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SHEPHERDSVILLE -- If in doubt give the ball to number 8.
That philosophy worked just fine for the Overdale Chiefs on Saturday as the team used a quick start to beat the Maryville Patriots 12-8 in the championship game of the PeeWee Division.
Number 8 for the Chiefs is Mario Convenuto and he rushed for 118 yards and scored both of the touchdowns for Overdale. He also led the team with nine tackles.
“He’s a great player,” Overdale head coach Sean Burton said after the game. “You have to stop him. Everybody knows he will get the ball. It takes all of them to stop him.
“The backs and the lineman did a good job blocking for him,” the coach said. “I know it looks like one horse running, but it’s not. He’s a special player, but there are several other on this team that are special.”
Even with Convenuto on his side, Burton wasn’t taking any chances. He came out on the field dressed in a bright red and yellow outfit and a blonde wig (see picture on page B-1). He wore it throughout the first half (PeeWee coaches are on the field with their teams), but went to more traditional coaching clothes in the second half.
Still, Overdale had to hold off a furious late rally by Pleasant Grove. The Dolphins scored with 51.5 second remaining in the game and then tried an on-sides kick that was unsuccessful.
Maryville had beaten the Chiefs 13-0 during the regular season and Patriots’ head coach Jim Hutchins had wanted to get off to a quick start again, but that seriously backfired. On the very first play of the game Maryville fumbled and Overdale recovered at the 31-yard line.
On the very next play, Convenuto found a big hole on the right side of the line and raced 39 yards to the endzone.
After Maryville turned the ball over on downs, Overdale moved the ball right back down the field. Convenuto ran twice for seven yards and then Tyler Smith picked up the first down on a short run. Overdale lost yardage on the next play, but the handed the ball to Convenuto again and then time the back broke through the left side of the line and went 40 yards for the touchdown.
That 12-0 score held up to halftime. The Overdale defense did not allow Maryville to gain a first down in the first half.
Maryville did move the ball better in the second half. On their first drive, they got as deep as the 7-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. A drive early in the fourth quarter ended with an interception by Convenuto.
The Patriots finally got the ball rolling late in the game. Starting at the Chiefs’ 27 yard line after a short punt, Maryville got a 14 yard run Nick Majors for a first down at the 8-yard line. Three plays later, Majors got the touchdown from two yards out.
Maryville even converted the two-point conversion when Andrew Brown threw to Tyler Harris.
However, when Convenuto fell on the on-sides kick, the outcome was no longer in doubt.
“In the first game we got to them early and put them in the hole,” Hutchins said. “In this game it was the same thing in reverse.”
Maryville finished the season with a 9-2 record. The Patriots had won the previous three PeeWee titles.
“At the beginning of the season I never would have thought we could be here,” Hutchins said. “This group of kids worked very hard. It’s the hardest working group I’ve had. They flat out worked hard.”
Overdale finished the season with a 10-1 record.
The Chiefs had the 118 yards on the ground from Convenuto and also got 18 yards from Smith along with 13 by Jace Wilson and 11 by Peyton Luttrell. Convenuto had the nine tackles while Connor Burton made seven stops and Connor Hill had six tackles. The team also got four stops by Smith.
Maryville had a balanced attack as Majors rushed for 42 yards and Trenton Stetser had 40 yards. The Patriots also got 13 yards from Brown and nine yards from Harris. On defense, the Patriots got five tackles from both Michael Mitchell and Jordan Matherly as well as four tackles by Dodge Vance. Three stops were made by Trenton Stetser.
Members of the Overdale team included: Dylan Davis, Josh Wilson, Mario Convenuto, Zachary Settles, Matt Smith, Keelan Hall, Garrett Vibbert, Connor Burton, Jacob Gravel, Lance Johnson, Clay Snead, Karson Reitz, Nathan Davis, Peyton Luttreell, Jeffrey Richards, J. Adam Blanford, James King, Shaun Sanders, Jace Wilson, Clayton Six, Connor Hill, Noah Nida, Tyler Smith, Zack Carter and Aaron White.
The Chiefs were coached by Sean Burton. He was assisted by Howard Nida, Travis Goodwin, Robbie Davis and Glen Sanders.
Team members for the Maryville Patriots were: Tyler Harris, Andrew Brown, Freeman Hester, Clayton Hill, Jonathan Tyson, Trenton Stetser, Michael Mitchell, Jacob Neal, Jacob Harper, Devin Boston, Matthew Ahl, Nick Majors, Jordan Matherly, Zack Miller, Dodge Vance, Jay Rawlings, Cameron Nelson, Tyler Hurst, Jacob Darnell, Austin Gearlds, Bryan Childress, Matthew Rodgers, Jacob Brown, Kevin Pursley, David Vance and Clayton Hodges.
Jim Hutchins was the head coach for the Patriots and he was assisted by Danny Downing, Brian Morrison, Ivan Tichendorf and Jeff Brown.