Garrett ‘a nuisance’ for Webb in Maryville win
By John Brice | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s a rare occasion that Maryville’s Shawn Prevo, closing in on the school’s all-time rushing crown, isn’t the best ballcarrier on a high school football field.
Most figured Friday night’s season opener against visiting Webb School would be a Prevo-Todd Kelly Jr. — the prep All-America is committed to Tennessee after holding more than 30 college scholarship offers — battle royale.
Instead, Rebels quarterback John Garrett proved the game’s most elusive and decisive playmaker. Garrett ran for one touchdown, threw for two more and guided defending Class 6A runner-up Maryville to a comfortable 35-15 win.
“John surprised me, but he’s a good player,” said Prevo. “He has the happy feet, if you know what I mean.
“If he keeps running it like that, I hope (he keeps making plays).”
Garrett first connected with Tyler Vaught with an arcing spiral from the 30 to the right end zone for an early 7-0 lead, boosted the advantage to 14-0 with a 9-yard scamper in the second quarter and fired a low strike to a diving Dylan Shinsky from 15 yards as the Rebels (1-0) essentially struck a hammer-blow two seconds before intermission. Garrett was an efficient 12-for-15 passing, but it was on the ground that he consistently helped Maryville sustain drives and bewilder the Spartans’ defense.
“I don’t know if I surprised some people, but I think we caught Webb off-guard with it,” Garrett said. “A few of them were just scrambles; they weren’t designed runs. Kind of had to improvise a little bit.
“When a play breaks down, there’s nothing more important than being able to scramble and improvise, hit a receiver that breaks open downfield.”
The Rebels had chewed through Webb (0-1), a perennial power buoyed this year by Kelly and 2015 prospect Brant Mitchell, for more than 230 first-half yards and dominated time of possession. They closed with approximately 385 yards total offense and crowded 25 first downs.
“We already knew he’s a competitor, he’s gutty,” said MHS coach George Quarles, who notched career win 194. “He doesn’t always do it pretty, but he’s pretty effective.
“I think he knows he can play a little bit better, but the results were what we were looking for. When a play breaks down, he has a chance to make a play with his legs. He’s not fast, but he’s a nuisance. He can stick his toe in the ground and change direction. I think our kids like playing for him. He’s just ‘Poor Peazy,’ some nickname they gave him two or three years ago; that’s his rapper name. But this was a good win.”
The Spartans, defending Division II-A state champs, managed to pull within 21-7 late in the third, converting a key fourth-and-3 with a jump-ball pass to Kelly that he snagged at the 1-yard line. Mitchell plowed in on the next play.
Garrett helped the Rebels’ offense respond with a coming-of-age march. Taking over at the 23, Maryville efficiently blended its ground game, a couple of Garrett passes and some timely scrambles for a 77-yard, nine-play trek that Prevo cleaned up with a 15-yard sprint through the interior of the Webb defense.
“We were kind of nervous at first, because we didn’t know how good Webb was,” said Prevo, closing in on Carl Stewart’s career rushing mark of nearly 3,500 yards. “But offense stuck it to ‘em and defense kept ‘em from scoring. So we just capitalized off the turnovers they made and had a good game.”
Maryville closed out its scoring when the rangy Vaught, a quarterback when not playing wideout, rifled a third-down scoring toss to Cody Carroll that covered 24 yards. Luke Orren hit each of his five PATs and also booted a key 55-yard punt.
Kelly finished the game’s scoring when he gathered a Johnny Chun pass in the seam and cruised untouched from 40 yards to paydirt. Mitchell bulled in for the two-point conversion when Maryville was flagged for a horse-collar penalty on the busted conversion attempt.
“We’ve got stuff we can fix, and there will be plenty of stuff to watch Monday on film,” Quarles said. “But at the same time, there were a lot of positives, too. Much more than we’ve had in our scrimmages of late. Hopefully we learned from those scrimmages and are getting better.”
The Rebels will put their improvements to the test next week when they travel to arch-rival Alcoa, which shut out Smith County on the road Friday in its season-opening win.
Maryville 35 , Webb 15
WEBB 0 0 7 8 15
MHS 7 14 0 14 35
M 9:27: Tyler Vaught 30 pass from John Garrett (Luke Orren kick)
Eight plays, 73 yards, 2:33
M 3:12: Garrett 9 run (Orren kick)
Eight plays, 54 yards, 3:12
M 2.9: Dylan Shinsky 15 pass from Garrett (Orren kick)
Eight plays, 80 yards, 1:30
W 3:37: Brant Mitchell 1 run (Robby Strachan PAT)
Nine plays, 63 yards, 5:41
M 11:51: Shawn Prevo 15 run (Orren kick)
Nine plays, 77 yards, 3:46
M 4:45: Cody Carroll 24 pass from Vaught (Orren kick)
Three plays, 30 yards, 1;27
W 2:24: Todd Kelly 40 pass from Johnny Chun (Mitchell two-point)
Five plays, 74 yards, 2:21
First Downs: M 24 W 12
Rushes-yards: 41-220 35-134
Passing: 166 122
Comp-Atts-INT: 13-17-0 7-11-1
Penalties: 1-2 yards 3-25
Rushes-Yds 37 64-335
Passing 290 28
Cmp-Atts-Int 11-17-0 2-7-1
Penalties 12-130 8-75