Quarles getting great results as Maryville coach

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   There will always be an endless debate over who's the best current high school coach in the state of Tennessee.
   Locally, Dobyns-Bennett's Graham Clark, Hampton's J.C. Campbell, Cloudland's Mike Lunsford and Tennessee High's Greg Stubbs would all be considered.
   Brentwood Academy's Carlton Flatt, Trousdale County's Clint Satterfield and Riverdale's Gary Rankin would all make that mark statewide.
   But there is an obvious selection outside of Knoxville, and Alcoa in Blount County. How can you argue against a coach who has led his team to the past three state titles in what is arguably the toughest class of football in the state (4-A).
   It's hard to dispute the legitimacy of Maryville coach George Quarles, who's put up a 50-8 record in the past four seasons. The young coach and staff has helped make the Rebels the top team in the state through all classifications.
   I was fortunate to catch up with the coach this past Friday after a scrimmage win over Dobyns-Bennett.
   "Each year is a different challenge and we have a competitive group of guys," Quarles said. "Each team comes in and they want to win like the last group did and this year is no different. I think we have an outstanding coaching staff, much like Kingsport does."
   "When you've had steady coaching, I think that's what helps keep your program going," he said. "We've had the same staff for five years and I think that helps more than anything. We're competitors."
   Things may be a tougher road for the Rebels this year, returning starters to four positions on each side of the line of scrimmage after losing a solid unit of seniors including Auburn signee Carl Stewart, last year's Mr. Football in 4-A one of the top ten tailbacks in the nation.
   However, they will see their first test of the year this week against a tough Carter team, looking to get a glimpse of the season in store.
   "I think we've got a program and we've wanted it to be more than one year or two years," the coach said. "We want to be competitive as long as we can, and we have kids growing up in the system and they want to be playing on Friday nights for the Rebels.
   "These kids here, they've waited their turn and now its their chance to go and have fun with it. I don't know where we are right now, but we'll find out (this) week when we open up against Carter.
   "I'm proud of the fact that we came out and competed tonight, which we haven't one a lot of this fall, I was happy.
   Last year, Maryville was hit hard before the season when quarterback Alex Rouse tore his ACL. It allowed Cade Thompson to step up and guide the Rebels to a perfect 15-0 season with a state championship victory over Hillsboro.
   Rouse is back this year, making the quarterback situation at Maryville a statewide story. However, the athletic returning senior is expected to play at receiver and behind center, while Thompson will get the start.
   "Thompson went 15-0 last year and right now I'd probably go with him, of course we're going to play Rouse some to," Quarles said. "(Rouse) is good enough to play on the outside at receiver and he made some pretty good catches tonight, including a touchdown. And he can also go in and play quarterback.
   "It's a great problem for us to have and I'm really happy with both of them."
   Maryville will see a tough run from Knox Central and Powell in their conference with tough scheduled match-ups against Alcoa, Morristown West and William Blount.
   The Rebels may not win a state title this year, but nobody can argue with a class act like George Quarles.
   WESLEY'S PICKS
   It's time to make the 15 weekly statewide picks as football season is finally here with zero week, including a classic battle between Hampton and Cloudland on Roan Mountain.
   HAMPTON AT CLOUDLAND
   This will be a barn-burner on top of the mountain. It's hard to make a prediction on this seeing Cloudland returns a top notch starting lineup; however, the Bulldogs will come in fired up after last year's second contest in Hampton and give the 'Landers a run for their money: CLOUDLAND 24-16, OT
   HAPPY VALLEY AT NORTH GREENE
   Look for the Warriors to pull out a strong victory with or without Tim Whaley in this contest. I expect a good outing from their tough returning offensive and defensive line including Daniel Dover, Cane Cannon and Jordy Harrison. HAPPY VALLEY 42-14
   Sullivan Central 28, David Crockett 21
   Dobyns-Bennett 32, Sullivan North 12
   Cherokee 40, West Greene 22
   Cocke County 31, South Greene 8
   Maryville 49, Carter 16
   Knox Central 36, Greeneville 10
   Sevier County 19, Seymour 12
   Trinity Christian (Louisville, KY) 44, Montgomery Bell 14
   Christ Presbyterian Academy 26, Goodpasture 18
   Whitehaven 38, MUS 12
   Jackson Central Merry 28, Union City 8
   Ezell-Harding 50, Pope John Paul 30
   McCallie 38, Hixon 17