HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — The game started the same way as usual for the Maryville football team: Fans showed up prepared to cheer, and the players ran out of the locker room hyped up and ready to play. However, the game ended with a result that the Spoofhounds have not experienced since 2005.
For 15 consecutive seasons, Maryville has won at least one of its first two games.
That streak ended Friday night, though, as Harrisonville's run-heavy offense bulldozed the Wildcats' way to a 28-20 win at Harrisonville Memorial Stadium, effectively ending the Spoofhounds' streak.
“We played two good teams,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said in the aftermath of the 8-point loss to the Wildcats. “I’m not worried about the record as much as I am getting guys to play better.”
This was the fourth matchup in as many years between the two programs, and the ‘Hounds (0-2) previously held a three-game winning streak against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats (2-0) were led by their running back duo senior Jace Reynolds and freshman Nate Reynolds, brothers who combined for 356 yards rushing and three touchdowns. It was, in part, the duo’s notable performance — coupled with costly mistakes from the Spoofhounds — that ended a streak that started when then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady only had three Super Bowl titles.
Webb, however, isn’t ready to dwell on the program’s slow start just yet.
“0-2 is 0-2. Not my first ever time starting 0-2,” Webb said in reference to his time as a coach at FCS program Southeastern Louisiana..
The first quarter of the Week 2 matchup mirrored that of Maryville’s Week 1 game, with both teams failing to put points on the board. While neither team found the end zone to start the game, Harrisonville had its chances after forcing two early turnovers.
Webb said that, obviously, is not a good way to start any game, and it displayed a team that had not gotten better between Week 1 and Week 2.
“We can’t do that. Good teams don’t beat themselves,” Webb said. “And we beat ourselves, again.”
The Spoofhounds and Wildcats seemed like they flipped a switch after the first quarter, as both teams scored a combined 20 points in the second quarter.
Following a botched snap on a punt attempt from the Wildcats, Maryville senior running back Drew Spire ended the stalemate with a 1-yard touchdown run. A banked-in extra point from senior Tyler Siemer put the ‘Hounds up 7-0.
“I didn’t really have a gameplan, I was just going to play as hard as I did,” Spire said.
Spire said he thanks his linemen for blocking as well as they did and giving him the opportunity to score. He said they blocked well during Week 1, when Maryville rushers combined for 213 yards rushing, but they improved even more from then and did a great job while Maryville was trying to mount a fourth-quarter comeback.
The Wildcats responded on the ensuing drive with a 3-yard touchdown, but the 2-point conversion came up short, sustaining a Spoofhounds’ 1-point lead.
Maryville answered back with a 20-yard touchdown pass from senior Connor Drake to sophomore Delton Davis, and another successful point-after-try from Siemer put the ’Hounds up 14-6 at halftime.
The momentum shifted to the Wildcats after the break, as they scored 22 unanswered points, including an 88-yard touchdown run by Nate Reynolds in the third quarter.
Harrisonville’s hot streak ended with the Wildcats ahead 28-14 and a little more than nine minutes left in regulation. That proved to be too much to overcome for the Spoofhounds, as a 38-yard score by junior running back Adrian McGee was the last time they scored for the night.
Spire said there were definitely lessons to be learned from this game, ones he believes the ‘Hounds will fix.
“Our mental toughness is the biggest thing,” Spire said.
Spire said the team is getting too tired during the game, and that’s leading to players missing key plays, such as blocks or tackles. He said the team needs to be mentally tougher and listen better to the coaching.
Similar to Spire, junior running back Caden Stoecklein said the team needs to be tougher all-around.
“We need to get tougher,” Stoecklein said. “In order to win, we need to score the football.”
Prior to the game, the Spoofhounds already knew they would need to contain Jace Reynolds in order to win, but another Reynolds was added to the fold that they weren’t quite prepared for.
Stoecklein, who also plays defensive back for the ‘Hounds, said Harrisonville having both Reynolds brothers in the backfield gave them the advantage to be versatile on offense. He said they could go to either one at any time, and they’re both very physical runners.
“We just got to get better at tackling — swarming to the ball and wrapping and making the tackle, instead of them getting yards after the hit,” Stoecklein said.
Next week, Sept. 10, Maryville will begin Midland Empire Conference play against rival Chillicothe (2-0) in Chillicothe, Missouri.
“We’re going to get our stuff fixed by next week, I can promise you that,” Spire said. “I promise you our coaches are going to get our stuff fixed. We’re going to start listening to what they tell us, have good technique and we’re going to walk out with a win.”