MARYVILLE, Mo. — Coming off of a bye week, some speculated the Maryville High School football team would have a sluggish start to its game against Savannah Friday, but that wasn’t the case.
The Spoofhounds (6-1, 5-0 MEC) were able to defeat the rival Savages (6-2, 4-1 MEC) thanks to a commanding 21-0 lead to start the game. In a game that had conference title implications and a postseason atmosphere, Maryville was able to capitalize on early opportunities.
Coach Matt Webb said games like these, players won’t forget.
“It’s one of those things when you grow up in either one of these communities you remember these games,” Webb said. “It’s bragging rights. We’re 30 minutes apart and these guys play each other in summer league stuff and with each other on travel teams. I’m very happy for our kids and our coaching staff did a great job. … This is one of those you remember.”
The game would go scoreless for nearly the first quarter as the Hounds attempted a 42-yard field goal but came up empty-handed. Maryville would still score first though as junior running back Trey Houchin found the endzone with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Savannah started the second quarter in Spooofhound territory but nothing would come of it. Junior running back Connor Weiss capped off Maryville’s methodic next possession with an 8-yard touchdown run to give the Hounds a two-score lead.
“I think our kids were ready to play,” Webb said. “I think they did a great job during our bye week last week and there was no letdown. I answered a lot of questions about, ‘Are your guys going to start off slow?’ and I’m like, ‘no, our guys are ready to play.’ They were very focused and they understood the magnitude of a game like this.”
Maryville added another score thanks to a 75-yard run by senior running back Aiden Cullin late in the first half, making the score 21-0 before the Savages would finally score.
“It really got our confidence up,” junior quarterback Ben Walker said. “It really set the tone of what we had to do to be successful. We took some bumps up there but you’ve got to stay positive and just keep your head high.”
Senior defensive lineman Caden Atoe would corral a batted pass from Walker and return it 18 yards for Savannah’s first points of the day.
The Savages scored first in the second half of play as senior quarterback Chase Spoonemore got into the endzone after three previous tries on the goal line. Spoonemore’s touchdown cut the Spoofhounds’ lead to seven points but that was as close as Savannah would get.
“(We were just) sticking to what we know,” Weiss said about the mindset after the Savannah touchdown. “Just (keep) dominating and doing what we can do to hold them off and get the offense going when we can.”
Maryville answered with a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Walker to junior Marc Gustafson to make the score 28-14. After the touchdown pass, Walker has so far accounted for a touchdown in every game this season.
“Stats are great but I just focus on getting the win,” Walker said.
Seniors Tyler McGary, Tate Oglesby, Deon Metezier, Jacob Davenport, Quin Collins, Dalton Bozarth, Tyler Haer, Carter Reeves, Cullin, Gaven Gray, Nic Garner, Tallon Noland, Jeff Stooksberry and Jackson Bram were honored before the game on the track for their service to the program. Webb said to see those 14 seniors be recognized made him proud.
“I can’t say enough about them,” Webb said. “They’re doing a great job leading. … I remember those guys when they were sixth-graders when they kind of entered the middle school program. Watching them walk across the track there at the beginning, you just kind of see it come full circle.”
The Spoofhounds secured their ninth straight win over the Savages and their 64th consecutive win at the Hound Pound. With the win, Maryville will earn at least a share of the MEC championship. After the game, Webb’s career record moved to 99-8.
Next week, the Hounds could win the conference title outright and secure Webb’s 100th win as Lafayette comes to the Hound Pound for the final regular-season game of the year.
“One of the traits we don’t talk about is being selfish,” Webb said. “Now’s the time to be selfish and win an outright MEC championship.”