Justin Price was intercepted four times last season.
Entering last Saturdays game with North Carolina Wesleyan College, the Maryville College quarterback had seen eight of his passes in 2006 find their way into the hands of opposing players. The Anderson County would twice be intercepted early against the Bishops. Maryville trailed Wesleyan, 24-3, with nine minutes remaining.
Not the best start when your jobs on the line, but, oh, how Price would rally.
The Maryville captain dove head first into the end zone to avoid a tackler for the 2-point conversion at the end of the fourth overtime, and the Scots (2-3) celebrated an improbable, 50-48 win in the USA South Athletic Conference contest.
The Scots 1-4 record had prompted Maryville coach Tony Ierulli
to consider changes among his starters, Price included.
Early last week, they sat down to talk.
"There were a lot of people whose job was on the line this week," Ierulli said. "Justin Price, his job was on the line, too. We had a little talk, and he stepped up."
Price roared to life to finish his afternoon that saw him finish
17-of-26 for 218 yards and a 39-yard touchdown pass to Harris Johnson.
Price would run for a pair of 1-yard scores in overtime. His 2-point
conversion run with two minutes to play in
regulation, also coming on a head-first dive into the end zone, forced overtime.
"It was a called toss sweep," Price said, "and it was one of those
plays where (offensive coordinator Ryan) Hansen gives me
that wink, and I keep it."
Saturdays heroics were a long time coming, the 2005 All-USA South Athletic Conference selection said. The talk with Ierulli was anything but acrimonious.
"I understood it," Price said. "I had to come out and show him I had something left in the tank."
The question now becomes what do the Scots as a team have left for the seasons second half. Maryville visits Ferrum (Va.) College this weekend for a game that could put the Scots back in the thick of the race for the Great Souths automatic playoff berth.
The Panthers routed the Scots, 56-34, last season in Maryville. Ferrum (1-3) enters Saturdays second-ever meeting between the two schools ranked second nationally in rushing offense with 370 yards per game. Running back Jermaine Pitts is averaging 154.8 yards per contest, fourth-best in Division III.
Price and his fellow Maryville seniors want badly to be the first collection of football Scots to advance to the Division III playoffs at seasons end. Grand though it was, a repeat of last Saturday this weekend is not the way to go, Ierulli said.
"When we were down, 24-3, when we got the ball back, I said, Its now or never," he said.
Saturday, those words could prove profound. Kickoff is 2 p.m.
Jennifer Seivers named player of the week
Maryville College junior Jennifer Seivers has been named Great South Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 30. Seivers was a standout in the Lady Scots last three matches, where Maryville defeated LaGrange, Spelman and Huntingdon colleges.
The Lady Scots were paced to the road sweep by Seivers 64 kills and 23 digs in 12 games. She averaged 5.33 kills per game while recording 5 blocks and 4 service aces. Also nominated for the accolade were Maryvilles Jenna Thorp and Ashley Burnett.
Maryville (16-8, 6-0 Great South) will travel Friday to Agnes Scott College.
Freshman Ryan Gaines earns USA South honor
Ryan Gaines, a freshman wide receiver from Old Hickory, has been named Football Offensive Rookie of the Week by the USA South Athletic Conference.
The transfer from Butler and All-State performer from Friendship Christian School hauled in five passes for 149 yards, including a touchdown, in the Scots 50-48, four-overtime victory over conference foe North Carolina Wesleyan. Gaines averaged 29.8 yards per reception and had a long catch of 79 yards. The Scots (2-3, 1-1 USA South) are next at Ferrum College. Maryville will challenge the Panthers during their homecoming festivities on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.
Soccer Scots rout Fisk
The scoring began early as Daniel Gomez was the first of six players to put one in the net, and the Maryville College mens soccer team routed Fisk, 7-0, on Tuesday. With four minutes gone in the first half, Gomez scored his second goal of the season.
Evan Giordano put home an assist from Jeremy Johnson not long after. To finish the first half, Robert Hudson hammered home his first of the season off of an assist from Alex Riviere.
The second half produced four more goals by the Scots. Riviere
finished with a goal and three assists. Mitchell Gray had two of the
four goals in the second half.