MARYVILLE, Mo. — When coach Matt Webb and the Maryville High School football team take the field Aug. 30 for its opener at William Jewell College, it will be the start of vengeance.
The Spoofhounds will take on Blair Oaks in the Kickoff Classic for the second straight year. The Hounds will be the home team on the scoreboard for this year's matchup meaning Maryville will only play four regular-season games at the Hound Pound.
“They have an unbelievable program,” Webb said. “It’s called Kickoff Classic and its something that we started last year. It’s going to be a heck of an opponent and a great game.”
The Falcons narrowly beat Maryville 38-35 to initiate their undefeated Class 2 state championship run.
In last season’s game senior captain Tate Oglesby recorded 150 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. The Spoofhounds return their junior quarterback, Ben Walker, who threw for 276 yards and two scores on eight completions.
“I mean, they’re obviously a great football team,” Oglesby said. “They won state last year and they gave us a good one last year but we came up short. We’ve just got to keep the mindset right that we’ve been working on for a while.”
The Falcons look to start freshman quarterback Dylan Hair, who started all three scrimmages for Blair Oaks in its jamboree last week. Junior wide receiver Jacob Closser will also return to the Kickoff Classic after catching two touchdowns from his freshman counterpart.
“It’s an excellent opportunity,” Webb said. “It’s a really good opportunity to play a really good opponent. Blair Oaks went undefeated last year. The last team to beat them was us in the semifinals which seems like an eternity ago, but it was two years ago.”
With the Spoofhounds in Class 2 this season, Blair Oaks moved up to Class 3. On Aug. 26, the Falcons were ranked No. 2 in the Class 3 Missouri media preseason poll.
A win could provide an early boost in the district standings as the Hounds are “playing up.” Webb said the theme to his team this week was to focus on themselves.
“It’s exciting, it’s Week 1,” Webb said. “The message to the team is, let's get ourselves ready to play and let's play the best we can and go out and try and get a win.”
Maryville will look to attack the Falcons on the ground with a sound attack from seniors Tyler Haer, Aiden Cullin and Gaven Gray while mixing in junior Connor Weiss. A new wrinkle for the Hounds will be the addition of senior Deon Metezier at the wide receiver position. With both Oglesby and Metezier to chose from, Walker has all kinds of weapons to utilize heading into this game.
The defense will be anchored by senior Jackson Bram on the like and Cullin in the linebacker position while Oglesby, Metezier and Weiss patrol the backfield.
“We’ve got to keep our mindset right,” Oglesby said about heading into Week 1. “If we go in thinking we are at an advantage or at a disadvantage, they’ll show us that we really are.”