rushing yards as MC improves to 2-1 in conference play
Maryville College used a strong defensive effort that limited Ferrum’s nationally-ranked offense that averaged 407 yards per game to only 261 yards, and freshman Rommel Hightower earned every one of his 111 yards rushing to defeat the Panthers 20-14 in Ferrum, Virginia.
Maryville started the game like it had no idea how to stop Ferrum’s Wing T, option attack. The Panthers marched down the field on their first possession scoring on a seven play, 80-yard drive. Five running plays and one pass led to Jacob Hawkins scampering 14 yards for the score. Clint Slappey kicked the point after and Ferrum led 7-0.
The Scots showed their resiliency answering in their first possession. MC marched down the field for an 11-play, 49 yard drive. Stalled by a penalty, the Scots used a Brad Daniel 30-yard field goal to get on the board 7-3.
Maryville’s defense made the necessary adjustments and forced Ferrum to punt during their second possession.
Following a 24-yard return by Dustin Locke, MC’s offense stalled. Punter Andy Ottolini did an outstanding job pinning the Panthers back on their own 12 yard line.
The Panthers were out of sinc and posted two consecutive penalties. A Panther fumble followed and All-American Colby Townsend recovered the ball on the Ferrum 5-yard line.
MC used three plays, but Rommel Hightower pushed the pile back from three yards out for the Scots score. Brad Daniel added the point after and Maryville took the lead with 14:12 remaining in the second quarter 10-7.
The Scots felt momentum was on their side and proved it by being successful on an on-side kick. Garrett Meyer fell on the kick and the Scots had the ball on the Ferrum 44 yard line.
The offense did not take advantage, but Ottolini once again pinned the Panthers deep on their 15 yard line.
Maryville’s defense would attack the Wing-T once again. Colby Townsend recorded a tackle, a caused fumble, and a fumble recovery on the next play and MC had the ball again in Ferrum territory.
A series of short runs put Maryville as close as the Ferrum 5-yard line, but penalties stalled another drive. Daniel hit a field goal from 24-yards out and MC would lead 13-7 with 6:27 remaining before the half.
Ferrum would answer in their next possession. MC’s defense held the Panthers to 24 yards on seven plays. Penalties on Ferrum forced them into a third down and 17 yard scenario, but on the 8th play Maryville’s safety fell down and Jermaine Pitts hit Winston Johnson for a 54-yard touchdown strike. The kick was good and Ferrum took the lead 14-13.
Maryville quickly advanced the ball all the way down to the Panther’s 4-yard line, but time expired. The Panthers took the lead to the locker room 14-13.
Ferrum kicked to the Scots and Maryville’s offense was successful on the ground and in the air. Swing passes to Hightower and a key 2nd down conversion to Harrison Johnson allowed MC to continue their drive. Following nine plays and 65 yards, Maryville’s Hightower followed the key block of Josh Conner into the end zone from six yards out. Daniel hit the PAT and Maryville led 20-14.
The Panthers next possession was key. After Jermaine Pitts, the nation’s #4 leading rusher earned two solid long runs from scrimmage, Maryville’s Calvin Rutgerson and Kyle Lofty stopped the Panthers on downs in Maryville territory.
On a consistent basis after Ferrum’s first drive, Maryville forced the Panthers to get away from the things they do best.
The Scots missed two field goals in the second half that would have sealed the victory, but the stingy defense rose to every occasion.
With 6:00 remaining in the contest, Ferrum was driving down to the Scots 27-yard line. Russ Harris with outside pressure from J.R. Geld and Scott Stevens threw Pitts for a loss and the Scots would run out the clock.
Ferrum (1-4, 1-2 USA South) was paced by Jacob Hawkins and his 60-yards rushing. Jermaine Pitts ran for 55 yards and was 5-10 passing for 116 yards.
Maryville (3-3, 2-1 USA South) was led by Rommel Hightower who rushed 24 times for 111 yards. Justin price had 72 yards on the ground and was 7-13 for 94 yards in the air. Harrison Johnson and Ryan Gaines were Price’s favorite targets.
The Scots will return to action this Saturday, October 14. Homecoming activities will welcome conference foe Christopher Newport University to Honaker Field. The Captains won today 28-0 over Greensboro. Kick-off is slated for 1:30 p.m.