Title game rife with penalties, miscues
By David Cobb | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
COOKEVILLE — An unknowing bystander might have doubted that Maryville’s 36-35 loss to Whitehaven Saturday night on the campus of Tennessee Tech University was the state championship game for the TSSAA’s highest classification — and not because of a lack of talent.
Whitehaven captured the state title with an overtime victory, but it wasn’t without its speed bumps, especially by the eventual victor, which boasted a roster brimming with college prospects. Undefeated Whitehaven could not escape the penalty bug. The Tigers were penalized 11 times for 94 yards. At halftime they had committed eight more penalties (9) than they had completed passes (1).
In the second quarter with the game tied 7-7, Whitehaven appeared to have stopped Maryville five yards shy of the end zone. George Quarles trotted out the field goal team. The attempt missed, but Whitehaven was whistled for running into the kicker. Maryville was able to re-attempt the play, and decided let its offense try to score. As a result, Nick Myers found Logan Winders for a score and Whitehaven trailed by a score.
DODSON DEMONIZES: In spite of the penalties, Whitehaven running back Mark Dodson, an Ole Miss verbal commitment, terrorized Maryville. The senior back surpassed the 3,000 yard mark for the season in the first quarter, and he wasn’t done then. The 5-foot-9 speedster scored all five of Whitehaven’s touchdowns, and also converted the game-clinching two-point conversion.
He finished with 321 yards on 34 carries, for an average on 9.4 yards a rush.
His efforts earned him the Offensive MVP honors for the game and atoned for a Tiger passing attack that only generated 26 yards.
Dodson scampered 71 yards midway through the first quarter to get the Tigers on the board, even after a personal foul penalty stunted his team’s drive.
After Maryville tied the game with under a minute to go in regulation, Dodson carried 54 yards to the Maryville 29-yard line to set up a potential game-winning score for Whitehaven.
On the final play of regulation, he was dragged down at the 3-yard line as the Tigers decided to run rather than spike the ball and bring on the kick team.
STARS STERILIZED: Entering the matchup against Maryville, Whitehaven was renowned for its breadth of NCAA division one prospects. Vanderbilt commitment and defensive back Darius Sims received defenive MVP honors after a game-high 10 tackles and an interception.
Wide receivers Gerald Perry, also a Vanderbilt commitment, and Justin Hunt, who has offers on the table from a handful of colleges, were held in check.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin was in attendance for the second day Saturday.