Spotlight On: Maryville Red Rebels
Hometown: Maryville, TN
Group: TSSAA Class 4A
By Ryan Rohde
The Tennessee Titans are the talk of the state right now thanks to the team’s surprise record of 9-0. But there is another talented team within the Volunteer State that typically steals the headlines due to a pattern of undefeated records, winning streaks and championships.
While the Titans may have the attention today, the Maryville Rebels (11-0, State PR: 95.50, Rank: 2) have earned the reputation over time as one of the most dominant football teams in the state.
The Red Rebels continue their quest for a fifth straight state championship this week. They have swept through each of the past four seasons while posting 70-straight wins in the process, including a 10-0 regular season this year, good for the second best winning streak in the country at the moment behind South Panola’s (Miss.) 83 straight victories.
And the architect behind this unprecedented run is none other than George Quarles, who took over as head coach in 1999. Quarles knew what he was getting into when he took the job, too. The Red Rebels had been the defending state champs after a perfect 15-0 season and had captured the program’s first state title in 20 years.
Since then, Quarles has taken Maryville to a whole different level. Over the past 10 years, Quarles and the Red Rebels are 135-9 overall, while capturing seven state championships over that span. Meanwhile, the team’s last loss was in November of ‘03 by three points in the state semifinals.
Coach Quarles knows the key to a winning program is pride and tradition, and it all starts at the bottom with the feeder programs.
"There's a lot of pride involved, said Quarles in a WATE.com interview by Mark Nagi. “These kids grow up wanting to play for Maryville High School. They grow up playing for the middle school, and they can't wait to get that opportunity on Friday night. Because of that, they play with more pride and emotion than a lot of other schools do."
Everyone in the program, including the kids in middle school and even younger, is fully aware of the winning streak, but Quarles won’t let his team get caught up in the hoopla.
"We don't mention it," Quarles said. "I will mention it in jest to try to get their attention. I'll talk about their 1000 game win streak, just joking around. It isn't anything we talk about as a staff or as a team.”
That one game at a time mentality is a major reason for Maryville’s success. Although Coach Quarles doesn’t like to talk about it, he certainly knows what five more wins will pave the way for: a fifth straight state title.
Look for Ryan's spotlight each week right here at FootballPower. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.