 2-1 mark in the Smoky Mountain Conference.

Junior Luke Dodson's big run on a handoff helped set up a late TD for the Blue Devils, but it wasn't enough as Brevard lost 28-14.

Pisgah came up with a big 52-17 win over Hendersonville, moving the Black Bears into first place in the Mountain Six at 3-0.

Brevard hosts Pisgah in two weeks, but face a pivotal conference showdown between Hendersonville on Friday night.

The Bearcats are 1-2 in the conference and in desperate need of a win to right their ship.

As for Brevard, Friday night will be a true test of resiliency, especially if Johnson isn't fit to play.

Pritchett said while he is hopeful that Johnson will get cleared for action, he has confidence in Hawkins if he's asked to step up once again.

"Keenan and Mitchell ran a dual-headed quarterback system when they were on the jayvee," he said. "We're hopeful that Mitchell can come back, but we've got all the confidence in Keenan."


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