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Bulldogs await FHS after No. 1 Rebs roll

MARYVILLE— Jim Renfro Field is a wonderful venue for football, sideline stands close to the field, trees in each end zone, and enough ambiance to satisfy the most hardened fan.

That's the good news.

The bad news is you have to play Maryville, the state's No. 1-ranked Class 6A team playing about as well as it can play right now, looking like the juggernaut that is a trademark of a George Quarles coached team.

Capitalizing on Bearden turnovers and some iffy work by the Bulldogs in the kicking game, Maryville rolled to a 37-0 halftime lead and that was that. It was a picture-perfect night for football, in a game that sent the MHS fans home happy.

The final was 40-6.

Maryville (5-0, 3-0) hurt the Bulldogs (4-2, 2-1) offensively with well-designed plays inside and outside, particularly with a draw play that sent the flow one way and the running backs cutting back the other way.

“It was a tough play to defend,” defensive end Kasey Tyler said. “You're going with the flow, and they trick you at times.”

The English teachers may tell you not to say “totally dominate,” but that's what the Rebels did in all facets of the game.

Most of the second half was played under the “Mercy Rule,” with a continuously running clock and a passel of reserves seeing action on the Maryville side. Memory fails as to the last time that has happened to Bearden, against Maryville or anyone else, for that matter.

“Our offense kept shooting itself in the foot,” Bearden head coach Brad Taylor said. “You give them good field position and they're going to march down and get points.”

It was 14-0 with 1:53 left in the first quarter, with Bearden having no answer for Maryville's precision offense and stingy defense. Maryville won the field position battle decisively, getting the short field time after time. An interception return for a touchdown didn't hurt, either. Maryville's kickoff unit ended up getting enough work to help each player's case for lettering.

“You can't make mistakes and play with them,” Taylor said. “If we make mistakes, this is what's going to happen. This is not a step backward, but neither is it a step forward.”

Bearden's only highlight of the evening came late in the game when quarterback Nicky Frizen connected with Zack Messing on an innocent-looking screen pass that Messing turned into six points, making a couple of neat moves in the open field and scoring easily. The play covered 34 yards and came with 5:22 left.

“It was a pass that opened up perfectly for me,” Messing said. “You have to play mistake-free football, and they capitalized on every mistake. You have to bring your 'A' game.”

“We can't worry about this long,” Taylor said. “There's an important district game coming up. I didn't see any quit in our kids, just too many mistakes.”

Farragut comes calling tonight, Thursday, Oct. 6, in a televised game. Opening kickoff at Bill Young Field is 7 p.m.


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