Maryville's Road To Murfreesboro

Alcoa at Alcoa W, 42-14

Sophomore Chris Jordan delivered an early thunderbolt, returning an Alcoa kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown only seconds after the Tornadoes had taken a 7-0 first-quarter lead. Tyler Clendenen had a smashing debut as Maryville’s new big-play receiver, finishing with 114 yards and a touchdown on just two catches. Quarterback Brent Burnette shot passes through the Tornado secondary to finish with 313 yards and the scoring toss to Clendenen. Receiver Stephen Shiver added a scoring pass to running back Thomas Shuler, a hookup repeated in dramatic fashion in the Class 4A state championship game 14 weeks later.

Clinton at Clinton W, 35-7

Burnette tore it up, completing 13 of his 17 passes for 187 yards and touchdown passes to Caleb Clement and Aaron Douglas. The Rebel defense limited Clinton to 114 yards of offense.

Heritage Home W, 42-6

The Rebels got rolling early in this one. Mark Young returned the opening kickoff 54 yards. Burnette hit Stephen Shiver for a score three plays later, and Maryville was in afterburner the rest of the night. Burnette was a super crisp, finishing 12-of-13 for 217 yards with touchdown passes to Clendenen, twice, Jordan and Shiver.

Powell Home W, 34-7

Shuler’s 55-yard scoring burst hinted at big things to come later in the year. The junior would finish with 90 yards on 11 carries, adding a second score on a 1-yard run. Burnette burned the Panthers for 234 yards with touchdown passes to Clendenen and Jordan. Powell averted the shutout with a score in the final period.

William Blount at William Blount W, 20-19

The Rebels and Governors staged an all-time classic in front of a Blount County record crowd well in excess of 14,000. They borrowed bleachers from Parks & Rec for this one, and the overflow still ringed the field six rows deep. Burnette threw for 270 yards and a third-quarter touchdown pass to Jordan. It was 6-6 at the half. Burnette, Douglas and Shuler struck for the play of the year with four minutes remaining, with Douglas lateralling a Burnette pass to an onrushing Shuler for a 30-yard touchdown strike. It proved the winning points when the Governors missed an extra point to tie on the ensuing series. The victory marked Maryville’s 50th consecutive win.

Central at Central W, 24-7

Senior Tim Rodrigues joined the Rebel backfield full-time in this one, a move that would pay greater and greater dividends as the season wore on. Rodrigues finished with 83 yards on nine carries, adding a 14-yard touchdown catch. Burnette would leave the game with an injured shoulder early in the fourth quarter, but not before taxing the Bobcats for 116 yards and a score. Jordan’s 56-yard interception returned for a score and Shuler’s 55-yard touchdown run helped Maryville remain unbeaten.

West Home W, 35-21

Burnette prevailed in a battle of quarterbacks, riddling West for 239 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-27 passing. West’s Jake Ryan, son of former NFL quarterback Pat Ryan, was 19-of-39 for 282 yards and two scores. Clendenen, twice, Rodrigues and Shiver each caught touchdown passes for the Rebels. Clendenen’s 60-yard, second-quarter punt return for a score lit Maryville’s engines as the Rebels clinched a playoff berth.

South-Doyle at South Doyle W, 38-0

The Cherokees scheduled the Rebels for homecoming. Not good. The Maryville front four of Justin Smith, Todd Hollingsworth, Joshua Cantwell and Brett Wadham pace a defense that pitches its first shutout of the season. Burnette throws for 262 yards with touchdown passes to Jordan and Douglas. Clendenen has four grabs for 90 yards.

Halls Home W, 38-30

Rodrigues and Shuler pounded 1-2 on the Red Devil defense to exhaust the final five minutes, and the Rebels clinched their seventh consecutive Region 3-4A crown. Proving it could hang on in the tough ones, Maryville got 230 yards and three scoring passes from Burnette. Shiver had one of his best nights of the season with six receptions for 103 yards and two scores. Douglas added the third scoring catch. Rodrigues and Shuler teamed for 180 yards rushing, including a pair of scoring runs from Rodrigues.

Lenoir City Home W, 34-7

The Rebels made it six undefeated regular seasons in a row in the rout of the Panthers. It was 28-0 at the half as Maryville also won its 66th consecutive regular season game. Clendenen had three grabs for 94 yards and two scores. Rodrigues, in an abbreviated night, averaged 14.5 yards per carry as the Rebels hit the playoffs going full force.

Rhea County Home W, 42-18

Rodrigues became the first Maryville back this season to rush for 100 yards in a game as the Rebels cruised in their Class 4A playoff opener. Rodrigues finished with 159 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, pacing a Maryville ground game that totaled 226 yards by the close of business. Burnette banged out another 221 yards through the air.

West Home W, 17-9

Knoxville’s Rebels gave a game effort. Having the other team’s quarterback chew up your defense 335 yards and two touchdowns, though, will do it to you every time. Burnette put up those numbers on 21-of-29 passing, breaking the school’s single-season record for yardage. Shiver and Clendenen both came away with interceptions as the Rebel defense carried the day. With West at the Maryville 20-yard line late, the Rebel secondary broke up four consecutive passes to seal victory.

Red Bank Home W, 52-20

The fastest-scoring team in football really outdid itself in a quarterfinal rematch from the year before. Maryville exploded for 14 points inside the last 1:28 of the half on touchdown catches from Douglas and Jordan. It went from 21-7 to 35-7 real fast. Burnette tied the school’s single-season touchdown record with his 33rd in pacing the romp. Shuler ran for 127 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

Sullivan South Home W, 48-21

This was it, the one we’d all been waiting for. In a matchup of Class 4A’s top two quarterbacks, Burnette was brilliant. The future Mr. Football threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Clendenen, as Burnette out dueled co-Mr. Football finalist Curt Phillips. Key for Maryville was a dominating performance by junior Justin Smith at defensive end, making life miserable for Phillips. Shuler had his second 100-yard rushing night in as many games, finishing with 157 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

Maplewood Murfreesboro W, 28-13

It had it all. Burnette was superb under fire, throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns in being named BlueCross Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player. Shuler had his third consecutive 100-yard game out of the backfield, carrying 21 times for 116 yards and a score. Three Rebels — Rodrigues, Douglas and Jordan — had better than 60 yards receiving. Linebackers Luke Cox and Jeffery Booker, Shiver, at safety, and down linemen Zach Mobius and Smith led a Rebel defense that shut out Maplewood in the second half.

And then, there was one more from the master.

With Maryville holding to a 21-13 lead with two minutes to play in the third, Rebel coach George Quarles called for a lateral from Burnette to Shiver, who turned and fired to a wide open Shuler 30 yards down the opposite sideline for the score.

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