When Maryville’s Rebels take the field Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Alcoa’s Goddard Field, the men in black will have four solid playmakers taking the handoffs.
A storied position in Maryville football history that’s produced the likes of Blondie Law, Danny Spradlin, Michael Potter, Jason Hicks, Ryan Tallent and Carl Stewart has always been important to Rebel coaches. Despite the long list of legends, this year’s crop, as a group, may be the best ever.
“Shawn is going to be the one-back guy when we do that,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “You got Trenton. You got Jacob. We are going to work Dylan in there when we can because he does some things really well. All of those guys bring something a little different to the table, and we need some diversity, which is only going to make us a better team.”
When Shawn Prevo stepped onto Shields Stadium last Saturday versus Webb to begin his sophomore campaign, many people expected to see a show. And boy, did they get one. The dazzling and nifty halfback torched the Spartans, rushing for 153 yards on 20 carries. The end result, with the Rebel defense shutting down Webb’s vaunted wing-T running game, was a convincing, 30-7 Maryville victory.
“The line is a veteran offensive line,” Prevo said. “They leave open holes, and I just find them. I didn’t know I was going to receive that much workload, but, with the carries I received, I felt like I did my job well.”
Prevo will definitely be the featured back for the Rebels this season, but, unfortunately for opponents, he is only one head on this four-headed monster.
After Trenton Shuler was added as the primary feature in two-back formations, many were surprised by the move. The junior’s performance this past weekend showed it was the right move. Shuler overcame a couple of early fumbles and established himself as a reliable run blocker and a consistent complement to Prevo’s speed.
Shuler (26 yards) and quarterback Patton Robinette (37 yards) were part of a Maryville backfield that racked up 266 yards rushing against the Spartans.
For Shuler, it was strong showing for a player making his first varsity start. Then there’s the kid.
When you say Dylan Shinksy’s name to the average Maryville football fan, the response is probably, “Who is that?” It won’t be that way for very long.
Shinsky wasn’t listed on the season’s first roster and doesn’t stand out in a crowd in terms of size, but the relatively unknown freshman is changing that fast. In his high school debut, Shinksy got only one carry in the victory over Webb, but he made the most of it, scampering in on a 2-yard touchdown run.
“I looked for a quick cutback, and it was there,” Shinksy said. “After the play, Jay Guillermo picked me up, which was pretty cool.”
Even taking the field proved a memorable experience for the former Maryville Middle star.
“How we came through the stands was cool,” he said. “Overall, the environment was pretty sweet.”
No matter which championship winning coach you talk to, all will say their team’s success was greatly impacted by the presence of that one veteran leader. It doesn’t matter what position or how much playing time he receives. He gets his message across through his actions, not words.
This year’s Rebel backfield has one those. Jacob West’s primary focus for the 2011 will be defense, but the multi-purpose senior is just too valuable to keep out of the backfield full-time. His number of carries might go down from a year ago, but Quarles said he’ll rely heavily on West to provide leadership to the running game’s young, emerging stars. If you need him to carry the ball, he is pretty good at that, too.
“Jacob’s an outstanding football player and a great leader,” Quarles said. “You can put him anywhere, and he will be successful.”
“Two’s company; three’s a crowd,” the saying goes. Whoever said that definitely hadn’t seen Maryville play this season.