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Tucker Franklin

Sports Editor

As the weather starts to get colder and leaves start to change, the midterm of the semester is rapidly approaching.

With the end of the first quarter marking the midterm Friday, students will be sent home with report cards — at least that’s what they used to do. So, I figured that I would send the Maryville High School football team home with its report card.

Instead of traditional subjects such as math, science, history — and my favorite — lunch, I will be giving the Spoofhounds grades on their rushing attack, passing game, run defense and pass defense through the first six games of the season.

Running game: A

This is the Spoofhounds best “subject,” per se. Historically, Maryville has been built on the rushing attack and this year is no different. The three-headed monster in the backfield of senior Aiden Cullen, junior Trey Houchin and junior Connor Weiss have accounted for 1,300 yards of offense. Houchin leads the Hounds in rushing with 543 yards on 69 carries and nine touchdowns. Cullin has nearly identical numbers with 542 yards on 48 carries and eight touchdowns. Weiss has added 215 yards and three scores on 31 carries.

A big reason the running game has success is the offensive line. Running behind guys like seniors Jackson Bram, Tallon Nolan and Jeff Stooksberry with junior Tobin Cordell and sophomore Blake Casteel, the running backs are easily able to find lanes thanks to the groups downfield blocking.

Passing game: A

As mentioned above, Maryville is a school know for running the ball when everyone knows its going to be a run, but the Spoofhounds have found success numerous times through the air this year. Junior quarterback Ben Walker is having a phenomenal year under center. The junior has thrown for 860 yards and 12 touchdowns on 43-for-78 passing while throwing only one interception. Walker has added three rushing touchdowns this season making his total touchdown 15 in six games.

The senior wide receiver combo of Tate Oglesby and Deon Metezier have dominated opposing defensive backs this season. Oglesby has hauled in 18 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns in the six games this year. His senior counterpart has 208 yards and three touchdowns on six catches. While these two receivers have proved to be Walker’s favorite targets, the junior quarterback has thrown touchdown passes to five different receivers.

Run defense: A

If I could give a higher grade then I would. While the run is the main philosophy for coach Matt Webb and company, stopping the run is equally important. The Spoofhounds have only allowed 345 rushing yards in six games this year. That averages out to 57.5 yards per game. Maryville has allowed a team to rush over 100 yards twice and have held two teams to negative rushing yards.

The same offensive line subjects listed above along with junior Marc Gustafson and senior Jacob Davenport are to credit for the sturdy defensive front. Cullin, Houchin and seniors Gaven Gray and Quin Collins help secure the second level. 

Pass defense: A

While the Spoofhound don’t play many teams that spread them out and throw the ball, when they do, they play well. Maryville hasn’t allowed a 200-yard passing game to any of the quarterbacks they have faced. The secondary has conceded an average of 103 passing yards per game.

Overall, there are some eye-popping numbers from the defense. The Spoofhounds have allowed an average of 160.5 yards per game while only giving up an average of 2.86 yards per play. Maryville would be the last team I would want to face when it starts to get cold.

Overall grade: A

After the bye week, Maryville faces two of its biggest challenges of the year in Savannah and Lafayette. Savannah is battle-tested and will come to play in the Hound Pound next week. A strong offensive line and a solid rushing attack await the Spoofhounds after the week off. 

While the Blair Oaks game may have alarmed people early, the Spoofhounds responded in a big way. Since that game, Maryville has only allowed 7.5 points per game and is coming off of a nine quarter scoreless streak. The Spoofhounds everything they need to contend for a state title.