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Scrimmage Report: Maryville

No Garrett, no Prevo, no problem for Rebels vs. East Hamilton

IMG_3040Senior Jaylen Burgess sheds a Hurricane tackler en route to a Maryville touchdown Tuesday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

The depth at running back is startling.

Senior and Tennessee commitment Dylan Jackson gets the sack on the East Hamilton quarterback.

Senior and Tennessee commitment Dylan Jackson gets the sack on the East Hamilton quarterback.

From feature runner Jaylen Burgess, who most assuredly didn’t disappoint, to former Carpenters Middle sensation Jordan Ervin, defending Class 6A champion Maryville saw four backs score on runs/catches of 45 yards or more in a scrimmage with East Hamilton on Tuesday at Shields Stadium.

Backup quarterback Zach Cardwell ran 40 yards to set up another score.

While it’s never a good idea to make too much of any scrimmage, it was hard not to be impressed.

“That (running back) is probably one of our deepest positions,” Maryville coach George Quarles said.

The Rebels lost quite a bit when quarterback John Garrett (31 touchdown passes; one interception) and school career rushing leader and Shawn Prevo (East Tennessee State University) graduated this spring. Wide out Cody Carroll, last season’s big-play receiver, was also gone.

If Tuesday was any indicator, in their places have stepped a dizzying number of options.

The Rebels really got rolling on their second series against the Hurricanes. Senior Tyler Vaught settled in with five consecutive completions after a rough start. The new Rebel quarterback hit seven straight before yielding the offense to Cardwell. Burgess turned No. 7 into a real doozy.

Taking a short pass over the right side, the 6-foot, 205-pound senior spun and delivered a terrific lick to a would-be Hurricane tackler. The hit wasn’t it, though.

After shedding said linebacker, Burgess sprinted 45 yards for a score by simply running through the Hurricane defense, not around it.

It roused a sizable crowd on hand. It roused the Rebels, too.

Vaught hit tight end Bryce Miller for a 30-yard score before the auditions at running back hit full tilt. Working largely to Miller, senior Chase White and freshman Christian Markham, the Blount Press Row Middle School Player of the Year, the 6-foot-5 Vaught looked increasingly sharp Tuesday.

It’s not about trying to equal Garrett’s numbers, he said.

Sophomore Jordan Irwin makes the turn at the corner.

Sophomore Jordan Irwin makes the turn at the corner.

“It’s my last chance to make myself a part of this legacy and help my teammates,” Vaught said. “I represent more than Tyler Vaught. I think we’ll be OK.”

Senior Dylan Shinsky started the scrimmage alongside Burgess in the backfield. Shinsky also worked extensively at linebacker, perhaps prompting Quarles to ensure everyone in a talent-rich running corps gets a look during preseason.

Junior Joel Hopkins ran strong at the edges. Sophomore Cameron Russell cut back once before streaking 65 yards for another Maryville score. Cardwell’s scamper set up a 20-yard touchdown run from Ervin before sophomore Evan Porter swept run around right end to run 70 yards for another score.

Capping a big day for the running game, Ervin, back from knee injury that wiped out his freshman season, tore off an ankle-busting, 70-yard blast for yet another touchdown that left you a little speechless.

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