Mountaineers host top-ranked Rebels

Never let it be said Heritage doesn’t play a tough schedule.

The Mountaineers welcomed Class 5A top-ranked Farragut to Jack Renfro a week ago, the Admirals blowing it open in the third en quarter route to a 42-6 victory.

One week later, Heritage hosts its second No. 1 team in as many weeks as Class 4A’s top-ranked Maryville Rebels come calling on Friday. With Alcoa and William Blount off this week, the Mountaineers (1-1) and Rebels (3-0) have the stage all to themselves.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

The state’s longest winning streak is now a 63 games after Maryville dismissed Region 3-4A foe Clinton, 38-16, last week. Senior Thomas Shuler and junior Buddy Jones headline a strong backfield — one that pounded out 297 yards rushing a week ago — but it’s with quarterback Philip Juhlin Maryville opponents should be concerning themselves with of late.

Shuler ran for 72 yards on nine carries in last week’s romp. Jones added 55 on six rushes. Juhlin burned Clinton for 78 yards on just four carries, a stunning 19.5 yards per carry average. Juhlin is also proving a deadly accurate passer.

The Mountaineers must control the ball to stay in this one. For a half last week, it looked as if Heritage had the offense for just such a task.

Going often with three or more receivers, the Mountaineers spread the Admirals out sideline to sideline and forced Farragut to defend the whole field. Heritage quarterback Chase Boruff then kept Farragut guessing with some nifty ball fakes as backs Jordan Correll, Michael Cermak and Dallas Hill darted into the Admiral line for big gains.

It was 7-6 with five minutes to play in the half, at which point the Admirals solved the Mountaineer offense and revved their own. Heritage’s inability to keep Farragut honest defensively with a passing proved costly for the Mountaineers.

Boruff was a crisp 8-of-9 for 110 yards and two scores in the season opener with Seymour, a 19-0 Mountaineer win. The shutout was the first for Heritage since blanking the Rebels, 28-0, in 2000. Replicating that feat will be no easy task Friday.

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