Maryville College opened the 2019 football campaign on Saturday afternoon against No. 16 Berry College, as the Vikings used a pair of late second-quarter touchdowns to pull away for a 31-10 final.
MC quarterback Nelson Smith threw for more than 130 yards, as the Scots tallied a trio of takeaways in Saturday's bout. However, five big plays by Berry – including a pair of 40-plus yard receptions – played a key role.
The Orange and Garnet's Bo Hering bolstered a pair of takeaways, including the Scots first interception of the year, while senior Ronald Eckles recovered two Viking fumbles on the day. Jeremy Hardnett and Hering each forced a fumble in MC's defensive efforts.
Haydn Tanner added six total tackles for the Scots' defensive unit. Senior Trenton Cumby added four tackles with a sack, while Hardnett had three tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Austin Smith and Blaine Miller had a half sack each, while Tre Chandler added a quarterback hurry.
Offensively, Maryville College was led by Smith, the sophomore quarterback. He went 15-for-23 on the day for 132 yards and a touchdown. Austin Burke posted 50 yards on a trio of catches, including a 30-yard touchdown from Smith.
In all, Maryville amassed 197 total yards, as the Scots won the battle of possession at 35:22. Eight penalties for 50 yards hindered MC on the afternoon.
Senior kicker Ian Hubbs was 1-for-1 in both field goals and extra points, as he booted a 32-yard try in the third quarter.
Berry College had 308 total yards, including a 209-yard effort through the air. Heath Burchfield led the way going 12-of-17 for 164 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Gavin Gray was 3-for-6 for 45 yards and a score, Mason Kinsey tallied 103 yards on seven catches for three scores.
T.J. Watkins had five catches for 85 yards, as Cade Kennemore added a touchdown with 29 yards on two receptions.
A.M. Harris had 10 tackles for the Vikings, while Brandon Palmer added nine. Berry had just one take away, while posting five tackles for loss.
Berry College (1-0) struck first in the game's opening drive. The Vikings used just four plays for 63 yards, as a Burchfield to Watkins pass covered 48 of those. Burchfield found Kinsey from 6 yards out, making the score 7-0 at the 12:55 mark.
Maryville (0-1) knotted the game early in the second quarter, however, as the Scots used a nine-play, 70-yard drive. MC chipped away at the Vikings, before a pair of big plays ended the drive. Smith found Burke for a 15-yard pass on third down, before going back to the fellow sophomore on the next play. Burke fought off a pass interference penalty, making the catch for his second career touchdown. Hubbs' extra point was good at the 14:19 mark for a 7-all score.
The Vikings answered late in the second quarter, however, as Berry pinned the Scots deep. Following a punt, Gray found Kinsey for a 44-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to give the Vikings at 14-7 advantage with 4:29 before the half.
After forcing another punt just before the half, Berry used just three plays to cover 52 yards. Burchfield found Watkins for a 22-yard pass, before he found Kinsey for a 30-yard touchdown. The Vikings would take a 21-7 lead at the half.
Berry took advantage of a nearly blocked punt early in the third quarter, as they took over at the Maryville 25-yard line. Burchfield found Cade Kennemore for the 25-yard score on the opening play of the drive, giving the Vikings a 28-7 lead at 13:08.
MC again went on a long drive to add their second score of the day. A 13-play, 55-yard drive that featured a Smith to Watkins pass for 14 yards and a Smith to Braden Cloyd pass for 11 eventually stalled at the Berry 14. Hubbs' centered the 32-yard field goal attempt at the 5:55 mark in the third for a 28-10 score.
Berry's Trey Gregory added a 36-yard field goal of his own at the 7:04 point in the fourth quarter to make the final, 31-10.
Maryville College will be on the road next week, as the Scots travel to Danville, Ky. MC is set to face No. 20 Centre College under the lights, as kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.
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