Don’t blame it on the rain, Scot defense likes wet weather
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It got cool.
It got rainy.
It got windy.
Add in a few sheep and the sounds of pipes occasionally carrying through the roar of the wind and rain, and it was a typically lovely Scottish afternoon.
And once that rain started coming down — sometime in sheets, sometime in a drizzle, sometime just hanging in the air — the Maryville College defense got just as feisty, cantankerous and stubborn as any band of Scots roaming the highlands ever was.
Emory & Henry scored three times Saturday in the Wasps 21-8 win on Phil Wilks day at Honaker Field. The second half fumble return wasn’t on the defense, so call it 14 points given up against an opponent that rang up 45 against one of the best teams in MC’s conference last week by scoring on 7 of 8 possessions once it got rolling.
Emory & Henry rolled just once against Maryville Saturday. While the sun was slowly disappearing behind the oncoming clouds the Wasps opened with a 14-play, 77 yard scoring drive. Quarterback Kyle Boden went 12-for-12 hitting screens right, left, over the middle and even running for a first down to account for half the drive’s run plays.
That accounted for a third of the day’s offense for the visitors. It also account for nearly 2⁄3 of Boden’s completions on the day. The junior from Karns was 7-for-24 with two picks the rest of the way.
When the rain came, the Scot defenders were in their element and Emory & Henry was certainly out of theirs. The pass happy offense went to ground and ran the ball 50 times. It gained just 44 yards in the second half.
The wetter it got, the better the MC defense played.
“I think we came out a little too amped in the first quarter and they used that against us a little bit,” MC defensive guru Scott Brumett said. “We were too fired up and they screened us to death. Once we settled down, we felt like we understood what they were trying to do to us and could adjust.
“It always helps (when it rains). It makes them a little leery of throwing the deep ball and lets you buckle down more to stop the run.”
For one drive Emory & Henry found room on the ground. The Wasps ran 13 out of 15 times — the two passes falling incomplete — and on No. 14 Joshua Krebs and Tyler Todd derailed the Kasey Jones train on fourth and-1 at the MC 5.
“The defense played a great game, the weather it is what it is. It boiled down to the first quarter, us not having any (offensive) momentum early,” coach Mike Rader said postgame as the skies cleared as if on a cue.
Stopping an offense that rang up almost 500 yards a week ago and holding it under 50 in the second half and just a 100 yards net outside of two drives was indeed a great effort. Timely turnovers helped keep things balanced. Each team took three away and each got points off one of them.
The Wasps got their only second half score on a fumble at the 4 and the Scot defenders answered with Kane Crowell’s 64-yard interception return that set the Maryville offense up on the 1-foot line.
“Our goal was to get three turnovers. If Kane gets the ball in the end zone maybe it helps us score a little quicker,” Brumett said. “Maybe we need to step it up a little bit more and aim for four.”
That couldn’t hurt next week when another long time rival reappears from a scheduling hiatus to visit MC.
Who knows, it might even rain.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com