Lenoir City’s Rommel Hightower Shines In Win

By Marcus Fitzsimmons of The Daily Times Staff

DANVILLE, Ky. — Maryville College checked one item off the to-do list from the season opener, scheming ways to return running back Rommel Hightower to weapon status in the 22-15 win at Centre College.

The sophomore responded with 125 more yards than he had against LaGrange. In fact, the Lenoir City product equalled that total on his first carry of the game with a 13-yard tote on MC’s second series.

“Rommel’s one heck of a running back that can find the creases and get up through there,” tight end Randy Swafford said. “As a line we just had to get out there and block some linebackers for him.

“We know what we got, and we had to get our act together and start doing it.”
Hightower added two pivotal fourth quarter touchdown runs of 8 and 22 yards but was even more impressive in the second quarter scoring drive. Of the Scots’ 73 yards on the march, Hightower accounted for all but 14 of them with 42 yards rushing and collecting 15 more on a yellow flag when the back was speared on the ground by the Colonels’ defense.

“We had that one good drive to let us know what we are capable of and let their defense know what we’re capable of,” Hightower said. “We came out the second half and had turnovers, but we just picked it back up and that’s what made the difference.”

HE WHAT! After the Scots appeared to put the game away with Nick Jensen’s sack of Jarrod Williams on fourth down with 1:15 left, Centre got one last try.

MC quarterback Lucas Wall almost inexplicably rolled out on the ensuing first down throwing a pass that was intercepted by Jacob Vaughn and gave the Colonels four more tries at a tying score before the true last threat was ended.

“We weren’t trying to throw the ball. We aren’t that stupid,” offensive coordinator Ryan Hansen said. “It wasn’t a pass. We were trying to run and get a first down because they had two time outs left. We tried to get them to jump offsides and did, but it wasn’t called, so typically that’s a free play.

“Lucas as he matures will understand you still kneel on that play, and he understands that now.”

22: Most of the Scots weren’t even alive the last time Maryville started 2-0. The 1985 team started by defeating Union (Ky.) 31-20 and Centre 13-0 before ending the season 3-7.

“I was born in October (of 1985), so I was riding around about that time,” said Swafford of his location in September 22 years ago. “A lot of the guys on the team joke around calling me an old man on the team. I wasn’t even here for that.”

The last time MC won in Danville was 1995 with a 27-21 win. CC had won 7 of 8.
“It’s a great day to be a Fighting Scot,” Swafford said.