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Rebels knock out Tribe, make state semifinals for 20th straight year

Jeff Birchfield • Nov 23, 2019 at 12:07 AM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett’s dream season came to an end at the hands of mighty Maryville on Friday night at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

The Indians, down by 14 points at halftime, saw the Rebels pull away for a 45-10 win in the TSSAA Class 6A football quarterfinals.

Maryville (13-0) reached the state semifinals for the 20th straight year. D-B (10-3) more than doubled its win total from last season and captured the Region 1-6A championship. The Indians posted their first season with double-digit wins since 2012, which also was the last time they reached the third round of the playoffs.

“They have such staying power and that says a lot about their program,” Tribe coach Joey Christian said of the Rebels. “But as we go through it next week, we will look fondly upon this season and a great group of 17 seniors who did a great job to change the culture. They showed phenomenal leadership and phenomenal commitment to this team and program.”

Maryville bulldozed its way into the next round. Often running behind the left side of its offensive line — where 300-pound left guard Tommy Ledford and tackle Mason Hobby thrived — the Rebels piled up 282 rushing yards.

Quarterback Cade Chambers ran seven times for 125 yards and two touchdowns and was 7-of-9 passing for 124 yards and two scores.


Dobyns-Bennett’s defense forced the Rebels into a three-and-out on their opening drive. The Indians took over and marched all the way to the Maryville 6, but a fumble derailed their progress.

Maryville took advantage with a play that saw a wide receiver pass from A.J. Davis to Ashton Maples go for 51 yards and a touchdown. Then on their next possession, the Rebels converted on fourth-and-3 when Chambers burst up the middle and went 14 yards untouched for a TD and a 14-0 lead.

The Tribe’s Jackson Martin took the ensuing kickoff to the Maryville 14, but a call for sideline interference moved the ball back to the 29. The Indians got their first points on the scoreboard on Jaden Alderson’s 40-yard field goal.

Maryville extended its lead on the next possession. Chambers hit a wide-open Davis for a 43-yard score and a 21-3 lead. The Indians answered when Zane Whitson faked a toss sweep and found a wide-open Rayshawn Simmons for a 47-yard touchdown.

The Rebels continued to pull out all the stops. Running back Tee Hodge threw the ball back to Chambers at the 9, but D-B defensive end Nate Whitley sniffed out the play and made the stop. Maryville settled for a 23-yard field goal and a 24-10 halftime lead.


Maryville gained further control when Hodge, a Tennessee commit, ran through a hole on the left side and went 10 yards for a TD and a 31-10 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter.

The Indians drove into Maryville territory on the next possession, but another fumble gave the ball back to the Rebels. Chambers made D-B pay with his 29-yard throw to the left side of the end zone where the athletic Maples outjumped the defender for the TD.

Chambers added the final score, a quarterback keeper on which he ran up the middle then raced down the left sideline 80 yards to the end zone.

Parker McGill and Hodge combined for 133 rushing yards for Maryville.


Whitson finished 8-of-16 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown and ended the year with 24 TD passes against only one interception.

Maryville shut down the D-B run game, holding the Indians to 17 rushing yards, but the Tribe compensated with the passing game. Dalton Harkleroad made five receptions for 59 yards and Ben McCluskey had two catches.

Simmons had a 47-yard kick return in addition to his touchdown catch.

“We had some doubters at the first of the season,” McCluskey said. “Not many people believed we could do what we knew we could do. You could see the work ethic of this team build and us come together as one. We had one goal in mind. I was proud of the way we fought, the way we fought tonight. I would stand with my brothers on this team any day of the week.”

The Indians left the field with more positives than negatives, defensive back Thomas Church noted.

“It’s emotional, but we came and we fought,” Church said. “As far as we made it, that was everything we could ask for. With our seniors, we’re losing a lot of guys who play key roles. But this gives us something to build on next season. It starts tomorrow with players hitting the gym, hitting the field to get better.”

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