Maryville pulls away from Owls

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WEEKEND BLITZ - BY STEPHEN HAR­GIS STAFF WRITER

For nearly three quar­ters, Oolte­wah traded punches Thurs­day night with peren­nial state power and sec­ond-ranked Maryville.

But as it has so often, Maryville even­tu­ally de­liv­ered a knock­out and posted a 54-34 Re­gion 2-6A foot­ball vic­tory that leaves the Owls on the out­side look­ing in at the play­offs for now.

While Tee Hodge ad­min­is­tered the body blows with a very phys­i­cal run­ning style, se­nior quar­ter­back Dy­lan Hop­kins landed the big­gest hay­mak­ers for the Rebels. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound Hop­kins ran 12 times for 146 yards and two touch­downs and com­pleted 15 of 20 passes for another 268 yards and three other scores.

“I was just try­ing to do what­ever I could to help my team get a big re­gion win,” Hop­kins said. “It was fun spread­ing the ball around and see­ing all our guys con­trib­ute. That first half es­pe­cially was a lot of fun, just run­ning around try­ing to make plays.”

The teams set a blis­ter­ing pace from the be­gin­ning, com­bin­ing for

448 yards of of­fense and five touch­downs in the first quar­ter alone. But when Oolte­wah — which trailed by just one score at half­time — was forced to punt on its first two pos­ses­sions of the sec­ond half, the Rebels (7-1, 4-0) took ad­van­tage with a pair of touch­downs and put the game away.

“We knew it would be a very high-scor­ing game, so we were try­ing to put as many points on the board as we could,” Owls coach Mac Bryan said. “They’re so bal­anced and re­ally hard to stop, and a cou­ple of mis­takes on some drives kept us from fin­ish­ing like we could have, and that cost us.

“We know that if we can win one of our last two games we should be in the play­offs, and two wins could get us to third. All that mat­ters is get­ting in right now, and then any­thing can hap­pen.”

“We knew it would be a very high­scor­ing game, so we were try­ing to put as many point.” – OWLS COACH MAC BRYAN

The Owls (4-4, 2-2) fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son with road games against re­gion foes Cleve­land and Maryville Her­itage, both of which are cur­rently above them in the stand­ings.

Oolte­wah’s star ju­nior run­ning back Sin­cere Quinn gained 98 yards on just eight first-half car­ries and had a TD, but he went down late in the sec­ond quar­ter when he ag­gra­vated an an­kle in­jury that has plagued him for sev­eral weeks. He did not re­turn.

Maryville’s of­fense was bal­anced as usual, rush­ing for 258 yards and throw­ing for 268. Oolte­wah fin­ished with 422 to­tal yards as the teams com­bined for nearly 950. Owls ju­nior quar­ter­back Kyrell San­ford threw for 155 and ran for 80, ac­count­ing for four TDs.

STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG STRICKLAND

Oolte­wah quar­ter­back Kyrell San­ford tries to es­cape the grasp of Maryville line­backer Tommy Smith dur­ing Thurs­day night’s Re­gion 2-6A matchup at Oolte­wah. Maryville won 56-34 in a game that in­cluded 448 yards of of­fense in the first quar­ter alone.

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