Football: Maryville turns back Panthers' fourth quarter rally

Photo by Corey Hammett
Photo by Corey Hammett

Maryville turned back a fourth quarter rally to down LaGrange 30-19 at Callaway Stadium on Saturday in a USA South game. 

"I was really proud of how hard our guys played. We had some chances early in the game that I talked about with the guys about how we have to jump on those," Coach Matt Mumme said. "I was disappointed with some calls that took it away from our guys, but we love our players and the hard work they put in every day."

The Panthers (3-5, 1-4 USA South) trailed 30-13 after Elijah Chenier scored his second touchdown of the game to put the Scots (7-1, 5-0 USA South) up 30-13 midway through the fourth quarter. Chenier ran for 233 yards in the game, his second straight 200 plus rushing yards game.

The Panthers answered with a 9-play 65-yard scoring drive. They converted on fourth down twice in the drive. Lord Smith got 5 yards on a fourth-and-two at the LC 43. Faced with fourth-and-four at the Scots' 36, Kiontai Button made a diving catch in the end zone of Connor Blair's pass to make it 30-19 after the two-point conversion failed with 3:47 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers executed the on-side kick to perfection, with Lavell Meeks recovering the ball all the way down at the Maryville 31.

Aided by a pass interference call and a 9-yard run by Blair the Panthers were at the Scots' 7-yard line facing second down. But a penalty and two incomplete passes stalled the drive and the Scots took over and ran out the clock.

In the first half, both teams missed short field goals and the Panthers had a potential big pass play end when Marsalis Jackson got behind the secondary but could not pull in Blair's pass.

After Nick Myers 10-yard run put Maryville up 7-0 in the second quarter, the Panthers came back with a 70-yard scoring play in just six plays. 

Blair ran for 15 yards on the first play and an 18-yard run from Drew Lewiski got the Panthers down to the Scots' 30-yard line. Two plays later, Blair hit Josh Hardrick in the end zone from 16 yards out to tie the game 7-7.

Maryville scored with nine seconds left to take a 14-7 halftime lead. After a Scots' field goal, Blair hooked up with Jackson on a short 7-yard score to make it 17-13. The touchdown made Jackson the school's career leader with 26.

The Panthers play at N.C. Wesleyan next Saturday in a USA South game. They close out the season with Senior Day against Methodist on Nov. 12.