The Huntingdon Hawks clinched the USA South Athletic Conference crown on Saturday afternoon, as they knocked off Maryville College, 38-14, in the Battle for First Place.
Maryville had five turnovers – three interceptions, a fumble and a turnover on downs – stalling the Scots' offense multiple times within the red zone.
The loss ends Maryville's hopes at an NCAA Playoff berth this season, as Maryville moves to 2-9 all-time versus Huntingdon College. The last time Maryville downed the Hawks came in 2007.
Huntingdon quarterback Luke Bailey had a huge day, accounting for each of the Hawks' five touchdowns. Bailey completed 19-of-25 passes for 256 yards and four scores, while rushing for 31 yards on 13 carries and an additional touchdown.
For Maryville, it was Deshjion Whitlock that scored both of the Scots' scores, as the sophomore matched his career high with 142 yards rushing on 22 carries. Whitlock matched the total he set in a Sept. 6, 2014 game against Berry College, when he rushed for 142 on 16 carries for a touchdown.
Mario Williams led Maryville's receiving corps with eight catches for 113 total yards. The freshman also had 127 yards on five kickoff returns including a 35-yard return.
Maryville (7-2, 4-2 USA South) looked as if they would strike fast, as Pittenger found Michael Smith for a 49-yard pass. Huntingdon would slow the Scots, forcing Maryville to try a 41-yard field goal attempt. Kyle Bennett's kick sailed wide left, as the score remained 0-0 with 12:19 remaining in the first.
Huntingdon (8-1, 6-0) would put together a 12-play, 76-yard drive that would give the Hawks their first score. Luke Baily would rush the final 11 yards to find pay dirt, as the Hawks led 7-0 with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
A holding penalty helped the Scots, as Kent Minor picked up a huge stop on third down. The stop forced the Hawks to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Chase Young, as Huntingdon led 10-0 with 9:44 left in the second quarter.
A fumbled punt by the Scots put the Hawks in scoring position, again. The Hawks took over at the Maryville 27-yard line, needing only two plays and 46 seconds. Bailey found a wide open Blake Malter for a 27-yard touchdown pass, as the Hawks led 17-0 with 3:08 remaining in the first half.
Maryville was threatening with only 20 second left in the first half, but an interception by Brendon Brown stops the drive. The Hawks would kneel, taking a 17-0 lead to the locker room.
The Hawks took the opening kickoff of the second half, taking more than six minutes off the clock. Huntingdon marched 83 yards in 13 plays, before Bailey found Nick Haas across the middle on third-and-goal for a 6-yard score. With 8:58 left in the third quarter, Maryville trailed 24-0.
After a long return by Mario Williams, the Scots took over at the 50-yard line. The Scots went 36 yards in only nine plays, but Maryville stalled on the 14-yard line. Bennett's 31-yard attempt sailed wide left, leaving the score at 24-0 with 5:59 remaining in the third.
Maryville put together an 10-play, 79-yard drive to reach the Huntingdon College 3-yard line. The play ended when A. Washington stepped in front of Pittenger's pass in the end zone. At the end of the third quarter, Maryville trailed 24-0.
Huntingdon found their fifth score of the day with 11:56 left in the game. Bailey connected with Willie Coleman for a wide open 56-yard touchdown pass. The play completed a seven-play, 80-yard drive that gave Huntingdon a 31-0 lead over the Scots.
Maryville's Whitlock finally put the Scots on the board with 8:02 left in the game. Whitlock completed a 13-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard jaunt up the middle. Maryville trailed Huntingdon, 31-7 late in the game.
Huntingdon would score again, though, putting the game out of reach for good. The Hawks posted a six-play, 43-yard drive after Maryville's onside kick attempt. Bailey found Haas for the quarterback's fifth touchdown of the day, fourth through the air. The 29-yard pass gave Huntingdon a 38-7 lead with 5:01 left in the contest.
Maryville got their second score with 1:47 left in the game. Whitlock rushed for his second score of the day, this time from 7 yards out. The touchdown made the final score, 38-14, in favor of the Hawks.
Maryville will host Greensboro College next Saturday, as the Scots celebrate Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.