Maryville heads back to state title game
By John Brice | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MURFREESBORO — The moment didn’t swallow up Nick Myers. It could be said he even had a “glare” in his eyes.
A courageous effort from an opponent didn’t consume Maryville’s season.
And when the Rebels needed a play, the state’s top-ranked team in its largest classification did what it does best: seize opportunity.
“This one’s, right now it’s the best one. It’s the top,” MHS coach George Quarles said. “Sometimes you wonder if you can get it done, and I don’t want them to know what I’m thinking in the back of my head. They always believe.
“But this is what it’s about. And if we had lost it, I’d be just as proud of them. It was just a great job of battling and competing.”
Myers suggested the game-winning play, “Glare-go,” and Quarles called it; Maryville executed it to cap an astounding, come-from-behind 47-43 win in the Class 6A semifinals on the road at Siegel (13-1) Friday night. The Rebels (14-0), winners of 43 in a row, face Whitehaven next Saturday at Tennessee Tech in a rematch of the 2011 state championship.
Myers hit senior and first-year player T.J. Kimble in stride from 28 yards out for the final points in a zany contest featuring almost 1,000 yards’ offense between the teams, 90 points, a combined 65 pass attempts and a mere two punts.
“I went over to them and said ‘Give me a ‘Glare-go.’ And (Quarles) said ‘All right, let’s run it.’ He still called it, but I suggested it,” said Myers, 23 of 30 for 257 yards and the lone touchdown. “Wow. I don’t know. Picture-perfect.”
Added Kimble, one of many Rebels including the head coach whose emotions nearly ran unchecked in the moments following the game, “It’s called ‘Glare-go.’ I gave the safety a little stutter, he bit on it and I got behind him. It’s unbelievable. I’m just thinking ‘Please don’t drop it. Please don’t drop it.’ But just the grace of God allowing me to make plays.”
Myers-to-Kimble capped a five-play, 63-yard drive that resuscitated the state title hopes for Maryville (14-0), which led only 7-0, 28-24, 35-31 and by the final margin. The Rebels’ defense, picked apart for long stretches, answered in staunch fashion late, holding the Stars at bay across their final three possessions.
“It’s real easy to get panicked or go crazy or whatever, but we talked to our guys and said we had to keep calm and play regular Rebel D,” said linebacker Will Murrin. “At the end of the game, we just really tried to stay calm and do our thing and go play ball.
“I don’t know really what the change was, but I guess guys finally realized this is our season. That quarterback played awesome; I’d like to congratulate him right now. I’m so proud of our D-line. I had complete confidence in our offense; once we got the ball, I knew we would get it into the end zone whatever it takes.”
Maryville’s Shawn Prevo opened the third-quarter scoring, cashing in the first of two giant special teams plays by Chancellor Coates. Prevo’s 10-yard run used Coates’ pooch kickoff recovery as the catalyst, and Coates later blocked a crucial point-after-kick.
Prevo closed with 113 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while Myers twice barged in on short runs.
“You could see we really wanted to win this game, and we gave everything we could to win this game,” Prevo said.
So, too, did Siegel behind the gutsy effort of senior signal-caller Brent Stockstill. Playing with ligament damage in his right knee, Stockstill completed 23 of 34 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns. Maryville’s defense, however, forced Stockstill into five-straight incompletions to end the game. The first of that quintet gave Maryville’s offense the chance to deliver the go-ahead strike; the final four signaled an end to the best season in the short-lived, 10-year history of the Murfreesboro school.
“Last three (possessions). Obviously when we threw the pick, we stop them. Turn it over on downs and get a stop there. That was huge,” Quarles said. “Defense struggled tonight; no question. But give Siegel credit; they’ve got some players. But when we needed them most, the defense stepped up.”
The first half was a completely see-saw affair. The Rebels scored on their opening possession, Prevo covering the final 8 yards on a bullish run up the gut.
The Stars then reeled off 14 unanswered points in dizzying fashion. Paced by the accurate left arm of the injured Stockstill, Siegel scored back-to-back touchdowns in less five minutes of game time. On fourth-and-7, Stockstill hit Tae Martin on a quick out to the left sideline, and he outraced the Rebels’ defense to the end zone.
After a Myers interception and a key third-and-8 conversion on a Stockstill pass, Denzel Hardin bowled in from a yard out.
Maryville tied it at 14 on Cody Carroll’s 26-yard end around, a play in which Carroll had a run/pass option.
Harding struck from 30 yards out around left end; Maryville evened it at 21-all on Prevo’s second score, this one from 6 yards out.
Kicker Harrison Reed capped the frenetic first-half pace with a 26-yard field goal with four seconds left.
The half didn’t end without controversy. On one knee, Prevo was hit helmet-to-helmet but the Chattanooga-based officiating crew neglected to throw a flag, prompting Quarles to make a rare visit onto the field to lodge a complaint.
This game, however, will be remembered for Myers-to-Kimble, the Rebels’ resolve and the opportunity for a third-straight and state-best 13th state championship next Saturday against Whitehaven.
“It was a long drive over here, and we didn’t want to go home early,” said Kimble, who gathered nine receptions for 126 yards and the clinching score. “We all needed to make plays, and I felt like I made as many plays as I could. I just give it to God for putting me in positions to make plays. I’m proud of my teammates; they fought hard. Nick fought hard. I believed in him. We all believe in each other.”