MARYVILLE - The Maryville Red Rebels are the kings of Tennessee high school football.
49 consecutive wins.
A 102-6 win-loss record this decade.
Seven state championships in nine seasons.
There's no doubt the Rebels have ruled their domain with unprecedented dominance. They've also owned their backyard, posting 20 straight victories over Blount County rivals Alcoa, Heritage, and William Blount.
But the last team on that list -- the William Blount Governors -- is ready to break the Rebels' sustained string of success. They're 4-0 in one of the state's most difficult 5A regions, and they've convincingly beaten perennial powers Dobyns Bennett and Ooltewah already this season. Now they host the rival Rebels, who have outscored them 157-40 the last four times the teams have played.
The Governors have beaten Maryville only once in the teams' last 13 meetings, back in 1999, by one point. The team's early success has fans hoping this could be the year the Govs foil their foes to the north.
"Not very many times since I've been here have people been buying pre tickets and so forth," said William Blount coach Scott Meadows. "That's unusual."
"I can't wait for them to come here," said Governors quarterback Tyler Burstrom. "The school is talking about it. It's a big week. A lot of hype.
Maryville coach George Quarles hasn't lost since 2003, but he knows his team will fall sometime.
"You always want to see how you handle adversity, but we're not had to handle a loss," Quarles said. "Hopefully we won't, but at some point it's all gonna end."
And if the Rebels' streak ends Friday against William Blount?
"I think it puts us on the map," Burstrom said.
"They'd love to do it," said Maryville senior Caleb Clement, who has not lost a game in his high school career. "Everyone wants to beat us. It'd be a big deal."
William Blount, however, is not focused on snapping the Rebels' streak.
"We're doing what we have to do to go to 5-0 and not make them 49-1," Meadows said.
Throw out any number you like -- the 49 straight wins, three straight championships, or seven straight victories over the Govs. Regardless, there is no question that Maryville's unquestioned dominance will be seriously questioned Friday night at William Blount.
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