The Transylvania Times -

Brevard Beats Smoky To Take First Place In Mountain Six

 

Last updated 3/29/2021 at 4:09pm

Joe Powell races for a 57-yard run in the first half of Brevard's road game against Smoky Mountain Friday night. The Blue Devils picked up their fourth straight win, taking down the Mustangs by a final score of 37-20. (Times photos by Jeremiah Reed)

The Brevard Blue Devils avoided any potential pitfalls in their Friday night road trip to Smoky Mountain, racing out to a 21-0 lead before using a pair of scores in the second half to hold off the Mustangs by a final score of 37-20.

Despite trailing all night, Smoky did just enough to keep things interesting, but the Blue Devil defense came up with key stops in the final quarter to secure the win.

Brevard got on the board on their second drive of the game after being pinned back at their own goal line following a punt.

Quarterback Joe Powell got things rolling with a 57-yard scramble to move the ball to the Mustangs' 31-yard line. Powell picked up 17 more yards on an option keeper on the next play.

Facing third-and-eight from the 12, Powell connected with Kyle Lovett, who toed the sideline of the end zone for the score.

A.J. Aberhardt added the PAT to make it 7-0 with 5:00 to go in the first quarter.

On the subsequent drive, Brevard forced its first turnover of the night, with a blindside hit on Smoky's quarterback jarring the ball loose and recovering at the Mustang 22-yard line.

That led to a 15-yard TD run from Swicegood moments later as Brevard opened up a 14-0 lead.

The next three drives were empty, but Brevard scored again midway through the second quarter as Powell scrambled for a nine-yard score.

Aberhardt knocked down the PAT and it looked like the Blue Devils could put it in cruise control.

But just when they looked dead in the water, Smoky came to life, taking the ensuing kickoff all the way back to the house to make it 21-7 with 5:35 to go in the half.

Brevard's next drive stalled, but the defense came up big again, with Caleb Jenkins recovering a fumble and running it back for the scoop-and-score. The snap on the PAT attempt was bobbled, leaving the score 27-7 at halftime.

Coming out of the locker room, the Mustangs put together their best drive of the night, marching 69 yards in just over five minutes before punching the ball in on the ground from six yards out to make it 27-14.

The Blue Devils responded on the ensuing drive. After a run from Jake Gravley moved the ball to midfield, Powell connected with Abram Justice over the middle to put the ball inside the Mustangs' 10-yard line.

Smoky kept Brevard from getting into the end zone, leaving Aberhardt to knock down the field goal to make it 30-14 with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

Justice came up big on the defensive side on the Mustangs' next possession, intercepting a pass and setting Brevard up at Smoky's 36-yard line.

A few plays later, Chris Wynn beat Smoky's coverage, leading to an easy 21-yard pitch-and-catch for the TD. The PAT from Aberhardt made it 37-14 with just under a minute to go in the third quarter.

After trading possessions, Smoky started at Brevard's 32-yard line. The Mustangs wasted little time, as running back Dustin Stephens gashed up the middle for the long TD run to make it 37-20 with 9:30 left to go in the game.

The Mustangs had one last scoring opportunity after moving inside Brevard's red zone, but a third-down fumble made it fourth-and-17, which Smoky was unable to convert, allowing the Blue Devils to run out the clock with under 2:00 to go.

For head coach Craig Pritchett, Brevard's fourth straight win was a signal that his team is growing week by week.

"We continue to make steps in the right direction. Each week we're getting better and getting more confidence, which makes them dangerous. Ability-wise, talent-wise, we can compete with anybody and I think they're figuring that out," he said.

All in all, it was a solid night for Brevard. The offense didn't turn the ball over, while the defense forced three turnovers that led to 13 points.

Outside of the kickoff TD return and Stephens' 32-yard score, the Blue Devils kept the Mustangs contained most of the game.

Kyle Lovett toes the sideline in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown reception to open the game's scoring.

"Coming into the game we knew we needed to take care of the ball and force some turnovers on defense and we did both of those things. Unfortunately, we gave up a big play on special teams and the long run up the middle. But the guys did what we asked them to do. They battled. They competed. And they got a big win," Pritchett said.

Brevard's victory in Sylva wasn't the only good news for Blue Devil fans on Friday. In Canton, Hendersonville pulled off a 23-21 upset of previously unbeated Pisgah.

That puts the Blue Devils alone at the top of the Mountain Six Conference standings, with three teams tied for second, all with one conference loss.

Brevard hosts Hendersonville this Friday and closes out the regular season at home against Pisgah next week, setting up the chance to run the table in front of the home fans and lock up a playoff spot.

"We're in a good position. Our confidence is building with each game we play. We can see strides as a coaching staff, they can see strides as a team and this is exactly where we want to be," Pritchett said.

 
 

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