MONTGOMERY, Ala. (release) -- The Maryville College Fighting Scots could not pull off a season opening road victory as the decided underdog, but sent a clear message that they will battle with each competitor on the 2012 schedule. Huntingdon College rallied in the final minute of the game to break a 33-33 tie to claim a 49-33 win. It is the Hawks’ sixth win over the Scots since beginning their rivalry in 2004.
The Hawks got on the scoreboard first when Trevor Manuel capped an eight play, 45 yard drive with a one-yard scoring plunge. David Ballard’s kick made the score 7-0 within the first two minutes. Maryville answered right away with a six play, 76 yard drive. Eric Sisson connected with Blake Williams for a 24 yard scoring strike. MC’s PAT failed and the score stood at 7-6 with less than four minutes gone off the game clock.
The Scots would take the lead at the end of the first quarter, when a trick play finished off a two-play scoring drive. Blake Williams took a toss and promptly stepped back to connect with quarterback Evan Pittenger for a 27 yard touchdown pass with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter. Maryville’s two-point conversion failed and the Scots went into the second quarter with a 12-7 advantage.
Huntingdon took the ball early in the second quarter and marched down the field in an eight play, 81-yard drive that ate up over three minutes of the clock. Manuel completed the scoring drive with a one-yard dash. The PAT failed and Huntingdon claimed a narrow 13-12 lead. The Hawks took advantage of a short field and crossed the end zone once again when Manuel scampered 11 yards to finish off a three play scoring drive. The conversion failed and Huntingdon led 19-12 with nine minutes remaining before the half.
Maryville would capitalize off a Huntingdon miscue and drive 42 yards on six plays in just under three minutes. William once again hauled in a pass from Sisson from 28 yards out. Dylan Miller’s kick was good and MC had tied the game 19-19.
Just before the half, Huntingdon’s Neal Posey found Del Green in the end zone for a touchdown pass. As Ballard’s kick sailed through the uprights, Huntingdon would take a 26-19 lead to the locker room.
The third quarter was a stale mate and battle for field possession. Neither team dented the scoreboard, but MC was in great position once the final quarter was set to begin.
With excellent field possession, Maryville marched 41 yards in eight plays. Pittenger hit Williams from six yards out. Miller’s kick tied the game at 26-26 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
Huntingdon changed the momentum with a 57 yard punt return for a touchdown by Tyler Robinson with just under six minutes remaining. Ballard’s kick gave Huntingdon a 33-26 advantage.
Maryville would not be denied. The Fighting Scots rallied for a demanding eight-play, 68 yard scoring drive. MC sophomore E.J. Hunt crossed the goal line with a one-yard score. Miller’s kick tied the game with three minutes left in regulation.
Huntingdon claimed the victory with a 2:21 minute drive of 68 yards when Posey connected with Robinson from 14 yards away. Ballard’s kick made the score 40-33.
A third down fumble by the Scots forced them to take a safety with seven seconds remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, an on-side kick was gathered by Huntingdon’s Tyler Hall and he marched 28 yards for the final score.
MC’s Eric Sisson finished the day 15-26 for 192 passing yards, connecting for a pair of touchdowns. He also averaged 6.3 yards a carry in leading the Scots in rushing with 57 yards on nine carries. Evan Pittenger was 6-12 via the air for 56 passing yards in his Scots debut. Blake Williams was Maryville’s top receiver. He hauled in three touchdowns on six receptions. Ed Johnson added six catches for 90 yards.
Defensively, Andrew Jenkins pulled down an interception and returned it 19 yards. Dylan Wolfenbarger forced a fumble and paced the defense with 10 total tackles including five solo stops. Zack Brown and Kane Crowell each added eight tackles while Brown also forced a fumble.
“We know there are no moral victories, but I am extremely proud of how our team battled and played with heart in a hostile environment,” stated first year head Mike Rader. “We can look at the film and see where we will need to go to clean up our performance for our Emory & Henry challenge next week.”
Maryville (0-1) will host Emory & Henry College for the first time since 2000 on Saturday, September 8th. MC will celebrate and honor former head coach Phil Wilks before the challenge set to begin at 1:30 on MC’s Honaker Field.