For the first time since 2008, Bearden and Maryville did not meet up during the regular season, but after beating Morristown West, Bearden will now play the 15-time state champions in the first round of the Class 6A State Playoffs.
After a strong defensive and offensive performance last Friday, Bearden is confident in their ability to take down the 9-1 Rebels.
Bearden’s rushing game was at peak performance, with junior running back DJ Cox picking up a career high 232 rushing yards and one touchdown. Senior Sam Coffin joined Cox in picking up a touchdown, along with 88 rushing yards.
After these impressive numbers, offensive coordinator Paul Shelton believes that his team’s confidence will help them in getting a win.
“We have respect for Maryville, we think they’re good, but at the end of the day I think our kids aren’t intimidated at all,” Coach Shelton said. “Mentally and emotionally, I think our kids are prepared; it’s just going out there and physically doing it.”
The last few matchups against Maryville haven’t gone Bearden’s way, with Maryville winning the last three games by an average of 37 points, but Coach Shelton and his team will look to improve upon past mistakes to get a win this year.
“We need to make sure we take care of every mistake we’ve made,” Coach Shelton said. “We need to play a clean game; we can’t play behind the sticks.
“At the end of the day, the main thing we’re really focusing on are three keys: we have to play with the most energy, play with the most effort, and make sure we stay on schedule.”
Kickoff for the game tonight will be at 7 p.m. at Maryville.
Sophomore quarterback Collin Ironside thinks if his offense can play with energy, they can get the win.
“In order to beat Maryville, the offense is going to have to play with a ton of energy, effort, and aggression,” Ironside said. “We need to execute well, which includes not turning the ball over and putting up points in the board every opportunity we get.”
Senior receiver Jake Klenck is on the same page as his quarterback.
“I think the most important thing is that we play as a team, make it a total team effort, do what we’ve been preparing to do all week,” Klenck said. “If we play with a lot of energy and a lot of effort, I think we’ve got a pretty good chance of winning.”