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Second Round Sizzler

Top-ranked Maryville surges late to advance to quarterfinals

Rebel running back Shawn Prevo hurdles an Oak Ridge defender for the go-ahead score with nine minutes left Friday night at Shields Stadium. Photos by Brandon Shinn

By Brandon O’Neal
Staff Writer
Blount Press Row

Oak Ridge made it close, but top-ranked Maryville poured it on to close out the Wildcats for the second time this season, 39-25, in a second round Class 6A playoff game on Friday.

Senior Brian Coulter, back from an ankle injury, makes the stick on an Oak Ridge ball carrier.

It’s not often you hear a Rebel crowd go quiet, but when Oak Ridge quarterback Rian Hall squeaked through on a 1-yard carry it happened at Shields Stadium.

“We did some really good things,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “This is one of those playoff games that you have to battle through and we battled through to get a big win.”

After the score, Hall, who set up the touchdown with an interception on defense, kept it on the ground for the two-point conversion, tying the score at 25-25 with 1:33 left in the third quarter.

After giving up two touchdowns in less than two minutes, the Rebels (12-0) did what they do better than anyone: finish.

Maryville, which extended its win streak to 41 games, marched 80 yards in 10 plays to score on an epic Shawn Prevo touchdown run. From 12 yards out, Prevo received the handoff, split the defense and soared over a would-be defender to give the Rebels a 32-25 lead with 9:43 to go.

“This is one game,” Prevo said. “You either lose or you win. We had some turnovers, but we capitalized on offense.”

T.J. Kimble skies to haul in a pass to set up a late Rebel score.

Kimble is ruled inbounds at the 1-yard line.

The next Rebel score put it out of reach.

A fade to T.J. Kimble put Maryville at the 1-yard line. The next play, Prevo punched it through to produce the final margin.

“I knew once I made that catch we were going to score,” Kimble said. “I’m glad I made the catch and it gave us a two-possession lead.”

The late-game dramatics withstanding, the Rebels controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the game, amassing 534 yards of offense, limiting the Wildcats 225 yards.

Three plays into the game, the Wildcats caused a fumble after a completed pass to Prevo. Oak Ridge kept it if for one play before fumbling the ball back to Maryville at the 32-yard line. A Prevo 32-yard run later and the Rebels were on the board and up, 6-0, after a missed PAT.

Maryville’s next possession was a weird one.

Prevo was stopped instantly at the line and pushed back. What seemed a big defensive stop turned out to be a defensive touchdown when Elliot Normand ripped the ball from Prevo and took it into the end zone.

The score gave Oak Ridge a 7-6 lead with 7:16 left in the first quarter.

Maryville retaliated with a four-play drive that ended in a 44-yard pass and catch from Nick Myers to Cody Carroll.  A facemask penalty erased a Rebel two-point conversion attempt. Oak Ridge’s Ethan Grumski came around the end to block lengthy PAT kick, leaving the score at 12-7.

Oak Ridge’s next drive was promising, but that stingy Rebel defense ripped through to stop Hall in the backfield on fourth down. Maryville’s next scoring drive took three plays.

Trenton Shuler helped key a big night running the ball.

A well-timed, 19-yard reverse to Carroll put the ball at the Wildcat 44-yard line. Prevo then dashed for a 38-yard gain down to the 6. Myers took over from there with a fade pass to the right to Kimble, giving the Rebels a 19-7 lead with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

“The play was called in the huddle,” Myers said. “T.J. put a good move on the guy and he went and got it. He was in man-to-man and he made the play.”

After a Wildcat punt, Maryville took the ball 76 yards in 12 plays  for Miguel McNelly field goal lead, 22-7, with 5:10 left in the half.

Oak Ridge would not be out done. The Wildcats matched the field goal on their next drive, making the score 22-10 with 1:26 left. Maryville used the remaining time wisely.

Timeouts by the Rebels at 46.1 and 26.8 seconds finished off Maryville’s supply. During the second timeout, Quarles called the play and let the Rebels know they needed to change teams quickly if it failed. A sack made that information useful.

In about 13 seconds, the Rebel offense and special teams made the switch, McNelly’s kick sailing through the uprights as the buzzer sounded to the half to end.

Center Drew Curtis and the Rebel offensive line powered Maryville to 534 yards of offense.

The Rebels had 321 yards of offense at the half.  Myers had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 8-off-12 passing. Prevo rushed for 91 yards on eight carries and a score. Trenton Shuler gashed the Wildcats for 60 more and a touchdown.

The Wildcats racked up 131 yards at the half, most of which came from Hall.

A 16-play, 74-yard drive ending with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Miller put the Wildcats in striking distance in the second half.

After the Hall interception and touchdown on the ensuing drive, tied things at 25-25 after a two-point conversion.

The Rebel rallied with an 80-yard drive and the Prevo go-ahead score.


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