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Seeing Not Always Believing

Scots prevail on Rogers knockdown; Rader gets first win

By Chris Cannon
Staff Writer
Blount Press Row

The Scots touch "Legends Rock" as they file onto Honaker Field. Photos by Brandon Shinn

In a game that saw 157 total plays, it all came down to the last one.

Sewanee’s Curtis Johnson was marching down the field in hopes of spoiling the Scots’ day. With five seconds left, the game-tying touchdown pass was swatted away by Ruben Rogers in the end zone as the buzzer sounded.

The swat sealed Maryville’s first win of the season, 24-17, on Saturday at Honaker Field.

As the crowd cheered the play, one person in the stadium missed seeing the ball hit the ground.

“The ball was in there air, and the sun was in my eyes,” Rogers said. “All I could do was make sure that ball wasn’t coming down as a touchdown.”

For Maryville’s Mike Rader, it was his first win as a Scot and as a head coach. The scenario was all too familiar.

Last season, while an assistant coach at Huntingdon, Rader saw much the same thing. Birmingham Southern completed the pass to knot the game. The Hawks eventually lost in double overtime, 35-29.

Saturday, Rader feared the worst.

Maryville coach Mike Rader receives well wishes on the way to the stadium.

“When I saw that ball hit the ground, I’m looking for penalties,” he said. “Then, the water hits me, and I’m hugging (defensive coordinator Scott) Brummett. It finally sunk in. We did this thing.”

The hurry-up offense sealed the deal for Maryville. Snapping the ball at a very quick pace in the second half, the Scots hit the Tigers hard. Conditioning during the offseason prepared Maryville to take advantage, running back Chad Brooks said.

“Everybody that we play is always going to be tired,” he said. “We work too hard; we run. Whenever we get started, it’s just tempo, tempo, tempo. We just line back up, and we hit people in the mouth.”

Trailing 17-10 going into the fourth quarter, the Scots put up 14 points on 29 plays.

Only two went through the air.

One, a 7-yard screen to Travis Felder in the opening moments of the quarter, resulted in a first down.

Maryville's Ed Johnson makes the catch on Saturday.

The second was a 10-yard strike from quarterback Evan Pittenger to Ed Johnson across the middle of the end zone for the go-ahead score.

The other 135 yards came from the feet of E.J. Hunt, Terrell Warren, Brooks, and Felder.

“When you run the ball, you can really play tempo,” Rader said. “This was the first week that we had an offensive line with the same guys playing two weeks in a row. That’s huge, and that gave them a lot of confidence. Linemen love run blocking. They love coming off and just mashing.”

Maryville (1-2) struck first, using a 10-play, 94-yard drive. The Scots held Sewanee (1-2) on fourth-and-1 near their own goal line to set up the march. Paul Costanzo finished things off with a 1-yard run as Maryville led 7-0 with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter.

Again, the defense stood for Maryville. The Tigers’ Cody Daniel was hit by Gabe Johnson to force the ball loose. Jamie Owen fell on the ball, recovering on Sewanee’s 19-yard line.

The Scots didn’t find the end zone, settling for a 23-yard Dylan Miller field goal and a 10-0 lead.

The Scots shut down the Sewanee offense in the second half.

The Tigers struck 11 plays later. Jase Brooks finished the 47-yard drive with a 1-yard jaunt. With 6:07 remaining in the half, the Scots led 10-7.

Before the half was over, Sewanee struck again. Garrett Schlosser’s 36-yard boot sailed through the uprights, leaving the game knotted at 10-each at the half.

The Tigers finished their 17th straight point as Curtis Johnson connected with Jase Brooks for a 22-yard score. With 6:33 left in the third, the Tigers led 17-10.

From then on, it was Maryville putting its hurry-up offense together. Felder scored from 4 yards with 11:24 remaining in the game. Pittenger connected with Ed Johnson from 10 yard with 6:55 left to give Rader his first victory.

“First and foremost, I want to give all the credit to our kids and our coaches,” Rader said. “They’ve worked their tails off to get here. Sometimes as head coaches, we get too much credit. I just want to make sure that those guys (get the credit) because they do a lot of the grunt work.”




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