Two weeks prior to the start of the 2019 MSHSAA High School football season, former Maryville coach Chris Holt, who now coaches at Lathrop, sat and thought about how impressive the then-61 home game win streak was for the Spoofhounds.
Once the Spoofhounds were put into Class 2 for the first time since 2009, Holt realized there was a significant chance that he would play against the program he once led to a state title. A little more than three months later, those thoughts are becoming a reality.
“I may have the chance to actually coach against (Maryville),” Holt said in August. “That’d be hard for me; I’m not gonna lie to you.”
Maryville football will be a week removed from, perhaps, its most convincing win of the season when the Spoofhounds will play for a district championship Nov. 15. A 47-0 shutout, the third that the defense has pitched this season, played a crucial factor in the No. 1 seed Spoofhounds’ win over No. 5 Lawson. Lawson, Maryville coach Matt Webb said, is a good football team. The Spoofhounds, Webb added, are a good football team.
Lathrop, Webb said, is a juggernaut football team.
The stakes against the Cardinals were as high as they’ve been all season. When Maryville (9-1) plays host to the Mules (11-0) Nov. 15 with a district championship on the line, a 67 home game win streak on the line and the reputation of a full season on the line, the stakes will be even higher.
“This game is our biggest so far because it’s the next one,” Webb said. “To win conference, you have to play every game like it’s a big game. Now our focus is to win a district championship, so, yeah — it’s a big game.”
The Spoofhounds have won nine consecutive contests since a Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks, one that’s proven to be insignificant to anything other than an attempt at an unblemished record. Maryville captured the top seed in its district, an MEC championship, and now nothing except the Mules stand in between the Spoofhounds and another district championship.
The Spoofhounds, Webb said, have found a way to survive and advance throughout the first two rounds of the postseason. The field that includes 16 teams this week will narrow down to eight next week, a group Maryville is hoping to be a part of.
“Our kids are chomping at the bit to play a district championship game,” Webb said. “Our focus is just hoping on beating a very good Lathrop team and surviving in the playoffs.”
For Lathrop, the Mules bring in an experienced senior class that consists of over 20 players. With the roster, Webb said, comes athleticism that the coach thinks poses a good matchup for Maryville’s defense. In the past two seasons, the program holds a lone loss in the Class 2 State Championship game a season ago via Blair Oaks, the same team that defeated Maryville 11 weeks ago.
“We know what’s coming against Lathrop,” senior wideout and defensive back Tate Oglesby said. “We really just have to focus in this week; that’s a huge goal for us. … This week’s big; we just have to execute and do what we can.”
The meeting of two powerhouse programs will be the first of the decade. The Spoofhounds come into the game averaging 48.7 points per game from the offense, 7.3 per contest allowed on defense.
Lathrop comes into the game with an offense that averages 51.5 points per game, with it is a defense that allows 7.8 points per contest. The Mules, Webb said, don’t know how to lose. The Spoofhounds aren’t accustomed to losing either.
When the matchup is said and done, one of the programs will have to be more familiar with something that they haven’t done much of: losing. That team’s season will end Nov. 15 in Maryville. The other will, as Webb said, survive and advance.
“It comes down to one game,” Webb said. “You put your time and efforts into something for an entire offseason and it comes down to this one game that you either win or lose. The loser turns their pads in on the next week, so we’re excited about a district championship.”