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Rare Robinson punt indicative of Rebel sharpness, Heritage determination

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Maryville's Dylan Shinsky scampers toward the Heritage goal line on a kick return. Photo by Brandon Shinn

The one surprising thing Friday night was Grant Robinson went in to punt.

With two minutes remaining, the Maryville senior was pressed into service for only the seventh time this season.

The game’s outcome had long been decided, the top-ranked and defending champion Rebels never threatened in blanking Heritage, 51-0, at Shields Stadium.

Robinson’s brief cameo spoke to both teams meeting stated goals for the District 4AAA contest.

The tempo increases dramatically for Maryville (4-0, 2-0) with next week’s visit to Oak Ridge. The Rebels wanted to execute, sharply, and did so with touchdowns on each their first three offensive plays.

“I thought we were sharp, and that was the key,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “I’m just proud we came out and executed early and made the plays that were there.

With a Mountaineer safety tacked on, it was 23-0 Maryville with four minutes yet to play in the first quarter.

Heritage (0-5, 0-1) is rebuilding after a 1-9 season a year ago, and first-year coach Tim Hammontree’s message to the Mountaineers has been a consistent refrain: “We’re going to keep working.”

Forcing a Robinson punt, even against Maryville reserves, is tangible proof that’s taking place.

Trenton Shuler bursts down the sideline for an opening score. Photo by Brandon Shinn

Trenton Shuler opened the scoring for the Rebels with a bang, racing 72 yards down the left sideline on Maryville’s first play from scrimmage.

Chancellor Coates dropped the Mountaineer return man at the Heritage 9 on the ensuing kickoff. Five plays later, after a Mountaineer punt, Rebel quarterback Nick Myers passed 23 yards to T.J. Kimble for a 14-0 lead.

Another Heritage special teams’ miscue on the following kickoff, and things spun quickly out of control.

Shinsky records a safety on the Heritage punter. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

A Heritage drive beginning at its 12 finished with a fourth-and-16 punt. The snap rolled along the ground to the Mountaineer punter, who was dropped by Maryville’s Dylan Shinsky for a safety before he could collect the ball.

The 16-0 advantage was quickly 23-0 when Shinsky returned the following kickoff 50 yards to the Mountaineer 4. Myers let Shinsky finish the job with a short toss a play later.

A Myers 24-yard scoring pass to Cody Carroll put the margin at 30-0 Maryville with seconds to play in the opening quarter.

“Before the game in the locker room, we said we’re going to stay focused and put it away early,” Shuler said.

Maryville’s opening burst came with feature back Shawn Prevo sidelined for precautionary reasons after a shoulder injury at West two weeks ago.

“Two weeks ago, the offense came out slow,” Myers said. “He (Quarles) has been stressing the last two weeks to come out strong and get up on them.”

As quick-strike as Maryville proved offensively, it was as much defense that fueled the romp.

The Rebel defense bottled up the Heritage offense for the duration. Photo by Brandon Shinn

Shawn Brown, Nic Heinemann, Ritchie Koons and Bryce Miller paced a Rebel defense that dominated the line of scrimmage. Coates shut down much of what the Mountaineers wanted to do on the outside.

Mountaineer quarterback Jake Olvey and receivers Jesse Huff, Zach Whaley and Dylan Harris found sporadic success in the passing game, but not enough to crack a Maryville defense that yielded five first downs in the opening half.

Rebel reserves began subbing in by the second quarter, with backup quarterbacks Tyler Vaught and John Garrett both seeing action. Garrett, who subbed for Vaught in the second half, was seeing his first action this season after a bout with mononucleosis.

Cody Carroll collects a first half touchdown pass. Photo by Brandon Shinn

Shinsky, a promising young back who also starts at linebacker, put the Maryville lead at 37-0 with two minutes to play in the half on a 29-yard run. The march of Maryville reserves continued on the point after, with junior Caden Ryding filling in and converting for starting place-kicker Miguel McNelly.

Sophomore Jaylen Burgess bulled his way in from 14 yards to open the margin to 44-0 with nine minutes to play in the third. Garrett interrupted the ensuing Mountaineer drive with his first high school interception.

Given the nod by Quarles to take the snap from center with the offense, Garrett marched the Rebels to the Mountaineer 8, where Jordan Scott punched through over left guard for the points.

The Mountaineers turned back the Rebels’ final assault, sending Robinson to the field for a rare chance to kick.

Erik Jan “Cheese” Hill contributed to this report.







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