An emphatic roar bellowed from the Maryville student section as senior wide receiver A.J. Davis coasted into the end zone for his second touchdown of the first half and was followed by a chant that accurately described what was transpiring inside Shields Stadium.
“This is easy.”
The Rebels fumbled on their opening possession, but they made the rest of the night look effortless as they cruised to a 42-0 victory over No. 2 (R1) Farragut in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
“When our guys don’t care who gets the stats and our goal as an offense is to score, and we’re all trying to accomplish that, that’s the biggest thing,” Maryville coach Derek Hunt told The Daily Times. “I think our kids are there and I’m proud of them.”
No. 1 (R2) Maryville (12-0) advanced to a road meeting with Region 1 No. 1 seed Dobyns-Bennett in the quarterfinals by finding pay dirt on six straight possessions after coughing up the football on its second play from scrimmage.
Davis got the Rebels on the board first by hauling in an intermediate pass from senior quarterback Cade Chambers, making a defender miss and weaving through Farragut’s defense for a 40-yard score.
It was a sign of things to come.
Farragut utilized four defensive linemen to try and neutralize Maryville’s inside rushing attack after it racked up 272 yards, including a school-record 226 from junior running back Parker McGill, in its first meeting with Farragut on Sept. 27. The Rebels, however, made an adjustment of their own, opting to get the ball on the perimeter and outrace the Admirals (6-6).
Senior running back Tee Hodge scored a 13-yard touchdown on a toss in the first quarter and ripped a 45-yard score on the same play in the second.
“They gave us a different look, and we thought we had a better chance getting on the edge there,” Hunt said. “We did it on Tee’s touchdown runs and we were able to do it on a couple third and fourth downs as well.”
A double move freed Davis for a 70-yard score with six minutes, 12 seconds before halftime, and senior tight end Brody Sloan snagged Chambers’ third and final touchdown pass two minutes later.
Sophomore quarterback Carson Jones and senior wide receiver Ashton Maples linked up on a slant on the opening possession of the second half to cap the scoring.
Most of those scores proved nothing more than a means to get out of the cold quicker.
The Rebels limited the Admirals to 207 total yards after surrendering 395 in their regular-season meeting and held senior quarterback Gavin Wilkinson to 111 yards on 10-of-25 passing.
It is Maryville’s fourth shutout in its last five games.
“We just took what the coaches told us and we settled down,” said senior defensive back Will Myers, who logged one of two interceptions off Wilkinson. “I think we were a little nervous last time because they’re a throwing team that does a lot of things well, but we knew we had to play big in the playoffs and we did what we had to do.”
Another team effort led to another easy victory and Maryville’s 23rd straight trip to the quarterfinals.
“Obviously we feel good after tonight because we beat a really good Farragut team, but it’s a week-to-week thing in the playoffs because if you have one bad night then you’re done,” Hunt said. “There’s no second chances in the playoffs, and that’s what makes it fun. It’s win-or-go-home.
“We talk about that a lot, and I think our kids understand that, but it gets tougher each week.”