It is no secret that the defending 1AA State Champions have championship aspirations. One thing the maroon faithful has learned over the course of multiple state championships is that none of them came without some bumps in the road. After six games of smooth sailing the Maroon Devils came across their first bump in the road last Friday night against Hayesville, and it came in the form of being their own worst enemy, rather than the visiting Yellow Jackets.
In the heat of the moment the Devils let frustration get the best of them, which spilled over into incidents that could have landed Swain out of the playoffs all together. Two Maroon Devils were ejected for their part in an altercation with Hayesville that happened midway through the third quarter. Both ejections were termed fighting ejections, which the NCHSAA specifically addresses by saying that 3 fighting ejections in one game will result in a playoff ban for one year.
After two more heated exchanges through the remainder of the game the game officials decided to let the final 3:48 run off the game clock and end the game, with Swain taking a 38-7 win, that was never really in doubt. No other players were ejected during the game itself (see related article).
Swain scored 24 second quarter points to pull out to a huge halftime lead. Raymius Smith threw for one touchdown and ran for another, while Garrett Lane also added a touchdown. Colyn Petty took care of the other scoring by kicking three extra points and adding a 25 yard field goal as the quarter expired.
Smith opened the second half with a 37 yard touchdown pass to Greg Tisho (his first quarter strike was to Matthew Maennle) to put the Devils up 31 to 0. Nathan Sellers concluded the Devils scoring when he picked off a Hayesville pass and raced 58 yards for his first touchdown. Petty made good on both extra-point kicks.
Smith finished with 174 yards on 15 of 21 passing and 2 touchdowns. Greg Tisho had 7 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Maennle had 6 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Maennle needed 7 catches to tie Benjie Shuler with 102 career receiptions, but did become only the second player in school history to surpass 100 career receptions.
Swain will travel to Cherokee this Friday looking to extend their winning streak to 20 straight games. Kickoff is set for 7:30 from Ray Kinsland Stadium.