Blount Press Row

Week ending Nov. 9

Vaught gives Air Force Academy preview; Rebels move to 16th in USA Today poll
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Maryville quarterback Tyler Vaught turns a bad snap into a big play in this memorable escape against Alcoa. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Tyler Vaught looks like he’ll be right at home at the Air Force Academy next season.

Untitled-2The Maryville High School senior, the Barleys’/Blount Press Row Player of the Week, showed off his quickness and foot speed for a pair of rushing touchdowns as the top-ranked Rebels shut out Walker Valley, 48-0, in a Class 6A playoff opener on Friday at Shields Stadium.

With the win, the Rebels jumped three spots in the latest USA Today Super 25 national rankings. Maryville (11-0), which hosts Sevier County in a second round game Friday, is now the nation’s No. 16-ranked team, believed to be the school’s highest-ever placing.

Vaught, an Air Force commitment, scored on runs of 18 and 8 yards as Maryville rushed for 334 yards in honing its ground game for the postseason. The versatile Vaught also caught a 24-yard pass from sophomore Austin Ensley, the Rebels co-starter at quarterback. Vaught, who played receiver a year ago, finished with 58 yards on eight carries as the Maryville starters put in a brief night.

In college football, the spread offense, which the Rebels also run, is all but the norm these days, except at the academy. The Falcons specialize in the triple option. If ever a quarterback and a school were made for each other, it’s Vaught and the Air Force.

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