By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain compiled 304 yards on the ground Friday en route to a 31-6 Mountain Six Conference football victory over Hendersonville at Carr Hooper Stadium/Babe Howell Field.
Will Frady carried 32 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Dustin Stephens finished with 118 yards and a score in 18 attempts.
Stephens also caught two passes for 26 yards and completed a 10-yard pass.
Caleb Lominac completed two of four passes for 26 yards.
Hazhan Collington gained 40 yards in 12 carries for the Bearcats. He was bottled up until the fourth quarter when he had a 24-yard run.
Joel Christner came off the bench to replace quarterback Woodson Hunter, who left early in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Christner completed seven of 14 passes for 167 yards.
Triston Peterkin caught three passes for 49 yards. Dorian Allen’s two catches totaled 95 yards.
The Mustangs (6-2, 2-0) drove 74 yards in seven plays after the opening kickoff. Frady picked up 23, and Stephens gained 13 on consecutive plays. Frady’s 26-yard run off the left side opened the scoring. Hunter Pressley kicked the first of his four extra points for a 7-0 lead with 8:32 to play in the first quarter.
Two possessions later, SM needed just four plays to go 80 yards. Frady picked up 43 before Stephens swept around the right side for 30 yards and a TD making it 14-0 with 2:29 left in the first period.
Jajuan Givens fumbled the kickoff, and Darien Bird recovered for the Mustangs at the Hendersonville 39. Frady converted a fourth-and-2 and Stephens caught a 22-yard pass from Lominac in a drive that saw a TD nullified by a penalty. Pressley’s 21-yard field goal built the lead to 17-0 with 7:17 to play in the half.
The Mustangs got the ball back when Bird recovered Collington’s fumble at the Bearcat 43, but they had to punt.
Christner completed passes of 14 yards to Peterkin and 25 yards to Keyshawn Smith, and Jayleon Gaines had a 10-yard run as Hendersonville drove from its 15 to the SM 18. Damon Figueroa, who led the team with eight tackles, sacked Christner helping bring an end to the threat late in the half.
The Mustangs drove 81 yards in 11 plays on their first possession of the second half. Frady had runs of 13 and 15 yards, and Stephens gained 18. Frady scored from 4 yards out for a 24-0 advantage with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bearcats were stopped on downs at the SM 49, but the Mustangs turned the ball over on downs at the 18.
Three plays later, Christner unloaded an 82-yard scoring strike to Allen, cutting the gap to 24-6 with 7:23 to go in the game. A conversion pass failed.
Three plays after SM punted, Rocky Magestro recovered Christner’s errant pitchout at the 20. Magestro returned the ball inside the 5 where he fumbled. Mitch Wike picked the ball up and took it the final 3 yards to the end zone for a 31-6 lead at the 2:51 mark.
Hendersonville reached the 18 following the kickoff before Derrick Farmer intercepted Christner’s pass near the goal line and had a 27-yard return.