Fall break was both a gift and a curse for Maryville.
The bye week gave the Rebels some much-needed rest after a grueling gauntlet that included top-10 bouts with Powell, Alcoa and Cleveland, but it also prevented them from building upon their best football.
However, as it prepares for a Region 2-6A meeting with Hardin Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Maryville has shown no signs of slowing down.
“I feel good about the practices we had during fall break and we’ve had a good week this week,” Maryville coach Derek Hunt told The Daily Times. “Time will tell if we were able to carry that momentum over with us, but so far I think our kids have responded well. It’s a mature bunch, and I think that’s something we’re proud of our guys for.”
No. 2 Maryville (7-0, 3-0 Region 2-6A) scored on each of their first five full possessions against then-No. 10 Cleveland its last time on the field, and it hopes it can have similar execution versus Hardin Valley (0-7, 0-3 Region 2-6A).
If the Rebels are able to replicate that success, it will pave the way for a rout over a rebuilding program and allow for their younger players to see the field and build some depth ahead of the postseason.
“The only way you’re going to get better at playing football is by playing football, so anytime we can get our younger kids in, it’s a huge deal to us,” Hunt said. “We take our JV games and freshmen games very seriously at Maryville High School because any time you can get some experience under the lights, it definitely makes a difference.”
And yet, Maryville is not overlooking Hardin Valley, even with marquee matchups with Knoxville West and region championship contender Bradley Central rounding out the regular-season schedule.
“We haven’t had an issue with looking ahead, and I don’t think we will,” Hunt said. “This is a great senior class that has some great leaders. We’ve practiced hard this week for Hardin Valley, and that’s what we’ll continue to do until Friday.
“I don’t have any concerns when it comes to looking forward because if we haven’t beaten it into these seniors that we’re one week at a time at Maryville Hight School, I don’t think we ever will.”