Alphabet adjustment: Rebel defense proves it knows an I from a T
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maryville adjusted to Catholic’s latest innovation with a crushing defense and another display of ever-improving offensive efficiency Friday to start the mercy rule clock at halftime on the way to a 38-6 win over the visiting Irish in Shields Stadium.
The Rebels (7-0, 4-0 District 4-AAA) rang up five scores and nearly 300 yards of offense before the break after a quick start against Catholic (3-4, 1-3).
“We dropped some balls but overall we were efficient, punting one time in the first half,” Maryville skipper George Quarles said after win No. 186 in his 199th game. “I think we got off to a good start. Overall I’m really pleased.”
T.J. Kimble picked up a 41-yard grab from quarterback Nick Myers to set the tone early as Maryville reeled off it’s 36th straight win and remained a perfect 4-0 against the Irish Shawn Prevo did the honors on a 1-yard plunge. Prevo finished with 81 yards on eight carries and picked up a second score in the second quarter on a 13-yard run that put the Rebels firmly in control with a 28-0 lead.
The defense, which had been adjusting to a new Catholic look by allowing just one play to cross the 50 in the first half, stood firm to force the fourth and final Irish punt of the half with 2:06 remaining. MHS ripped up the yardage in chunks, starting from its own 12 and finishing with another trademark score before the buzzer. Myers found Cody Carroll for the fourth time and the junior made the 31-yard grab with 62 seconds still to play.
“It was good to get the score just before the half. Nick made a good throw to Cody,” Quarles said. “Nick had another good night. He got us in the right plays. He’s just a gutty little player. Prevo and Shuler keep us in the running game behind a line that has gotten better and better.”
Myers finished 9-of-12 for 150 yards and two scores after finding Trenton Shuler for a 10-yard score in the first quarter. Shuler finished with 33 yards one nine carries as part of an attack that ran for 222 yards in all — 147 of those in the first half on a clip better than 6 yards a try.
“I’m pleased to be where were but we still have to work on and improve on,” Quarles said. “Offenivse line we’ve done better but we still have a ways to go. We took some steps from last week to this week, We struggled last week (at Bearden) and I think our guys had a good week of practice and were critical of themselves. As far as where we are, some ways we’re ahead and some ways we’re behind in a round about way.”
The Rebel defense made its adjustment early as some injuries brought Wing-T Catholic out in the I-formation run game behind Nolan Coulter. Though Coulter finished with 138 yards on 27 carries, including Catholic’s one score in the fourth quarter that turned off the mercy-rule for the final 6:37, the big back picked up the bulk of those in the second half against the Rebel reserves.
“We hadn’t seen them run one I-formation play on film and they come out running I all night,” Quarles said. “We worked on Wing-T all week in practice and wasted our time apparently. I thought we were physical, tackled well.
“They didn’t throw it much but I was proud of our kids for defending what they were doing. We talk about it all the time. Something is going to happen every game that you aren’t ready for, you have to be able to react to it anyway you can and our kids did a solid job with that.”
Tyler Vaught came in to start the second half for Maryville at quarterback as Myers and Prevo watched the second half go by from the sideline in support of their teammates, The sophomore picked up a key third down on his one completion but did most of the damage on the run with 53 yards on four totes.
“They just called some plays for me that let me do what I do naturally,” Vaught explained after leading the Rebels to a field goal from Caden Ryding. “There were some subs in and I was in for Nick. Finishing on that drive for a touchdown would have been nice but we gave our best and we have to put that behind us a move forward to get ready for the next series.
“I hope (playing like this) benefits me in the future. It’s a different speed of game for me than what I’ve played in the past. It’s a big deal to me to be able to get that experience.”
Maryville hosts Farragut in a second Thursday night television game on MyVLT2. The Admirals dropped a heartbreaker to Bearden 48-45 Friday.