Around the Region

Maryville makes history heading to playoffs

The expectations that Mike Rader brought to Maryville have translated into to conference championships.
Maryville athletics photo

As expected, four teams from the Around the Mid-Atlantic region earned playoff berths. Only one of them made history. The Maryville Scots earned the first Division III playoff bid in the program’s history. Maryville locked up the USA South conference’s Pool A bid in Week 10 by defeating Greensboro, while Methodist defeated Huntington. In its eighth season in the conference, the Scots clinched the automatic bid by virtue of a Sept. 28 head-to-head win over the Monarchs. The two teams finished tied for the conference title at 6-1 in league play.

“We’re excited about the playoffs, obviously. We are excited to be a part of it,” said Maryville head coach Mike Rader. “It’s a great thing for our community, our alumni, our administration, our faculty, our staff, our players, our fans, everybody.”

In Rader’s two seasons at the helm, the Scots have posted a 14-6 record and shared two USA South titles. Prior to Rader’s reign, the last football conference championship won by Maryville was a Smoky Mountain Conference title in the early 1930s. Forget being ahead of schedule; Rader came to Maryville to win and saw no reason why his team couldn’t win right away. That’s why so many underclassmen have had such an impact on Maryville’s turnaround. Two sophomores -- quarterback Evan Pittenger and defensive lineman Zach Capehart -- are among the team’s five captains.

“Leadership does not have an age,” said Rader. “Everybody can be a leader, and there are a million ways to lead.”

The expectations that the former Huntingdon assistant brought to Maryville have translated to consecutive conference championships. The 64 freshmen on this year’s squad helped take the program to unseen heights. The eight wins so far are the most a Maryville team has posted since 1978.

“From the first day to now, the freshmen have made tremendous strides. Their growth has been phenomenal,” said Rader. “You’ve got to have both phases, offense and defense, that allow freshmen to play, so that these talented kids can come in and help us right away. Every man on this team has a role.”

After losing at Emory and Henry on Sept. 14, the Scots reeled off seven straight wins, including their first six USA South contests. The 21 points scored against the Wasps in the loss marked the only time all year the Scots were held below 30 points. The Scots averaged 39.8 points per game, but that was only good for third in the league, behind Methodist and Huntingdon. The Hawks led the nation in total offense with 585.8 yards per game and the Monarchs were third with 528.5 yards per game. The Scots were way back at 21st in the nation with 474 yards per game. Unlike their conference mates who like to air it out, the Scots did their damage on the ground.

Travis Felder rushed for 107.5...

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Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to since 2007 and is in his second year as Around the Mid-Atlantic columnist.

2007-2011 columnist: Ryan Tipps
2003-2006: Pat Cummings
2000: Keith McMillan
1999: Pat Coleman 


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