Rodgers' big day gives Maryville 'A' crown

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Greater Bullitt County Youth Football League Championships

By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Coach Tommy Hodge’s last game with the Maryville Patriots will go down as a victory as his team turned back Pleasant Grove 34-12 on Saturday in the ‘A’ Division Championship Game for the Greater Bullitt County Youth Football League.

A pair of big plays in the first half set the stage for the Patriots winning for the 10th time in 11 games this fall.

First, with just 1:30 remaining in the first half of a scoreless game, Maryville running back Austin Rodgers took a hand-off and bolted up the middle. It appeared that he was stopped in a pile of players near the line of scrimmage, but then suddenly broke out of the pack and raced 69 yards to the touchdown.

Just three plays later, Pleasant Grove was racing the clock to get to the endzone. Two completions had moved the ball to the Patriots’ 30-yard line when quarterback Anthony Hall appeared to connect with Derek Jones on a touchdown pass. Jones was called for offensive pass interference and the play was called back, leaving Maryville with a 6-0 lead at halftime.

Maryville had the edge in momentum at the break and they rode that to two more long touchdown runs by Rodgers in the third quarter.

The first came on the second play of the half when the speedy running back went 46 yards for a score. After he intercepted a pass on the next series, he took a hand-off three plays later, then ran from sideline to sideline and then up the field on an 84-yard touchdown dash.

With Travis Downing’s extra point kick, Maryville was up 20-0 and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

"We made some adjustments at halftime,” Hodge said after telling his players that this would be his last season as a coach. “The kids told me where the holes were. They are a helluva group of kids.

“It’s not the coaching,” he added with a smile. “It’s the kids. We had some great kids. We should have been here (in the championship game) last year.”

Hodge first coached in the youth football league back in 1978 and was with Brooks at that time through 1983, getting to three championship games. After a long lay-off, he returned to coach the past 10 years with Maryville and this group of players. He reached seven championship games, winning four titles with including three undefeated teams.

He now has a son playing for North Bullitt and he wants to spend more time watching than coaching.

The Patriots were the number two seed coming into the play-offs after losing a regular season game to Brooks. Pleasant Grove stunned the Saints in the semi-finals and got to the championship game after being just the number five seed when the post-season began.

“We played the Cinderella role all year and today midnight struck,” Pleasant Grove head coach Waylon Samuels said after the final. “If it had been 0-0 at halftime it might have been a different game. We got caught trying to strip the ball instead of making the tackle. That hurt us.”

Pleasant Grove had lost three times in the regular season including an 18-12 setback to Maryville.

“Teams in this league don’t know how young we are,” Samuels said. “We only had three returning ‘A’ team players from last year. We have a lot of experience that we’ll build on for next year.”

The Dolphins will also get a big influx of players from the Pleasant Grove ‘B’ team that won the league title on Saturday.

Rodgers was not so much unstoppable as he was uncatchable when he broke into the clear. He finished with 262 yards while scoring the team’s first three touchdowns.

Maryville also added a touchdown by Downing late in the game on a 3-yard run to cap a 45-yard drive. On the final play of the game, a play after Pleasant Grove was whistled for hitting Downing when he tried to take a knee, Downing kept the ball and ran 35 yards to the endzone for the final points.

Downing finished with 112 yards in the win with the two touchdowns and the kicked extra point.

Maryville also got 31 yards on the ground from Nick Norris as well as 19 yards rushing by quarterback Tyler Mayberry. Mayberry also threw a two-point conversion pass to Daniel Griffin and completed a 14 yard pass to Branden Devore.

On defense, the Patriots were led by Nate Sanders with 11 tackles while Henry Aldridge had 10 stops. Rodgers had seven tackles. The team also got five tackles by Norris and four stops each from Downing, Justin Kroeger, Dakota Schlenk and Dallas Schlenk.

The first touchdown for Pleasant Grove came with 5:15 remaining in the game when Jones scored from a yard out. In the final minute of the game, Hall connected with Gage Logsdon on a 41-yard connection and on the very next play, the two reversed the action with Logsdon throwing to Hall for a 9-yard touchdown.

Jones finished with 43 yards on the ground and also caught passes for 53 yards. The offense also got 19 yards on the ground from Logsdon who also had 61 yards catching the ball.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins got five tackles from Trey Hurley along with three stops each from Terrell Moorman, Brandon Samuels and Jones.

Members of the ‘A’ Division Champion Maryville Patriots are Blade Robinson, Daniel Griffin, Travis Downing, Branden Devore, Frankie Nichols, Jordan Estep, Austin Rodgers, Johnny Jaco, Tyler Mayberry, J.D. Williams, Henry Aldridge, Josh McHargue, C.J. Romero, Nick Norris, Justin Kroeger, Nik Hartman, Dakota Schlenk, Dallas Schlenk, Nate Sanders and Dustin Deindoerfer.

The Patriot head coach is Tommy Hodge and he was assisted by Mike Seeley, Terry Williams, Mike Exton and Willie Rogers.

The team members for the Pleasant Grove Dolphins are Tyler Ahearn, Jordan Barbagallo, Alex Bland, Kevin Carter, Anthony Doran, Anthony Hall, Andrew Hare, Trey Hurley, Zack Johnson, Derek Jones, Keenan Loudendager, Gage Logsdon, Terrell Moorman, Tyler Potter, A.J. Romine, Trey Russell, Brandon Samuels, Trent Suffridge and Tucker Waddell.

Waylon Samuels was the head coach for the Dolphins and he was assisted by Buddy Carter, Jay Romine, David Jones and Norman Hare.