After a season’s worth of dominant performances, and a cakewalk through the first two rounds of postseason play, Maryville football will take on Savannah in the Class 3 District 8 Championship Nov. 9.
The Spoofhounds (10-1) dismissed Chillicothe 38-7 Nov. 2 in the second round of districts, living to fight another week. Now, Maryville will host the Savages at the ‘Hound Pound, renewing the Highway-71 rivalry game for an encore performance.
Both teams have forged a unique path to the district title game, yet the parallels between each path are present. Like Maryville, Savannah (8-3) moved past a conference opponent with ease in the second round, beating St. Pius X 50-10.
Each team enters the district championship matchup on the heels of an impressive win. Coach Matt Webb was pleased with the Spoofhounds’ performance against the Hornets, a game they won despite playing without the help of three key players in senior running back Eli Dowis, sophomore quarterback Ben Walker and sophomore halfback Connor Weiss.
“We continued to step up as a team,” Webb said. “I was pleased with the way our kids executed. We had a lot of guys stepping up, whether it’s (junior) Tyler Haer at quarterback, obviously (junior) Tate Oglesby had a great night. Those things don’t happen without some great line play up front. I just think we’re playing really good as a team right now.”
Both Maryville and Savannah stumbled early in the season, with losses to out-of-conference opponents. The Savages started the season with consecutive losses to Grain Valley and Pleasant Hill, while the Spoofhounds suffered a season-opening loss to Blair Oaks.
From there, each team steadied. Maryville has ripped off 10-straight wins since its Week 1 loss, while Savannah has won eight of its last nine games, with the lone loss in that stretch coming by a score of 41-7 to the Spoofhounds Oct. 12.
“Well they’re an excellent football team,” Webb said. “I think you throw out the last time we played them...that game was played under very adverse field conditions. With the rain and the standing water on the field, it really limited what that game could have been as far as execution and stuff for both teams, so you kind of throw that game out.”
Maryville’s offense enters the game averaging just over 45 points per game, though a technical 2-0 victory over Northeast Kansas City Oct. 26 due to forfeiture lowers this average by decent margin. Defensively, the Spoofhounds have allowed 7.64 points per contest.
Savannah’s offensive numbers closely mirror those of Maryville. The Savages are scoring at a clip of 49.2 points per game heading into the district title match up, while their defense is allowing 15.11 points per game since Week 3.
“Since we played them last, they’ve played three football games and they’ve only given up 10 points,” Webb said. “They’re playing great defense, so expect a very competitive football game this Friday night. They kids will be excited and it’ll be a great week.”
For one last week, Maryville will suit up under the Friday night lights at the ‘Hound Pound. The challenge awaiting the Spoofhounds will be the toughest of the season.
“We’ve just got to watch film, study hard,” junior wide receiver Tate Oglesby said. “They’re a tough team, obviously, I mean they’ve made it this far. We’ll just go out there and play our game.”
Oglesby’s performance in Maryville’s win over Chillicothe was of the best of the season for the wideout. Oglesby logged snaps at both receiver and quarterback, as well as defensive back, recording a passing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, and interception Hornets’ quarterback Jaden Winder in the game.
The use of multiple looks at quarterback could be a recurring theme heading into the matchup against Savannah. The absence of Walker has left a hole at the position, one that has mostly been filled by Haer. As the ‘Hounds head deeper into the postseason, no option is off the table.
“We’re going to find ways to win as a team,” Webb said. “If we feel like we’ve got a better opportunity with Tyler at quarterback to make plays, help us advance the ball and execute our offense, then we’ll do that. And if it’s Tate, then we’ll do that. It’s one of those things where it’s all about the team.”
The offensive personnel may be different, and the stakes may be raised, but for Maryville, the preparation for Savannah will not differ from the norm.
“It’s going to be tough,” senior running back Tyler Houchin said. “They’re a very good Savannah team, and we’re just going to prepare for them like we do every week.”