COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF | Maryville Rebels

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.)-- The conductor is now Derek Hunt, but that Maryville football train continues to roll along and greasing those wheels is a steady stream of talent that the Red Rebels are able to develop throughout the years. As for why, the head coach offers this response, "I think it's the Maryville kids honestly, because there are so many kids on our team that their names aren't in the paper and that you don't know about, but they've worked really hard for two or three years for their opportunity."

There's no question the Rebels are football savvy team and they look the part. That strength is no doubt a key in going up against top competition on the road to what is always the goal, a state championship and there was one huge bump in the road last season which quarterback Cade Chambers says he and his teammates will not forget, "We all came together as a team because we realize that we can not get beat 38-0 like we did last year and we do not want that to happen so we've all meshed together and it's been really fun."

This team is also close, a bonding experience that's been building for some time and one which really developed over the off season with a number of guys going on a mission trip to Costa Rica, an equally gratifying experience says coach Hunt, "We go down there and obviously we're going into villages and elementary schools and giving away a bunch of basketballs and doing sports camps with them almost like a VBS Bible school type of thing sharing the Gospel, but we go down there to make an impact and what happens is we're impacted and our kids are more so than anything."

About the trip, linebacker Seth Orren adds, "We really bonded and it was a life changing trip and I think that kind of helped us grow on each other and it's gonna help us later in the season."

That season kicks off for mighty Maryville this Friday night at cross county rival William Blount.