SAVANNAH, Mo. — In 2011, Maryville football had to watch Savannah raise the coveted Highway 71 trophy upon their heads, an image the Spoofhounds did not want to see in the near future.
A year later, Spoofhound coach Matt Webb was hired, and since 2012, he has not let his team hand the trophy over to the Savages.
Maryville (5-2, 3-1 MEC) traveled 30 minutes south to face rival Savannah (4-2, 3-1 MEC) and got to keep the Highway 71 trophy in Maryville for another year, winning 39-17.
Senior running back Connor Weiss takes Savannah week seriously, and wanted to end his career with a spotless 4-0 record against the Savages.
“It means alot. Not a big fan of Savage nation,” Weiss said. “It’s always sweeter to get that victory, and keep the sign home in Maryville.”
Maryville has been tagged with the notion of starting games slow, but the Spoofhounds erased any previous conception of this.
On the second play of the game, Weiss found an open seam, and got to show his true speed as he ran 57 yards to secure the first points of the game.
“I was just being patient, and waited for my line to get the block,” Weiss said. “I saw the hole and I ran with it, that’s what speed do.”
For the Spoofhound backs to have breakout performances, the credit begins up front. Junior lineman Blake Casteel knew Savannah would be bigger and pose a physical threat, but the line was ready for the challenge.
“It just took us a little bit in the season to get going, way longer than it should’ve,” Casteel said. “We finally started firing on all cylinders, and doing what we do.”
The line made way for Weiss to have a standout night. On Maryville’s second possession of the game, Weiss found the end zone once again, this time from 17 yards out.
Weiss tallied another touchdown before halftime, breaking through arm tackles to reach the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown rushing.
Weiss finished with 3 touchdowns rushing, and helped pave way for a 26-9 lead at halftime. Webb was proud of his team for starting fast.
“It speaks volumes for our kids really buying into what the message was, and the message was you know what, we learned that if we have great energy at the beginning of the game with great execution, great things happen,” Webb said. “The guys are really sold out and listening to coaches, and coaches did a great job of calling the offense.”
The other six points of the first half came from Weiss’s partner in crime, senior running back Trey Houchin.
On the Spoofhounds’ third possession of the game, Houchin broke off a 15-yard scamper. Houchin wasn’t done however, and finished the same possession with a eight yard touchdown rushing.
The offense couldn’t take all the spotlight in the first half, as the defense looked to contain Savannah senior running back Evan Yount, who is averaging more than 200 yards a game.
The Savages traded places with the Spoofhounds, finding themselves starting slower than they would’ve liked.
The first two possessions for Savannah resulted in zero points. The Savages started the game with a three and out, and followed with Maryville senior linebacker Caleb Kreizinger grabbing an interception.
Sophomore Savage quarterback Ethan Dudeck got the nod to start the game, and found himself squeaking into the end zone on a quarterback sneak from a yard out towards the end of the first quarter.
However, Dudeck would see nothing but trouble the remainder of the first half, tallying another interception, this time in the hands of senior cornerback Matt Goodridge.
Dudeck would find himself banged up near halftime after being sacked, an occurrence that happened throughout the night.
“It’s always nice to get in the backfield, it just flusters the other team,” Casteel said. “Webb was calling in blitzes and we were doing the best we could to operate them.”
The third quarter showed promise for Maryville, as Houchin ran 59-yards before stepping out on the 1-yard line.
“The line blocked it perfectly; I saw a gap and I shot it, and I cut back,” Houchin said. “It was a good moment.”
Webb wanted to see his running back get the touchdown, and Houchin delivered on a 1-yard touchdown rushing. Houchin finished the game with two rushing touchdowns.
The Spoofhound defense saw two different quarterbacks in the second half. Juniors Matt Collier and Tyson Hilsabeck would line up behind center.
Collier would end up with a 2-yard touchdown on an option play, while Hilsabeck would end the night with an interception to Houchin.
Facing three quarterbacks was not a challenge for the Spoofhounds.
“I was pleased with how our defense responded,” Webb said. “We did some different things defensively to mess up some reads that they had.”
For the eighth straight season, Maryville traveled back 30 minutes north with the Highway 71 trophy by its side.
“The kids are executing. We do know that if we take care of business, then we’ll set ourselves up really good in districts,” Webb said. “ The kids just need to focus in on going in and playing. We want to maintain the consistency we have going into Lafayette next week.”