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Hail Mary: 2

Monday Film Study: Rebels issue Oakland second straight last play denial

Maryville’s DaVon Kimble (5) knocks down an Oakland last-play heave in the end zone on Friday. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Tee Hodge hitting you once is going to hurt, but you’ll probably be alright. Probably.

Eighteen times, and you should probably see a doctor.

A game that had everything also had that, and it was decisive as Maryville denied an Oakland last-play heave for the second consecutive meeting in a 24-21 Rebel win on Friday at Shields Stadium.

Bryson Teffeteller willed his way into the end zone from 3 yards out with 39 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the second half-field, Hail Mary pass between the two teams in less than a year.

Former Rebel Will Orren intercepted a Patriot pass in the end zone as the horn sounded in a playoff semifinal last November, Maryville prevailing, 31-28.

Friday, it was senior defensive back DaVon Kimble doing the honors with 2 seconds left, knocking an Oakland pass to the turf to spark the celebration.

“For half a second, I imagined it was my brother back there going up to get that,” Rebel linebacker Seth Orren said. “It was just like last year.”

“I saw the quarterback’s arm motion,” Kimble said, “and I was in a position to jump up there and get it.”

Rebel junior Tee Hodge strung together 18 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown to wear down the Oakland defense.

The thrilling finale and all the preceding big plays withstanding, it was Hodge who proved the difference.

“He wears defenses down because he’s so hard to tackle,” Maryville coach Derek Hunt said.

Hodge, offered by Tennessee over the summer, finished his evening with 18 rushes for a game-best 135 yards and a 1-yard score. The Rebels deployed the big, speedy back in a variety of ways, most notably with the direct snap from the wildcat.

“I knew I had to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Hodge said. “I knew this year I had to turn it on.”

Junior quarterbacks Braden Carnes and Cade Chambers balanced things out with the passing game, combining for 12-of-19 for 132 yards — Carnes 5-of-10 for 67, Chambers 7-of-9 for 65. Chambers ran 6 yards for Maryville’s first points with a second to play in the opening quarter.

A.J. Davis not only caught 8 passes for 95 yards, the Maryville junior had the night’s longest completion with a 57-yard toss to fellow receiver Ashton Maples.

Carnes and Chambers threw the ball effectively to four Rebel receivers, junior A.J. Davis — eight catches, 95 yards — most prominent. Davis passed 57 yards to fellow junior Ashton Maples on a trick play that surely rattled the Patriots.

Mookie Wilson (four carries, 87 yards) and Xavier Myers (25, 81) championed a power ball Oakland attack, with Myers accounting for all three Patriot scores on runs of 6, 2 and 1 yards, all coming after the Rebels had taken a 14-0 lead at the half.

Also for the second consecutive meeting, a Jack Cone field goal was the difference on the scoreboard, a 23-yard, second-half boot from the Maryville senior opening a 17-7 Rebel lead with 6 minutes to play in the third. Cone’s 39-yard field goal with 26 seconds left set the table for last year’s Oakland Hail Mary.

It’s worth noting it’s also the third consecutive time the Rebels and Patriots have played to a three-point margin. Oakland took last year’s regular-season meeting, 17-14, in Murfreesboro.

Maryville’s Brayden Anderson snares an Oakland ball carrier on Friday. With three minutes left, the Rebel defense forced a punt to set up the game-winning drive.

In looking for that one play that turned the game, you don’t have to look far. Facing fourth-and-24 at the Rebel 34-yard line with eight minutes to play in the half, the Patriots decided to go. Mason Shelton’s game-changing tackle got the ball back for Maryville at the Rebel 23. Hodge bulled in from the 1 two minutes later for a 14-0 advantage.

The Patriots, stunned, surged from the locker room to mount a charge. When another Davis trick-play pass attempt ended with the Patriots corralling the Rebel speedster deep in Oakland territory, the Patriots took over with three minutes left. Maryville held in three plays, senior Spencer Shore’s tackle on third down getting the ball back with 2:33 remaining.

“We just knew the formation,” Shore said. “We knew it was coming. We’d practiced it all week.”

The Rebels moved swiftly from the 43 to put Teffeteller in the end zone with 39 seconds to go.

“We just told each other, ‘This is it; it’s now or never,'” Teffeteller said. “What an amazing feeling.”

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