Maryville College's Trenton Cumby was named the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Week, as the senior helped MC's defense shut down Methodist University, 21-13.
Cumby – a Cookeville, Tenn. native – raked in five tackles with three solo stops. Those three each ranked as sacks for a season-high by a Maryville player.
"It's good for him," Head Coach Shaun Hayes said. "He's a veteran for sure, and he's been through a lot here. He's a two-time captain, and in a game where he thought he would probably never play in again – Homecoming game as a senior – he really showed how dominant of a player he is. A lot of it is what he's invested over the two years that he's dedicated himself. I know it meant a lot for him to be able to do it for the team. He could care less about the individual award. He wanted to make sure that he left a good taste in everybody's mouth about what he is leaving behind as a legacy, not only as a player, but as a game-changer and a captain. I'm very proud of Trenton, and it's a very special moment for him."
Cumby's three sacks totaled 23 yards of loss in Saturday's Homecoming victory.
The senior defensive lineman made his presence known early, finding his first sack on the second play of the opening drive. He knocked down Monarch quarterback Brandon Bullins for a 6-yard loss on second-and-3.
That early sack slowed Methodist, forcing a 30-yard field goal on the Monarch's first drive.
Cumby's second sack was another well-timed stop, as Methodist took a 10-7 lead before forcing the Scots for a three-and-out early in the second quarter. On the Monarch's ensuing drive, Cumby found Bullins in the backfield again on the first play. He dropped him for an 8-yard loss, pinning the USA South foes near their own 10-yard line.
Methodist was held to a three-and-out of their own to keep the score within a field goal.
The Monarchs added a field goal at the end of the half, before the Scots used a seven-play, 89-yard drive for a touchdown. A Jacob Bunch 3-yard score with 12:08 made it 14-13 in favor of Maryville.
Again, Cumby found the right moment to step in for another sack. Methodist forced a Maryville fumble, setting the Monarchs up on their own 40-yard line. A 25-yard pass and a facemask penalty put them in the red zone in one play with under 4 minutes left in the third.
Bullins avoided the pressure by JaCorey Jackson, as he turned into the hard hit from Cumby for another 9-yard loss. Jackson and Ronald Eckles combined for a 3-yard sack on the next play, as the pressure forced an interception by Braden Cloyd just two plays after Cumby's third sack.
"That has a lot to do with Coach [Scott] Brumett and Coach [Josh] Cartagena," Hayes said. "They worked on that stuff all week long, and I heard them talking about it Sunday in the weight room. When you do that, Cumby was able to articulate and communicate it back on what he did and the timing of why he did it. That's coaching, and I think coaching at the highest level. It's pretty simple. It's hard to do, but it's simple. You have to have a genuine relationship with the kid. Two, you've got to know what you're talking about, and three, you have to communicate it highly affectively. They were able to do that back and forth. Yes, they were timely, and Cumby actually doing it correctly and when it happened in the game, that's a credit to everyone on that side of the ball."
Cumby added a pair of tackles during the fourth quarter, as a late touchdown would secure the victory, 21-13.
Maryville's defense held strong on the day, allowing just 6 yards of offense on the ground. They gave up just 213 yards of offense in total for their first win of the 2019 season.
Freshman Austin Smith was there in the backfield with Cumby, as the first-year Scots totaled two sacks for 15 yards of loss. In all, Maryville posted six sacks for 41 yards and 10 tackles for a loss of 49.
"It felt like an old football team out there," Hayes said. "We dominated the line of scrimmage, and that's devastating. You become one dimensional, and Methodist prides themselves on [Vonte Howard] touches the ball. He's explosive for them. Not only was he not explosive, he wasn't involved. He was out of the game. When you make somebody one dimensional in how they do things, now, there's certain times that we can go get the passer. That helps us all around, and it helps our secondary. So, you have to start somewhere. You can't go out and say, 'Alright, we're going to play defense, and we're going to be schematically right. We'll see how it goes.' You have to have a philosophy and an identity. Our philosophy is to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides, and we were able to do that Saturday and pick up the win."
On the year, Cumby has 26 total tackles with 17 of those going as solo stops. He's averaged 4.3 tackles per game in his defensive lineman spot, while recording seven total sacks.
Those sacks were for 47 yards, while he has 9.5 tackles for a loss of 56 yards. He leads MC's defense in both sacks and tackles for loss.
In his Orange and Garnet career, Cumby has 87 tackles with 49 solo. He's tallied 10.5 sacks for 64 yards and 17 tackles for a loss of 84 yards. The senior has forced a pair of fumbles and intercepted one pass for 23 yards.
Cumby will look to lead the Scots this weekend, as they play host to USA South foe LaGrange College. The game is slated for 1:00 p.m. on historic Honaker Field.