A strong first half and numerous defensive stops in the second half led the Maryville College Fighting Scots past Methodist University by the score of 35-26 on Saturday afternoon on MC's Honaker Field.
The capacity homecoming crowd was a bit stunned when Methodist's opening play was a 49 yard pass reception from Max Reber to Vaughn Cross giving the Monarchs the ball on the Scots' 35 yard line. Four plays later, Jordan Van plunged into the end zone from a yard out. Cody Ausherman's kick gave the visitors a 7-0 lead.
The Scots' high-powered offense looked to answer on their first possession. A drive that featured a 35-yard pass from Evan Pittenger to Blake Williams and another quick strike from Pittenger to Williams put Mc on the doorstep. On the Methodist eleven-yard line, Travis Felder had a burst through the line and scored on an eleven run scamper.
A poor Maryville punt gave the Monarchs the ball on MC's 36 yard line. The Scots defense held with key stops by Josh Krebs, Zach Capehart, and Jamie Owen forcing Methodist to attempt a 22-yard field goal. Ausherman split the uprights and Methodist took a 10-7 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The Scots trailed for the last time when that put together a seven play, 75 yard drive on their next possession. A 44-yard pass from Pittenger to Blake Williams and an 18 yard rush from Pittenger put MC on the three yard line. A few attempts later Travis Felder hit pay dirt from four yards out. Lucas Underwood's second consecutive PAT was good and Maryville closed out the first quarter with a 14-10 advantage.
To begin the second period, Maryville's Gabe Johnson blocked a punt giving the Scots the ball on the Monarch's 41 yard line. A 23 yard strike from Pittenger to Williams gave MC the ball within the 20. Four consecutive runs by MC's signal caller resulted in a three-yard TD run. Underwood's kick was good and Maryville extended their lead to 21-10.
Before the half, Gabe Johnson forced a fumble and Ruben Rodgers recovered on the Scots' 40-yard line. An 18-yard dash by Pittenger put MC at midfield. Pittenger hit Ed Johnson with a 12-yard pass then found Johnson once again for a 31-yard touchdown strike. Underwood's conversion made the score 28-10 as MC's fans began homecoming celebrations at the half.
The third quarter was dominated by long drives and defensive stands. A 15 play drive for the Scots to begin the second half resulted in 64 yards but no points. Methodist marched down the field 86 yards on 16-plays, but also was turned away by defensive stops by Dylan Wolfenbarger and Tyler Todd.
A punt game the Monarchs the ball at midfield. Max Reber connected with Vaughn Cross for a 35 yard gain and Blake Scott for 29 yards to put Methodist on the Scots' doorstep. On third down, Jordan Vann pushed through the middle for a one-yard score. The conversion run failed and Maryville maintained a 28-16 advantage with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.
As the final quarter began, Methodist looked to capitalize on great field position. A 14 yard dash by Marquies Hall and a 31 yard pass from Reber to Blake Scott put the ball on MC's four-yard line. Hall took the next play the distance for a touchdown. Ausherman's kick pulled the Monarch's to within a score, 28-23.
As Maryville's offense sputtered, Methodist marched down the field for an 11-play, 66 yard scoring drive. Key stops by Kendyhl Rodgers and Dylan Wolfenbarger as well as a poor snap, forced Methodist to settle for an Ausherman 40-yard field goal. With nine minutes remaining in the game, Maryvile held on to a slight 28-26 lead.
The Scots looked to pull away with seven minutes remaining. A 15 yard pass reception by Ed Johnson, an 18-yard pass catch by Trenton Shuler, and a 13-yard TD pass to Johnson gave MC the lead for good with five minutes remaining. After Lucas Underwood split the uprights, Maryville led 35-26.
The Monarchs would not go quietly, but on their ninth play, Reber fumbled and MC's Zack Brown recovered allowing the Scots to run out the clock for the victory.
Methodist (2-2, 0-1 USA South) compiled 486 total offensive yards. Marquies Hall led the Monarchs on the ground with 15 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. Max Reber was 26-for-41 via the air for 373 yards. Vaughn Cross hauled in eight passes for 153 yards while Blake Scott pulled down six balls for 126 yards. Defensively, Navahri Holden recorded 14 total tackles while James Atkinson added 11 stops. LeTovis Davis added six solo tackles.
Maryville (3-1, 1-0 USA South) finished with 201 rushing yards and 269 yards in the air. Evan Pittenger paced MC's ground attack with 115 yards on 19 carries while Travis Felder added 69 yards on 20 touches. Pittenger was 22-for-35 in the air for 269 yards. His favorite targets were Ed Johnson with eight catches for 95 yards and a pair of scores and Blake Williams who brought down six passes for 122 yards. The Fighting Scots' defense was paced by Dylan Wolfenbarger's 16 total tackle effort. Zack Brown had six solo tackles and 11 total stops while recovering a fumble. Jayvon McCullough added nine tackles with interior linemen Ferguson Charles, Zach Capehart, and Jamie Owen each adding eight stops.
The Scots will return to action next week on Honaker Field when they host USA South rival Averett University for a 1:30 kick-off.