By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s defense held Cherokee to no first downs and 16 yards of total offense Friday as the Mustangs (1-2) rolled to a 49-7 non-conference football win at Cherokee.
Dustin Stephens was the story on offense as he scored touchdowns all five times he touched the ball. He had 271 yards of total offense.
Caleb Lominac completed six of nine passes for 198 yards. Stephens’ three receptions totaled 159 yards. Darien Bird had four catches for 64 yards.
Stephens carried twice for 112 yards. Will Frady picked up 103 yards in 15 attempts.
SM overcame a penalty on its first scrimmage play to drive 65 yards in four plays. Lominac completed a 17-yard pass to Bird before tossing a swing pass to Stephens that turned into a 38-yard TD. Hunter Pressley kicked the first of his seven extra points for a 7-0 lead with 7:05 to play in the first quarter.
Two possessions later, Danner Hill fumbled with Mykel Lossiah recovering for the Braves at their 28.
The Mustangs got the ball back three plays later when Derrick Farmer recovered Donald Bradley’s fumble at the 18.
On third-and-17, Chris Wilburn completed a 25-yard scoring pass to Bird for a 14-0 advantage with 6:57 left in the half.
Three plays after a punt, Stephens took a short pass from Lominac and turned it into an 87-yard scoring play increasing the margin to 21-0 at the 3:46 mark.
Clayton Frady recovered Bradley’s fumble on the first play after the kickoff at the Cherokee 26. Stephens broke free up the middle to score on a 21-yard run two plays later making it 28-0 with 3:18 on the clock.
Anthony Allison’s 62-yard kickoff return to the 23 gave the Braves a scoring opportunity. It ended when Bird intercepted Bradley’s pass in the end zone. Two plays later, Stephens showed his speed again as he went around right end and raced down the sidelines 91 yards for a score giving SM a 35-0 lead with 29 seconds to go in the half.
The Mustangs moved 68 yards in four plays after the second half kickoff. Lominac completed a 20-yard pass to Bird,and Will Frady gained 12 yards. A 34-yard TD pass from Lominac to Stephens with 10:17 remaining in the third period put a running clock in effect the rest of the game with the score 42-0.
Rocky Magestro scored SM’s final TD on an 11-yard run around left end with 4:14 left in the third stanza. It capped a 56-yard drive in five plays, including a 29-yard run by Will Frady.
Cherokee’s only score came after the Mustangs lost 18 yards to their 4 while attempting to punt. Jaden Welch took the ball in on the next play, and Rocky Peebles kicked the extra point with 6:15 remaining in the game.