Maryville Rebels Cage Panthers

It's been that kind of year for Lenoir City. Only one win in 10 games. Two weeks ago they took region rival South Doyle to overtime, only to lose in the end.

To add insult to injury, the one night that was supposed to be special for their seniors, not only do they play the undefeated Maryville Rebels, but it rained enough to start Moses to gathering two by two.

Tyler Maples got all of his 90 yards and 1 score on one play, the Rebels cruised to a 35-0 halftime lead, and the rest as they say, was history. Rebels 35-0.

Looking Ahead

To find any semblance of a speed bump in the Maryville Rebel football program's super highway, you'd have to travel back to 1996. That was the last time the Rebels had a sub par season, by their standards, at 5-5.

Since then, the Rebels have won 6 out of the last 9 state championships in 4A and won the last two in a row. They've amassed a 122-12 record. Since Coach George Quarles took over in 1999, the Rebs have only lost 9 games and have one loss in the last 4 years. They've been the Region 3, 4A and East Bracket representative in Murfreesboro 7 out of the last 9 years.

That and 10 inches of rain is what the Lenoir City Panthers were looking dead in the eyes last Friday night and that's what each team the Rebels face in the playoffs have to look forward to.

The Rebels draw the Chattanooga Brainerd Panthers (4-6 )in Round 1. If they get past Round 1, they will face either the Rhea County Eagles or the Knox Central Bobcats in Round 2.

Possible Round 3 opponents include the Cleveland Blue Raiders, Knox West Rebels or Chattanooga Red Bank Lions. The Powell Panthers would also be a dark horse possibility for Round 3. If it ends up being the Lions, the Rebels would have to travel to Chattanooga.

If the Rebels run through their first 3 opponents, they would almost assuredly get the Morristown West Trojans at home in Round 4. The venue would be rare, as Maryville almost always ends up traveling to Morristown for this match-up.

Let's focus on the now though. Brainerd started slow with a 1-5 record, week zero through week 5. Since then, they have picked up their play and have had a decent 3-1 run against the also-rans of Region 4.

They did manage to take down a 6-2 Hixson team though, so they have shown marked improvement.

The Panther's offense will center on talented WR EJ Ward, with a touch of Eric Penn thrown in as well. QB Kuenta Graham has wheels and will run out of trouble to get a better view of his speedy receivers.

Graham has a solid throwing arm and can hit all the short passing routes, as well as the long bombs. His numbers have only improved as the season has worn on.

Cornelius Douglas, Tracy Careathers and James Strickland will tote the ball for Brainerd. They have each scored in long and short run situations at least once over the last two weeks.

The Panthers are allowing 23 points per game on defense, including a nasty 77 points versus Region 4 champ Red Bank.

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