The Maryville College football team moved to 5-1 on the season and 3-0 in USA South Athletic Conference challenges with a 47-35 win over LaGrange College at Callaway Stadium.
In a game that featured over 1,000 yards of total offense collectively, it was the second half defense of the Fighting Scots that helped preserve a key USA South road win on Saturday.
Maryville capitalized on each of the Panther's three turnovers on the afternoon.
As LaGrange was marching down the field on the opening drive, MC's Zach Capehart scooped up a fumble at mid-field. An eight play ensuing drive was capped when Trenton Shuler found the end zone from a yard out. Lucas Underwood's kick gave MC a 7-0 lead to start the scoring.
LaGrange, as they did throughout the day, struck fast and furious. On their third play of their second drive, quarterback Graham Craig connected with Josh Hardrick for a 52-yard TD strike. Will Jeffcoat's kick tied the game at 7-7.
Following a stalled MC drive, LaGrange marched down the field on a nine-play scoring drive. Shaqualm McCoy scored on a five yard dash to finish the drive. The kick made the score 14-7 in favor of LaGrange.
As the first quarter wound down, Maryville drove to the Panther's 31 featuring strong runs by Chad Brooks, Evan Pittenger, and Travis Felder. When the second period began, Pittenger found pay dirt from three-yards out capping a 16-play, 83 yard drive. Underwood's kick failed and the Panthers held on to a 14-13 advantage.
Maryville's defense held on the Panther's following possession. LaGrange looked to do the same, but on a 4th down punt formation Logan Winders scampered 21 yards to give MC new life. The following play Pittenger hit Blake Williams for a 40-yard gain. Deshijon Whitlock finished the six-play, 72 yard drive with a four yard TD run. Underwood's kick made the score 20-14 with nine minutes remaining before the half.
LaGrange answered on their next possession. Key completions to Josh Hardrick and Ervens Oge set up a 29-yard scoring strike from Craig to Griffin Roelle. Jeffcoat's conversion gave the Panthers reason to celebrate during their Homecoming game.
The Homecoming crowd did not have long to cheer. On MC next possession, Pittenger hit a streaking Ed Johnson for a 70 yard pass completion. Three Travis Felder rushes later, the senior found the end zone from one-yard out. Underwood's kick was low and the score stood at 26-21, Maryville.
The shootout continued on the Panthers' next possession. Graham Craig connected with Ervens Oge for a 52-yard touchdown via the air, scoring in only 1:38.
With three minutes remaining before the intermission, Maryville drove to the LaGrange 12-yard line. Nick Raszeja stepped in front of a Pittenger attempt into the end zone ending the scoring opportunity and the half.
At the half, defense seemed optional with LaGrange racking up 288 total yards and Maryville accumulating 357 total yards.
The Scots' defense rose to the occasion in the second half allowing only 120 total yards and one score.
MC's defense held LaGrange on their first possession and took advantage of great field possession on their second drive. At mid-field, key runs by Pittenger, Brooks, and Felder put the Scots in scoring position. Pittenger finished off the seven play drive with a 10-yard TD pass to his tight end Jared Miller. Wes Bloeme's kick was good and Maryville recaptured the lead 33-28.
LaGrange drove deep into Scots territory before Daniel Robinson picked off a Craig pass and returned the play 28 yards to the LaGrange 42. It did break the momentum of the Panther offense, but MC could not capitalize missing a 22-yard field goal attempt.
As the third quarter wound down, Maryville held the nationally ranked offense of LaGrange scoreless. Going into the final stanza Maryville held on to a 33-28 advantage.
The Scots' defense held LaGrange to a three-and –out possession and looked to extend their lead. With the ball at mid-field, Maryville used a 28 yard pass from Pittenger to Johnson to get in scoring range. A 12-yard jaunt by Pittenger and a two-yard touchdown plunge by Felder put Maryville up 40-28 with Bloeme's kick.
With 11 minutes remaining, the MC defense had another key stand. LaGrange looked to score inside the six-minute mark before Robinson picked off his second pass of the day as the Panthers were looking to score. He dashed 59 yards down the sideline to stall their scoring attempt and put MC in scoring position.
Three plays later, Ed Johnson made an unbelievable catch in the end zone for a 16-yard score. Bloeme's kick made the score 47-28 and the visiting team and their fans were breathing a little easier with only five minutes remaining.
LaGrange answered quickly. An 80-yard strike from Craig to Marsalis Jackson and the conversion pulled the score to 47-35 with 3:57 remaining.
Maryville's defense rose to the occasion and the Scots offense ran out the clock to preserve the eight-point road win.
LaGrange (2-3, 2-1 USA South) totaled 477 total yards on 68 offensive plays. Marquius Young ran for 53 yards on 12 carries. Graham Craig was 25-for-44 for 395 passing yards and four TD passes, while tossing a pair of interceptions. Ervens Oge hauled in 10 passes for 141 yards while Josh Hardrick tallied seven receptions for 92 yards. Defensively, Scott Chewning and Jordan Chambers each had 10 total stops.
Maryville (5-1, 3-0 USA South) accumulated 552 total offensive yards. Quarterback Evan Pittenger gained 108 yards on the ground while connecting on 12-of-24 passes for an additional 255 yards. Travis Felder added 85 yards while Chad Brooks dashed for 53 yards. Ed Johnson was Pittenger's favorite target after bringing down five passes for 145 yards and a score. Blake Williams added four receptions for 71 yards. MC's defense held LaGrange to only 80 total yards rushing behind Dylan Wolfenbarger's eight tackles and five solo stops. Kendyhl Rodgers added six tackles while Jamie Owen and Jonathan Clark each posted five tackles. Owen recorded his league leading sixth sack of the season while Daniel Robinson finished with four tackles and his first two picks of his collegiate career.
Huntingdon will prepare to host Huntingdon next weekend and Maryville will travel to Christopher Newport University for a key USA South road challenge. The kick-off against the Captains is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start.