Dylan Hopkins appears to be over the injuries that have nagged him throughout the season.
The senior quarterback registered his best game of the season, completing 15 of his 19 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 150 yards and another pair of scores in Maryville High School’s 54-34 victory over Ooltewah on Thursday inside James N. Monroe Stadium.
“He’s a really good player, bottom line,” Maryville head coach Derek Hunt said. “He’s tough to defend because he can beat you with his arm and his legs. He was incredible. It definitely ranks up there (as one of his best performances) because of how good of the defense that is.”
The Rebels (7-1, 4-0 Region 2-6A) needed every bit of that performance from the UAB commit, especially in a first half that featured a pair of offenses trading touchdowns back and forth.
Ooltewah (4-3, 2-2) found the end zone on four of its first five possessions, but Maryville managed to score at a better pace, tallying five scores in the first half to take a 35-28 lead into halftime.
Hopkins accounted for two of those touchdowns, finding pay dirt on a 27-yard scamper and connecting with junior wide receiver for a 43-yard score. Running backs Tee Hodge, Trace Parris and Bryson Teffeteller combined for the others as the trio was tasked with replacing injured starter Isaiah Cobb.
“There is a little pressure, but on the sideline you just get the guys together and let them know that we need to get a stop and a score,” said Hopkins said, who missed a game after suffering a shoulder injury in the season opener and was also forced out against Alcoa after battling cramps.
The stops eventually came in the second half, and the offense never relented.
Maryville took the field after halftime and forced a pair of punts on Ooltewah’s first two drives, responding with two touchdown pass from Hopkins to build a 47-28 lead.
“We had to start getting off blocks and making tackles,” Hunt said. “That’s Football 101. We subbed a few guys in and out to try and get us a better chance. We played a lot better defensively in the second half and we’re able to get off the field and get some separation.”
The Rebels have grown accustomed to these type of grind-it-out wins this season, but they believe that victories like this will benefit them as they try to claim an 18th-consecutive region championship and make a deep run in the playoffs.
“This wasn’t your everyday 20-point win, but I think games like this are important,” Hunt said. “These are the teams we are going to play. This is our region now, so we better get used to it. We have two big games left on our schedule and we have a long way to go if we want to play in Cookeville on both sides of the ball.
“We haven’t played our best game yet, but I’m proud of our kids. They had every reason to be discouraged in the first half, but the offense kept making plays and the defense came out in the second half and made plays.”