Maryville assistant coach Mike White applauded the rebels for how well they trained, explained the energy they gave to the coaching staff, and completed his recent exercise.
The results of that dedication began to show.
No. 2 Marilyville was competing in the 6A state championships before the start of the season, but the rebels still have their best option when they beat Cleveland No. 10 42-7 at Shields Stadium on Friday.
“We have great seniors who understand what we have to do and they believe in it,” Maryville coach Derek Hunt told The Daily Times. “They exercise hard, they don’t allow other guys to exercise hard. There are standards, they understand the standards.
“It’s really fun to work as a coach thanks to the training of this group.”
Marilyville (7-0, 3-0, Zone 2-6A) lost to Cleveland (5-2, 1-2) in three rounds.
The rebels were almost perfect at committing crimes, and each of the five complete possessions was found in the dirt.
Senior defender Carson Webb Jones completed 13 passes from 203 yards, including senior receiver Carson Walker Jones from 8 yards out. Noah Vaughn’s running back had three bikes 83 yards and a 71 yards receiver.
Marilyville was unbeaten by a third in the first half.
“It feels like we’re starting to show how good we are,” Vaughn said. “Once our grievances start, it feels really hard to stop us. I think if we keep our mistakes away, defend the ball and do everything according to our coach, everything will always be good for us.”
Maryville’s defense and special team units made four short field attacks, all of which resulted in a touchdown.
Sophomor Gage LaDue ran back, and at 34 yards, Marilyville returned to the 47-yard line, and the rebels took Wong’s first shot in a five-way, 53-yard run.
The end of the junior defense, Jason Manaker, blocked Cleveland’s shot and stumbled to restore it. Senior receiver DJ Burks played live and scored in the next game to give the Rebels a 21-0 lead in the first season.
Sophomore defender Cannon Johnson returned from 27 yards out in midfield, and Marville Vaughn scored another shot after two games after losing by 31 yards.
The final short field came after Captain Markel Fortenberry interrupted Drew Lambert’s pass in the third quarter and returned to the 4-yard line after LaDue’s shot.
Marilyville limited Cleveland to a total distance of 173 meters.
“I think Cleveland is a good football team, but we played well,” Hunt said. ‘We were attacked in the first half. Defensively, we were really strong. We had a lot of guys who acted.
“We’ve been monitoring the screening line on both sides, and doing so will give you a chance to be very good.”
Marilyville plays the best football of the season during the fall break, but is committed to maintaining that momentum throughout the week and continuing its October 15 2-6A encounter with enemy Hardin Valley.
Given the approach prepared in the last few weeks, interruptions are unlikely.
Hunt said: “We’ve been training as well as the Maryland team for the last three weeks.” The research we did on Thursday was really solid, and it worked.
“I think if this team continues to do that, no matter who gets the merit, if we just play the ball, we will have a hard time winning.”