ODESSA, Mo. — Another week, another road game for Maryville football as the Spoofhounds traveled to face the Odessa Bulldogs Oct. 2 after their original homecoming matchup against Benton was canceled due to quarantined staff and players.
Maryville (3-3) continued its road woes against Odessa (6-0) after losing a grip on the game during the second half, losing 28-14.
The Bulldogs came in having won 20 consecutive games, which has them ranked No. 2 in Class 3. The defending Class 3 champions are the third ranked team Maryville has lost to this season, the others being Blair Oaks in Week 1 and St. Pius X in Week 4.
“This is a great team,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said about Odessa. “You don’t get much improvement when you play lesser teams. To play against good opponents — that really test you — we can make improvements.”
The Spoofhounds started the first half of the week with uncertainty, unable to find an opponent after contacting schools in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas.
Mat Beu, Maryville’s athletic director, was able to schedule Odessa after Warrensburg canceled on the Bulldogs due to COVID-19 related issues Sept. 30.
“In this environment, we want to play every chance we can get,” Beu said. “Nothing is guaranteed tomorrow, the next week, or the week after that.”
The short notice made it hard for both teams to plan for each other, but Maryville took to the challenge.
The Bulldogs had allowed 38 points through the first five games of the season, and Maryville’s offense was looking to showcase its offensive prowess.
While Maryville is generally a run-based team, junior quarterback Connor Drake showed off his arm against the Bulldogs’ stout defense.
Trailing 7-0 with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Maryville lined up on its own 20-yard line. Senior wideout Kade Wilmes used his speed to get behind the safety, and Drake placed the ball in the outstretched arms of Wilmes on a 25-yard pass, which ended with Wilmes taking it all the way for an 80-yard touchdown.
“As you progress through the season, week-to-week, I’m getting better,” Drake said. “I’m watching more film, understanding and my line is giving me excellent time to throw the ball downfield.”
That wouldn’t be the only play Drake made on the night, as he tried to revive the Spoofhounds, who were down 28-7 with 4:53 remaining in the game.
On Odessa’s 20 yard line, Drake dropped back and threw a back-shoulder pass to senior wideout Caleb Kreizinger, who was able to drag both feet in the end zone before he was wrestled down.
“(Drake) knows not to make the mistakes he makes,” Webb said. “He had some really good throws, obviously saw some good progression.”
At halftime, Maryville’s offense tallied seven points, but the Spoofhounds trailed by 7 points. Both of the Bulldogs’ touchdowns came off of costly mistakes from the ’Hounds punting team.
The first mistake came during Maryville’s first possession, as the punt was blocked and returned for a 23-yard touchdown. The second miscue came when a low snap forced junior punter Tyler Siemer to put his knee down while attempting to scoop the ball up, which gave the Bulldogs the football on Maryville’s 24-yard line.
Maryville’s defense went into the matchup with the task of stopping the powerhouse Bulldog offense. Odessa went into the matchup scoring 220 points through the first five games this season.
While keeping the Bulldogs at bay through the first half, the defense was called upon more in the third quarter, with three straight turnovers from the Spoofhounds’ offense.
Although the ’Hounds’ defense was on the field for a majority of the second half, it held Odessa to its lowest scoring game of the season. Senior linebacker Drew Spire saw improvement from the defensive side of the ball.
“We all came in ready, it was a good game, and I love all my guys,” Spire said. “It was just a couple plays here and there that got them ahead.”
The big plays came from Odessa’s junior running back Balke Heitman. Heitman had a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, a 75-yard score in the third quarter and secured a hat trick with a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a damn good runner,” Spire said. “He finds holes and he hits them hard and he hits them fast. It’s very difficult to get him down.”
Besides Heitman, the Bulldogs’ offense struggled to get others involved. Webb praised his team’s effort on defense.
“I thought our effort was really good. We got some good stops,” Webb said. “It was one of those things where that was a total game of adjustments.”
The Spoofhounds are sitting at 0-3 against ranked opponents on the year, but Webb believed his team made strides, despite another loss.
“Our effort was great, and I thought our kids played hard,” Webb said. “There’s no excuse to lose. You have to take advantage of the opportunities when they’re there and not create opportunities for them.”
The Spoofhounds will face their fourth ranked opponent when they travel to Kansas City, Missouri, to take on Class 4’s No. 6 Lincoln College Prep Oct. 9.