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Manning's near perfect game helps Sevier Co. to 1-0 start

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County head coach Steve Brewer has been coaching high school football for the last 32 years.

What he saw this past Friday night was something he'd never seen before.

Facing William Blount, Smoky Bears junior quarterback Luke Manning completed his first sixteen passes and did so in his first varsity start.

"I wasn't counting," Brewer answered when asked if he was aware Manning's completion streak.

"I think the announcer made mention of it when he finally threw an incompletion in the third quarter. I had no idea it was 16."

For the game, Manning finished 16-for-19 with 275 passing yards and five touchdowns. All five TD's came in the first half, tying a school record. The Smoky Bears beat William Blount 45-28.

"I felt the nerves a lot before the game,"Manning said Tuesday afternoon at practice.

"It was a big nerve racking moment, trying to fill the shoes of (former Sevier Co. quarterback) Cullen Lavoi, but you gotta get over them. It was thrilling. It was a great start. I wasn't expecting it. My teammates helped me"

His teammates also took notice, even those on defense.

"We got to second quarter, and I'm thinking in my head, they haven't had a dropped pass on offense. I was pretty happy about that," defensive end Ralph Watson said.

Despite Manning's impressive debut, the starting quarterback job wasn't even his until a few days before Sevier County's jamboree game.

Brewer had three talented players vying for the job. Ultimately, Manning was named the starter and his performance backed up the coach's decision.

"I was just ready to be in the game. I knew in game time I could step it up."

Sevier County hosts Halls Friday night in the home opener for the Smoky Bears.

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