After dropping four of its last five games, the Bears (5-5) weren’t expected to give the nationally-ranked Maryville (10-0) squad much of a challenge, but some one forgot to tell the Black-and-Gold players.
Putting up more points than any other Maryville opponent (including a pair of second-ranked teams in 5A Knox West and 3A Alcoa, plus fifth-ranked 6A Sevier County) this season, Bradley had the powerful Rebels knotted at 14-all at the half, before the hosts exploded for four second half scores to pull away for a 42-21 victory Friday evening, bringing the Bear gridiron season to a close.
Coach Damon Floyd was very proud of his team’s effort, “I asked these guys to fight and they fought. We had some adversity we needed to overcome and we just couldn’t.”
From the opening kickoff, it looked like the Bears would be in for a long night. Needing just two plays and 33 seconds to reach the end zone, Maryville senior quarterback John Garrett found junior wideout Tyler Vaught for a 35-yard touchdown. Senior Caden Ryding made it a quick 7-0 lead for the Rebels following his extra point.
The Bears struck right back behind the leadership of quarterback Brett Standifer. The senior signal caller led his team on a nine-play, 85-yard drive capped off with a nine-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Dee Crisp. Senior kicker Clayton Steels added the extra point to even up the score 7-7 just four minutes into the contest.
Maryville again used a quick-strike offense to move the ball 52 yards on four plays, when the Bear defense came up huge. Senior linebacker Edwardo Trevino popped the ball free from Maryville ball carrier Shawn Prevo. Senior safety Cal Pickel jumped on the ball to give the Bradley side much to cheer about.
After forcing a four-and-out, Maryville used just three plays to find pay dirt again. This time, with 4:11 left in the first frame, Garrett hooked up with senior wide out Cody Carroll from six yards out to push the score to 14-7 following another Ryding extra point.
Bradley’s senior leadership again stepped up, this time with Logan Fetzner breaking several tackles on the ensuing 64-yard kickoff return to get the ball down to the Maryville 31 yard line. Standifer followed up five plays later with a one-yard touchdown run with 1:48 left in the quarter. Steels tacked on his second extra point to again knot the score at 14.
The second quarter was dominated by defense. Bradley’s Standifer actually opened and closed the second quarter with interceptions in the end zone. The first was to junior Tyler Ward and the second to his classmate Paul Bristol.
Bradley’s defense also get in on the turnover train, causing junior running back Jaylen Burgess to fumble with 4:08 left in the half.
Maryville got on the scoreboard twice in the third quarter on their only two possesions. The first was a five-play, 89-yard drive capped by a 57-yard touchdown dash from Prevo, the storied program’s all-time leading rusher, to make it 20-14. Ryding tacked on his third extra point of the night with 5:27 left in the third.
Following a miss handling of the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by Maryville junior Blake Henderson, the Rebels added their fourth score of the night. This time Garrett found all of 6-foot-5 junior tight end Bryce Miller for a four-yard touchdown strike at the 3:34 mark of the third quarter. Ryding again followed up with an extra point to double up the Bears 28-14.
Maryville carried the ball into the final frame of the night, which saw some fireworks as both sides were getting a little testy due to the battle over the first three quarters.
The Rebels actually slowed the pace down for their first drive of the fourth, covering 87 yards with nine play, aided by a pair of Bradley personal fouls penalties and Prevo again found the end zone, this time from 16 yards out after hurdling a Bear defender.
Maryville added insult to injury on the ensuing Bear possession with its third interception. This sophomore Tyler Zwolinski had the pick and returned it all the way down to the Bear 7 yard line. Sophomore Jaylen Nickerson took it from there to give the Rebels their final score of the night. Ryding was good on his sixth extra point of the night to make it 42-14 with 7:08 left.
With Standifer injured, Cole Copeland took over the signal calling duties and all the freshman did was lead his Bears 75 yards on nine playswith Fetzner closing out the drive with a one yard scoring run with 2:44 left in the game. Steels converted his third extra point, cutting the lead in half to the eventual final 42-21.
On the night, Standifer paced the Bradley Central offense going 25 of 37 for 226 yards and a touchdown, while Fetzner had 106 yards of total offense to go with his long kickoff return. Closing out his high school gridiron career, Fetzner gained 66 yards on 13 carries, plus pulled in a trio of passes for 40 more yards.
Pickel led the 302-yard Bear aerial attack with 112 yards on nine receptions, while junior Daniel Clark hauled in a dozen passes for 81 yards. Crisp finished with five catches for 47 yards, while Bryan Adams gained 24 yards on a trio of receptions.
Maryville’s 456-yard offensive performance was led by Prevo’s 172 yards on 13 carries, two of which found the end zone.
The Rebels (11-0) advance to face 10th-ranked Morristown East (10-1), a 27-17 winner over Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Friday, in this week’s second playoff round. Going undefeated in 10 of the last dozen regular seasons, Maryville has played in 14 of the last 16 state championship games, winning nine.
Bradley Central 14 0 0 7 — 42
Maryville 14 0 14 14 — 8
M — Tyler Vaught 35yd pass from John Garrett (Caden Ryding kick), 11:27
BC — Dee Crisp 9 yd pass from Brett Standifer (Clayton Steele kick), 8:02
M — Cody Carroll 11 yd pass from Garrett (Ryding kick), 4:15
BC — Standifer 1 yd run (Steels kick), 1:48
M — Shawn Prevo 57 run (Ryding kick), 5:27
M — Bryce Miller 4 pass from Garrett (Ryding kick), 3:34
M — Prevo 16 run (Ryding kick), 8:58
M — Jaylen Nickerson 7 run (Ryding kick), 7:07
BC — Logan Fetzner 1 run (Steele kick), 3:44
First downs 19 20
Rushes-yards 27-88 37-316
Passing yards 303 140
Total yards 447 321
Comp-Att-Int 30-44-3 9-13-0
Punts -Ave. 2-37.5 2-19.0
Fumbles-Lost N/A N/A
Penalties 4-40 7-70
Rushing: Logan Fetzner 13-66, Brett Standifer 8-21, Dee Crisp 1-9 (BC); Shawn Prevo 13-172.
Passing: Brett Standifer 25-37-3 228 TD, Cole Copeland 5-6-0 74 (BC).
Receiving: Cal Pickel 9-112, Daniel Clark 10-81, Dee Crisp 5-47 TD, Logan Fetzner 3-40, Bryan Adams 3-24 (BC).
Records: Bradley Central 5-6; Maryville 11-0.