The Maryville College Fighting Scots used a 211 yard rushing effort from junior Travis Felder and a school record five field goals from senior Jonathan Sykes to claim their sixth win of the season with a 22-17 victory at Ferrum College on Saturday afternoon.
Head Coach Mike Rader led his squad in his first season to Maryville's first winning season since 2007. MC finished the year 6-4 with a 5-2 record in the USA South, their highest finish since joining the league in 2005.
The Scots sent a message on their first drive of the road challenge. A pair 22 yard rushes by Felder put MC is striking distance. Sykes completed the 12 play, 67 yard drive with a 25 yard field goal.
Leading 3-0, Ferrum did not allow the Scots to enjoy their lead for long. On their first possession, Tim Reynolds exploded for a 68 yard scoring scamper in only the Panther's second play from scrimmage. Scott Puschell's kick gave Ferrum a 7-3 advantage with 9:10 remaining in the first quarter.
In a game of adversity and adjustments, MC's defense stepped up and answered any and all challenge for the next 45 minutes.
On the ensuing drive MC's defense forced Ferrum to punt and Tony Gill recovered a Panther fumble to give the Scots the ball on the 25 yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Eric Sisson connected with Jared Miller in the back of the end zone for a nine yard score. Sykes' kick gave MC a 10-7 lead
The Panthers looked to answer as the first quarter was set to end. A ten play, 53 yard drive that featured a 29 yard run by Jericho James stalled at the Scots' 12 yard line. Key tackles by Joshua Krebs and Jonathan Clark forced Ferrum to kick a 29 yard field goal. With two minutes left in the quarter, the score was tied at 10-10.
MC's Terrell Warren returned the kickoff 28 yards to start Maryville's next drive. Key completions to Ed Johnson and Tim Foster put the Scots on Ferrum's 33 yard line. As the clock expired, Travis Felder dashed 21 yards to put MC on the Panther's door step.
The second quarter began with a 26 yard field goal by MC's Sykes. The seven play drive went wide right and both defenses dominated the second quarter of action. Maryville's defense forced Ferrum to a failed field goal attempt of 45 yards and a pair of punts.
MC's last drive of the half set their momentum for the second half. An 18 yard burst by Felder, a 13 yard catch by Jared Miller, and a pair of catches by Ed Johnson for a combined 20 yards put MC on the Panther's 11 yard line. As the clock wound down toward intermission, Sykes deposited a 28 yarder between the uprights for a 13-10 halftime advantage.
MC's defense knew they had to set the tone on Ferrums' first drive of the second half. Their nine play, 46 yard drive resulted in another missed field goal. A pair of punts gave Maryville the ball on their own 19 yard line. A nine play scoring threat by the Scots was turned away when Raymond Hines picked off Sisson in the end zone.
The Scots' defense forced Ferrum to three plays and a punt. Ed Johnson returned the kick 29 yards . A penalty on the play gave MC the ball on Ferrum's 42 yard line. As the scoreless third quarter was set to close an Eric Sisson run put Jonathan Sykes in range for another field goal.
With 15:00 left in the game, Sykes's connected on a 46 yard field goal, the third longest in MC's 119 year history to give Maryville a 16-10 lead.
Maryville's defense forced Ferrum to punt and turn the ball over on downs in their next pair of possessions while Sykes continued to cap MC drives with 34 and 35 yard field goals to expand the Scots' lead to 22-10.
With 3:16 remaining in the game, Ferrum marched 50 yards on eight plays. Reynolds found Derrick West in the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass. Puschell's kick made the score 22-17.
The ensuing on-side kick was recovered by Tim Foster and MC enjoyed the victory formation to expire the clock.
Ferrum (7-3, 5-2 USA South) was paced by Tim Reynolds' 112 yards rushing on 12 carries. Jericho James added 70 yards on 11 attempts. Reynolds was 14-for-24 for 145 passing yards. Tyler Brubaker was his favorite target with six receptions for 49 yards. Marco McNeal led Ferrum's defense with a dozen tackles. Lynwood Pickett added nine total stops including a pair of tackles for a loss.
Maryville (6-4, 5-2 USA South) saw Travis Felder complete the 4th best rushing day in MC history with 211 yards on 24 carries. Quarterback Eric Sisson added 74 rushing yards while going 15-for-31 via the air for 175 passing yards. Ed Johnson was his most consistent target hauling in seven passes for 86 yards. Jonathan Sykes finished the day 5-for-6 in field goals while adding an extra point. Defensively, the league's top tackler Dylan Wolfenbarger had 13 total tackles. He finished the season with 135 total tackles, the second most in any season by a Fighting Scot. Gabe Johnson and Kane Crowell added seven stops each while Zach Capehart tallied six stops from his interior line position.
"I am extremely proud and happy for the kids in the program," stated first year head coach Mike Rader. "Our defense kept us in every game this season. This Ferrum offense is special and Coach Brummett, Coach Gaines, Coach Harris and their staff did an unbelievable job against one of the best offenses we faced all season. Jonathan Sykes really stepped up today and we are proud on how hard he has worked to learn the game and develop as a player."
"Tonight we become the biggest Methodist fans in the country," stated Coach Rader. If the Monarchs defeat the Captains of Christopher Newport, Maryville will share the conference title with Ferrum and CNU. CNU would earn the NCAA bid due to their head-to-head victories over the Scots and Panthers.