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Block Party

Rebel offensive line delivers memorable show in Oakland win
The Maryville offense looks to the sideline for the play. Pictured, left to right, are running back Jordan Ervin, quarterback Dylan Hopkins, left tackle Harper Rose, left guard Laken McCall, center Jacob Wall, right guard Wesley Ferguson and right tackle Josh Wall. Photo by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

From the instant the Oakland defense got in a stance for the first time, one question overwhelmed all others: How in the world is Maryville going to block these guys?

Josh Wall

Josh Wall

Somehow they did, which is why we’re awarding this week’s Barley/Blount Press Row Player of the Week to the Rebel offensive line as a group.

Behind seniors Josh Wall, Wesley Ferguson, Laken McCall and Haper Rose and sophomore Jacob Wall, Josh’s kid brother, Maryville rolled to a 27-13 win over the Patriots in a Class 6A semifinal on Friday at Shields Stadium.

(Editor’s note: We thought of including receiver Kelby Brock with the O-line for the block he threw on Oakland defensive back JaCoby Stevens on the Isaiah Cobb touchdown catch, but that’s another story for another day.)

Jacob Wall

Jacob Wall

The No. 1-ranked and defending champion Rebels (14-0) meet No. 4 Ravenwood (13-1) in the BlueCross Bowl finale on Saturday at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. CST.

MyVLT has the local broadcast.

We’ve never seen many front sevens defensively the size of Oakland, not on the high school level, anyway. The Patriot secondary featured a former LSU commitment (Stevens) at one of the corners.

Harper Rose

Harper Rose

That said, Maryville’s first scoring drive began at its own 3. The second went for 77 yards. The drive to put it away with four minutes remaining began at the Rebel 38 and took four plays, three of them running plays.

No one will ever mistake this quintet for the monsters of ’98. Josh Wall, at right tackle, stands 5-foot-6 at 180 pounds. Younger brother, Jacob, at center, is 5-9, 180.

Ferguson, 6-3, 305, McCall, 6-3, 275, and Rose, 6-3, 225, bring the numbers up, but sheer bulk isn’t what fuels this group, Rebel offensive line coach David Ellis said.


Laken McCall

“This group of offensive linemen is tenacious,” he said. “They have a tremendous get-after-it desire. The best thing about them is they go out every play and compete.”

Josh Wall, whose block on Oakland’s Quintavious Boyd got Cobb to the sideline on the first quarter, 46-yard screen pass, best typifies that mindset.

You’re just not going to see many 5-6 right tackles … anywhere.

“I’ve had right tackles that are 6-5 and 270,” Ellis said. “I wish they were all that big.

“The most important thing for me is they have good feet and can they engage and finish the block, get in the (opponent’s) numbers? Little guys love that.”

Wesley Ferguson

Wesley Ferguson

Maryville will make its 12th consecutive appearance in the championship game on Saturday. The offense returned three starters from last year’s game, with McCall the only returnee on the offensive line.

Hasn’t made much of a difference.

The Rebels will go for their 45th consecutive win with a scoring machine that’s churned through 6,099 yards of total offense.

You can’t do that unless you’re absolutely getting it done up front.

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