Maryville College hoped two years ago was an anomaly, but it turns out success is hard to sustain.
The Scots shared the USA South Athletic Conference championship with Huntingdon in 2016 and won the program’s first outright title last year but sandwiched a disappointing 5-5 season between those two celebratory occasions.
Another letdown is creeping toward its end.
The thought of a second consecutive conference championship disappeared weeks ago, even if it wasn’t officially off the table until Maryville’s loss to Averett on Saturday, and now the Scots are left to start building toward next season.
“You either learn from your mistakes or you repeat them,” Maryville coach Shaun Hayes told The Daily Times. “If you want to be able to have success, then you must change, and you have to get everybody on board with the change.
“It’s extremely important for us to be able to reflect on what we did this year and what were the things that put us in the position we’re in, and it’s time to do that now so that we can give these seniors and this football organization the opportunity to end the year in a way that will help us next year.”
The Class of 2020 will celebrate Senior Day on Honaker Field against Greensboro at 1 p.m. today. Maryville will wear its all-white uniform and is asking fans to come clad in white as well.
The Scots (2-6, 2-3 USA South) have amassed 22 wins over the past four years, putting this senior class six wins shy of matching the 1979 class as the winningest in program history. It is also one of four classes since the turn of the century to win multiple conference championships.
“This is a place where they have invested and had their lives changed,” Hayes said. “They were a part of history, and they deserve to go out with a win because they have done a lot of good things here.
“This senior class has been one of the best overall classes we’ve ever recruited. Several of them played as freshmen, and they’ve had a major impact on all of the success we’ve had over the four years they have been at Maryville College.”
However, the best legacy these seniors can leave is a lasting one, and while they may not be able to help to turn things around next season, they can help lay the foundation for future success during their final two games.
A win over Greensboro won’t mean much — the Pride haven’t won a conference game since 2015 — but how Maryville goes about it could.
Inconsistent offense, poor special teams and a lack of discipline have all played a part in an underwhelming season, but the Scots have a chance to correct those problems and make sure they don’t pop back up any time soon.
“Young guys are always told this time of the season to do it for the seniors, but you have to look at the bigger picture,” Hayes said. “Next year, there will be a senior class and there will be another the following year, but there will always be one Maryville College football family. We have preached for so long about legacy and what are you doing for the future of our culture.
“They need to be able to walk out of here with their heads held high knowing that even though the overall season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, they left it in a spot where the younger guys can live up to the expectations going forward.
“It’s not about us, it’s about the future, past and present members of the Scots.”