/seasons/2015/contrib/20151003iy4sba

Maryville wins thriller over Methodist, remain undefeated

More news about: Maryville (Tenn.)

Displaying a sputtering offense and a gassed defense, it looked as if the streak would end for the Scots on Saturday evening, as they trailed Methodist University, 23-21, with only four minutes remaining in the ball game.

However, senior quarterback Evan Pittenger and sophomore running back Deshjion Whitlock led the Scots on a thrilling eight-play, 52-yard drive under a dreary sky, as Pittenger connected with freshman Mario Williams in the back corner of the end zone.

Pittenger found Williams on the two-point conversion try to give the Scots a 29-23 win over USA South Athletic Conference foe, Methodist University.

"I told my guys early, 'Momentum is false. There's no such thing as momentum in life. Whatever you make it is what it is,'" Maryville College Head Coach Shaun Hayes said. "When things were happening, I told them without a shadow of a doubt, in my heart, I knew we were going to win the football game. The whole entire time. That's the power of belief, and that's what we talked about this morning – undefeated. My guys truly believe in each other. They fought for each other."

With the win, the 2015 squad becomes one of only eight teams in Maryville's 123 years of football to start the season 4-0, while Hayes moves up the list for best starts for a head coach.

Hayes now sits tied for third-best start in Maryville football history with Art Ogden, who also started 4-0 in 1981.

After blistering to a 21-0 lead early and taking a 21-3 advantage to the locker room, the Maryville College offense went stagnant in the second half. In the third quarter, the Scots failed to make a first down, while rushing for negative 3 yards.

Methodist used up 9:49 of the 15 minute quarter, pulling to with 21-20, before Brandon Torres' 31-yard field goal with 13:47 gave the Monarchs their first lead a 23-21.

The defense bowed their backs, holding Methodist to 65 yards in the fourth quarter, allowing the offense to find the rhythm and the win.

"They could care less what situation they're put in," Hayes said of the defense. "They could care less what the score is. They truly believe they are the most dominant defense in Division III football…Every great defense plays with an attitude and plays with emotion."

Maryille was led by Gabe Johnson who tallied 11 tackles. The senior also posted a half tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.

"Jonathan Clark is a guy that's been here a long time, and he's done a lot of great things for us, but it's games like this that I'll remember about him. When things aren't going great for one side, and he takes on the leadership role of the football team and says, 'Don't worry. I've got you.' He just kept playing."

Jonathan Clark had nine tackles, a sack for 8 yards, two pass break-ups and seven quarterback hurries, while Kent Minor tallied nine tackles of his own.

The Scots defense rushed quarterback Dylan DeGroot on 20 different occasions in 87 offensive plays for the Monarchs.

Maryville (4-0, 1-0 USA South) was led by Pittenger offensively, as the senior threw 12-of-21 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Those two scores push his past Justin Price (2005-2006), for second-most TD passes in a career in Maryville College Football history.

Pittenger tied Price early in the first quarter, before passing him with the 17 yard bomb late in the fourth quarter.

The senior quarterback also passed Armond Akiboh (1993-1996) with his six carries today, as he ranks fourth all-time in total carries with 328.

Williams hauled in five catches for the Scots for 76 yards and two touchdowns, while Logan Winders found 61 yards on two catches and a score.

Chaz Rokins tallied 58 yards on 10 carries, while Whitlock posted 53 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.

For Methodist (2-2, 0-1 USA South), it was DeGroot who went 19-of-41 for 167 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Emontie Dears posted 173 yards on 25 carries for the Monarchs.

The Scots scored first with a 10-play, 63-yard drive with 10:41 left in the first quarter. Whitlock followed Chase Courson for 2 yards and a 7-0 Maryville College lead.

With 12:53 left in the second quarter, the Scots struck again. Nick Myers connected with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Winders to cap an 11-play, 93-yard score. The Scots led 14-0.

Maryville's lead would extend to 21-0 with 9:21 left in the first half after putting together a three-play, 32-yard drive. Williams hauled in a 34-yard pass from Pittenger.

Methodist would not go to the half scoreless, however, as Torres connected on a 37-yard field goal to end an 11-play, 45-yard drive. The Monarchs trailed 21-3 at the half.

With 7:11 left in the third quarter, Methodist would find their first touchdown. DeGroot connected with a 16-yard pass to Anthony Radke, as the Monarchs pulled to within 21-10.

A low snap on a punt would give Methodist their second touchdown with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter. Avery Warren hit Max Peets, forcing the fumble. J.D. Stalvey collected it, taking it 3 yards for the score, as the Scots led 21-17.

Back-to-back field goals by Torres – from 45 and 31 – gave Methodist their first lead of the day with 13:47 left in the game, before Maryville's long play would give the Scots the win.

Maryville will travel to N.C. Wesleyan College next Saturday, Oct. 10, for a USA South contest. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m., before Maryville hosts Ferrum College for Homecoming on Oct. 17.

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