By Skylar Smith, MC Sports Information Intern
The Maryville College Fighting Scots hosted the Berry College Vikings for their season opener at Honaker Field and defeated the Vikings in convincing fashion, 41-14.
After freshman cornerback Stevorius Kimball returned the opening kickoff to the 35-yard line, the Scots put together an 11 play, 65-yard drive, capped off with a 4-yard TD run by Scots quarterback Evan Pittenger. A successful PAT by kicker Wesley Bloeme put the Scots up 7-0 with 10:55 remaining in the first quarter.
The Vikings ensuing possesion ended when Scots defensive back Ruben Rodgers intercepted the pass of Dale Jackson after it was tipped by a Berry wideout.
The interception set the Scots up at the 24-yard line of Berry. Following a pair of runs by Scots sophomore running back Trenton Shuler, Evan Pittenger connected with wide receiver Maurice Walker on a 12-yard TD pass, followed by the PAT by Bloeme to put the Scots up 14-0 with 9:51 remaining in the first quarter.
A nice special teams tackle by freshman cornerback Calvin Short gave Berry possession inside their own 15-yard line, and a holding penalty moved them back to the seven yard line. A pair of penalties by the Scots defense, including an offsides penalty on 4th and short and a roughing the passer penalty allowed the Berry offense to move into Maryville territory. A 32-yard TD pass from Dale Jackson to Chris Lilly with 5:21 left in the first put the Vikings within a score of the Scots, 14-7.
Moving into the second quarter, a 44-yard punt by Maryville's Kenneth Horne gave the Vikings possession on their own 13-yard line with 11:22 remaining in the half. The Vikings marched down the field into the Maryville red zone, looking to tie the score. A batted ball by Eric Benison saved the Scots from a Berry touchdown, and in the following play cornerback Kendyhl Rodgers intercepted the pass of Dale Jackson, returning it to the 20-yard line of Maryville.
After taking over with 8:11 remaining in the half, Maryville running back Deshjion Whitlock broke out a 75-yard scamper, burning the Vikings defense with the 8th-longest touchdown run in Maryville College history to put the Scots up 21-7 with 7:38 remaining in the half.
The Vikings were forced to punt again, and before the half the Scots were able to compile a 16-play, 88-yard drive, finished with a 22-yard field goal by Wesley Bloeme as time expired to put the Scots up 24-7 at the half.
After receiving the ball to begin the third quarter, Berry College quarterback Dale Jackson completed a few impressive passes to put the Vikings within striking distance, and made a scrambling-lob pass to wide receiver Josh Bullock for a 25-yard touchdown to bring the score to 24-14, Maryville.
The Scots took over at their own 28-yard line and moved the ball inside the Berry 10 yard line, but a strong defensive stance forced the Scots to turn the ball over on downs. Berry took possession at their own 8-yard line. A few plays later, Scots linebacker Jayvon McCullough intercepted the pass of Dale Jackson, returning it to the Berry 6-yard line, and after a few failed rushing attempts, Scots quarterback Evan Pittenger as able to make his way into the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter to put the Scots up 31-14.
The strong Maryville defense continued to contain Berry College, not allowing another score for the rest of the game. After a punt by Berry, Maryville took possession with 8:38 remaining. Raekwon Neal relieved Deshjion Whitlock toward the end of the game, and broke away from Berry defenders for a 69-yard touchdown run to put the Scots up 38-14 with 7:41 remaining.
"As long as we can run the ball, play calling is going to be very easy," said Scots head coach Mike Raider. "You can just stay in rhythm with it."
A 39-yard field goal by Wesley Bloeme with 2:56 remaining brought the game to its final score, 41-14, Maryville.
Maryville's offense compiled 481 yards on the afternoon. Deshjion Whitlock paced the rushing attack with 142 yards on 16 carries. Raekwon Neal and Trenton Shuler added 84 and 81 yards on the ground respectively. Eddie Brock capped the four back effort with 53 yards in 11 attempts. Quarterback Evan Pittenger was 13-for-19 for 94 yards. His favorite target was Maurice Walker. Walker hauled in seven passes for 60 yards including his first collegiate score.
The Scots defense was paced by Jayvon McCullough's seven tackle effort. Ruben Rodgers added four solo stops while Kent Minor added seven total stops.
The Scots will host Emory & Henry next Saturday at Honaker Field. Kickoff is slated for 1:30.