Having faced 11 overtimes in his eight year term, Maryville College football head coach Tony Ierulli is all too experienced in that field. In those 11 contests, the Scots have come out on top eight times.
“Personally, I’d like to get it done during regulation,” Ierulli said. “It’s just the way our team is made up. Every game is always a battle, and we usually don’t beat teams by a whole lot of points. It’s always to the nail. (The LaGrange Panthers last Saturday) tied it up at the very end and got us into overtime. We’ve been there many times before, and I think we’ve done it enough to know how to handle some situations.”
The Scots prevailed, 20-17, on Andrew Noboa’s 33-yard field at the end of the third overtime, sending Maryville into an off week on a high with the season’s first win.
“If you catch up at the very end to go to overtime, you’ve got very high adrenaline,” Ierulli said. “However, like this week’s game, they caught us at the very end. It’s very important what you say to your team after being caught in the very end, and now you’re going to overtime.
“A few years ago when that had happened, I did not approach the team correctly. I got onto them for allowing that to happen, and we ended up losing the ball game. It was the wrong approach to take.”
Now, Ierulli said he reminds the Scots they’ve been here many times, and that’s where Maryville’s advantage lies. It’s then, Ierulli said, the Scots are at their best.
“I feel like we’ve done it enough,” he said. “(The Scots) believe in it as well. Once we go into overtime, we like our chances.”
At one point Saturday, Maryville had four freshmen on the offensive line.
“I was extremely proud of our offensive line,” Ierulli said. “We had four freshmen on our offensive line, a freshman quarterback, a freshman running back and two freshman wide receivers out there playing. It’s just the way it’s happened throughout the year with injuries. We’ve had to have a lot of guys step up.”
Freshman quarterback Dustin Williams was 11-of-25 passing for 131 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ierulli said the Maryville rookie, pressed into service when senior and returning starter Tim Conner was lost for the year during preseason with a shoulder injury, is getting better everyday.
Williams connected with Travis Felder for 16 yards for Maryville’s first touchdown on the season, giving the Scots a 7-0 lead in the second half. Junior All-American receiver Wesley Idlette caught a 4-yard toss from Williams for a second score.
“He’s not where we’d like for him to be, but he’s just completed his third game as a freshman,” Ierulli said. “I’m happy that every week we see progress. He’s doing a better job of understanding our offense, and he’s making better throws.”
The Maryville coach even went so far as to say Williams had the play of the game.
“(The Panthers) had just scored a touchdown (in the first overtime), and he had just taken that sack on third down. Now, it’s fourth-and-15. The game is right there,” Ierulli said. “He finds Ryan Roach on a little seam route for about an 18-, 19-yard gain. If you watch that on tape, he throws a bullet. It was a perfect throw. If it was one foot in front, or one foot in back (of Roach), we probably wouldn’t have made that catch, but he threw a laser.
“That was a big time throw for a freshman.”
Williams found junior All-American receiver Wesley Idlette for a 4-yard score soon after to send the game to a second overtime.
The Scots return to action when they travel to Methodist College, Fayetteville, N.C., on Nov. 2. Maryville is next at home when it hosts Shenandoah University on Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m.