Everybody showed up for the party
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everybody showed up Sunday.
Second Harvest was there and Alcoa won the food drive.
Great American Rivalry and the U.S. Marines were there and Logan Winders and Colton Woody were the big winners of the scholarships.
ESPN was there and the nationwide audience that tuned in for what was a classic installment of the Six Mile Series were the winners.
And then Maryville and Alcoa were certainly there and the Red Rebels came away with the 42-24 win in game much closer than the final shot of the scoreboard indicated.
Alcoa brought more offense. It flexed a more experienced defense. It won the kicking battle. But the final moments of each half allowed Maryville, and not the Tornadoes, to claim the first win on the newly recarpeted Jim Renfro Field.
The Rebels (2-0) may have been down on the scoreboard at times, they certainly didn’t generate the offensive numbers that Alcoa rolled up, but what could only be appreciated by those fans who know Maryville was that two-minute drill that beat the clock with seven seconds to spare before halftime. When Logan Winders brought in Nick Myers’ fade to the home corner of the Don Story end zone, things began to feel more right for the Rebels. Sure they still trailed after a failed PAT. Sure Alcoa was winning the time of possession and not only outrushing but outpassing Maryville.
But the Rebels had just shown they could execute one of their signature moves — going to the locker room off a score — no matter the circumstances.
“For whatever reason that’s been a good time for us,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “I think the other thing that helped us was speeding it up a little but. I think they were a little tired and it gave our kids some momentum and lift. Getting the score there is huge because they had the chance to go up 21-7 and get the ball to start the second half.”
That drive to end the half — be it four minutes or :40 seconds of time — has been a Rebels signature not just over the now 31-consecutive wins but over the last decade. Maryville proved opportunistic in the end when it mattered and if the first of those — a lost kickoff return the Rebels recovered at the 19 — was challenging, the second — an interception inflamed by a personal foul call to set the ball at the 14 — was a game-clinching decision maker.
“We made some plays. The turnover was huge. You had the feeling if they don’t turn it over they’re going to go down the field and score on us similar to what happened a few years ago when it was 35-31,” Quarles said.
But while Sunday was in many ways a classic like that 2010 shootout, Maryville put it away in the end in the way the Rebels have made and taken advantage of the breaks so many times.
Yes everybody showed up Sunday. It just took Maryville’s trademark winning formula a few moments to join the party.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, follow him on Twitter @TDT_Sports