It took a little trickery, but the Scots got the treat.
Maryville's Evan Pittenger faked the handoff perfectly. The senior dropped back in the pocket, finding Mario Williams for a 50-yard touchdown pass to complete a thrilling 38-31 come-from-behind victory over LaGrange College on Saturday.
The Scots now hold their own destiny.
Maryville scored 24 fourth-quarter points, earning the chance to face off with Huntingdon College next week for what appears to the USA South Conference Championship game.
"Our guys have waited for this. It's that simple," Head Coach Shaun Hayes said.
The Hawks defeated Greensboro this week, 40-20, while holding an unblemished 5-0 record in conference play.
However, first, the Scots had to get past LaGrange.
Trailing 28-14 going into the final stanza, things looked bleak as Connor Blair was picking the Scots apart. The sophomore quarterback threw 35-of-55 for 360 yards and three touchdowns after finished the first half going 20-of-22.
"It looks like on third down, they were 10-of-19," Hayes said. "I felt like they were perfect. We could never get them off the field…Connor Blair is a very good football player, and he's very well coached. In the second half, I thought our guys stepped up. We challenged them, and they arose to the occasion. We knew if we could get to him, we could cause trouble, but his size, he's just so hard to bring down. I walked into the locker room and challenged them, 'If we don't get to him, we won't win this football game.' Zach Capehart stood up and said, 'He's exactly right.' It's great when you have guys like that."
Capehart led the squad, as Maryville's defensive line showed up the second half, forcing nine quarterback hurries, four sacks and 11 tackles for loss in order to shake the sophomore.
The senior defensive tackle had three tackles that included a pair of sacks for 15 yards and four quarterback hurries.
In all, Maryville held LaGrange to only 8 yards on 20 carries on the afternoon.
Offensively for the Scots, it was Deshjion Whitlock who posted 141 yards on 22 carries for three scores.
Pittenger was 13-of-25 for 130 yards and a score, while counterpart Nick Myers went 3-of-7 for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Mario Williams had 115 yards on eight receptions including the game-winning touchdown, while adding in 114 yards in returns with a long of 58. Michael Smith tallied five catches for 32 yards and a score.
LaGrange College (2-5, 2-2 USAS) scored first, taking advantage of a Maryville interception. Blair connected with Nick Searcy for the 5-yard score to cap a six-play, 50-yard drive. The Panthers led 7-0, with 11:15 left in the first quarter.
Maryville (7-1, 4-1) would need only seven plays to cover 51 yards, as Whitlock rolled in 28. The sophomore back posted Maryville first score of the game behind an 8-yard run behind Logan Winders for a 7-all score at the 8:40 point.
LaGrange again took advantage of Maryville miscues, as the Scots jumped offsides on a punt, giving the Panthers new life. Blair again completed the drive, this time with a 6-yard toss to Lavell Meeks with 2:02 left in the first quarter. The 14-play, 73-yard drive gave LaGrange a 14-7 advantage.
Maryville would go slow and methodical, however, putting together an impressive 17-play, 66-yard drive that took 7:12 off the clock. Whitlock would find his second score of the afternoon with a 1-yard run, knotting the game at 14-all with 3:52 before the half.
However, the Panthers would take a lead to the locker room, as Jamarks Holmes found a 30-yard rushing touchdown. Maryville had stopped the back, as the pile began to move at the 25-yard line. Holmes busted out the far side, going the final yards untouched. The run gave LaGrange a 21-14 lead at the break.
The Panthers would extend that lead in the third quarter, as Blair found his third score of the day. The sophomore found Ervens Oge from 4 yards out to complete a six-play, 68-yard drive. LaGrange held a commanding lead, 28-14, with 1:37 left before the fourth quarter.
However, that's when Maryville would strike. Myers found Smith in the corner of the end zone from 9 yards out, only 35 seconds into the final stanza. The pulled Maryville to within a touchdown, 28-21.
Zack Kudwa would add life to the Panthers behind a 28-yard field goal with 8:07 left in the game, but Maryville's Kyle Bennett would outdo the feat, clearing a 34-yarder in the Scots' next drive. The 5:34 left, the Scots trailed 31-24.
At the 2:43 mark, Maryville would not the game. Whitlock found his third score of the day, this time from 6 yards, as Maryville finished a four-play, 59-yard drive in only 52 seconds.
Maryville's Gabe Johnson would pick off Blair, as the Panthers tried to strike back, giving the Scots the ball on their own 31-yard line. Pittenger rushed for 8 yards, before Whitlock added another 11. That's when Pittengers Halloween trickery paid off. The senior faked the handoff, finding Williams in stride down the center of the field for the 38-31 victory.
The rivalry showdown for next week – Maryville vs. Huntingdon – is set to kick off at 1:00 p.m. central time, 2:00 p.m. estern.