As the sun set over Johnson City, Tennessee on Sept. 10, 2015, history was about to be made.
The East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneer’s football team, an NCAA Division I program, had been on a twelve year hibernation until 2015. The only thing standing in their way on that September night in the second week of the present season was a D III football team from Maryville, TN.
In February of 2015, Maryville College head football coach Mike Rader resigned from his position at MC and took a job as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, ETSU. Along with Rader left linebackers coach Scott Brummet. However, these two coaches would meet the Fighting Scots football team again.
As current Maryville head coach Shaun Hayes prepared the Scots for the upcoming season, one game stood out on the 2015 schedule. That game would be a matchup with ETSU at Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tennessee on Sept. 10, 2015.
“I felt going into the game, that it was an exciting experience for all of us as players and for the program as a whole.” senior long snapper Mickey Chait said.
The game began with a roaring crowd and high emotions, as MC senior linebacker Austin Newton recovered an ETSU fumble on their first possession. The Scots took advantage of the turnover a few plays later with a 22 yard touchdown run from junior running back Trenton Shular.
The Bucs would then find the end zone twice in two consecutive drives.
The first quarter ended with the score 14-7 in the Bucs favor.
ETSU held their momentum until MC quarterback Nick Meyers connected with junior tightend Ben Buell for a Scots touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
On the following drive, MC’s Da’Kelin Wells intercepted Bucs quarterback Nick Sexton. To set up a touchdown by MC tightend Logan Winders, giving the Scots a 7 point advantage.
Late in the second quarter, the Bucs finally found the end zone, ending the half with a tied score of 21-21.
The second half of the football game turned in favor of the Scots by defensive efforts, despite the Bucs continually having the ball in their advantage. Maryville executed the game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter with a screen pass to Shular, who sprinted his way into the end zone.
As the final seconds winded down on the game clock, the Scots realized they had performed one of the biggest upsets in the school’s history by beating the Division I ETSU Buccaneers 28-21. After exchanging formalities with the opposing team, the Scots ran to their fans in the stadium to join them in their fight song.
“We earned a lot of respect, not only from ETSU, but from people from the local area; we shocked a lot of people. We’ve come a long way the past couple years and the program is growing and getting better every week.” Said Newton.
The win also gave members of the Scots football team personal pride.
“Beating ETSU was an amazing feeling,” Newton said. “Being able to come off of a short week and go play two ex-coaches that knew all our players and everything we try to do, it was pretty amazing to beat those guys.”
The game itself is something the players will not likely forget.
“With a lot of people doubting you going into the game, going out there and shocking them in the first half, then finishing it off in the second half, it was big for us.” said junior quarterback Nick Meyers.
Spectators were also impacted by the historical football game.
“Watching the game from the stands along with former players and current players’ parents really showed me how passionate people are for Maryville College football,” said junior Trey Prestridge. “I am so happy they won, and it made my drive to Johnson City well worth it.”
As the moonlight shown on Kermit Tipton Stadium on Sept. 10, 2015, history was made. For the Maryville College Fighting Scots however, the special pride of upsetting the Division I ETSU Buccaneers will not likely be one to fade.