It’s been said that history has a way of repeating itself, and that déjà vu moment arose on Nov. 6 when the No. 3-seeded Cameron Dragons traveled to Maryville for the Class 3 District 8 semifinal.
Maryville (8-3) had its second meeting with Cameron (7-4) of the season, coming out victorious by a score of 41-13.
Like the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 25, the Spoofhounds secured a win. Maryville senior running back Connor Weiss tallied three rushing touchdowns in the first meeting between the two programs. He did it again this time around.
“The line opens up holes and me just running,” Weiss said on how he finds success against Cameron. “They do their part, and I do my part. We just click as a team.”
Weiss’s first touchdown came with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Tied at zero, Weiss took the handoff in motion, and was untouched for 68 yards due to two crucial pancake blocks courtesy of senior offensive lineman Jackson Ozanne.
“The play we were running was sweep right, and I’m the backside guard on that. I come around and I see that guy — and I know Connor is going to be right behind me — so I go and hit the first guy,” Ozanne said. “I see the second guy out by the sideline, and I know if I can somehow get there before he gets to Connor, it’s going to be a touchdown.”
Having a trusted lineman who can get to their blocks quickly and bulldoze over opponents is a beautiful sight, Weiss said.
“Oh, It’s awesome. Whenever you see a blowup (block) you know you have to try and take it to the end zone,” Weiss said. “That just completes the highlight reel.”
A possession later, after a failed extra point left the Spoofhounds with a 6-0 lead, Weiss found a huge hole on the left side, and trotted into the end zone for a 13-yard score.
The first two drives for the ’Hounds resulted in zero points, with the line sturggling to fine its groove. Maryville coach Matt Webb said he knew his lineman would figure it out.
“Really, we didn’t say much, and we stayed patient. We kept running what was working, and again, I think we kind of warmed down a bit and ran our base plays — we just blocked it well,” Webb said. “You cannot put enough emphasis on the execution that they learned from practice. For them to focus on a really good opponent and just come and execute and play well, and play physical, our kids did that tonight.”
Weiss captured his last touchdown 25 seconds before halftime. With the Spoofhounds leading 20-0, Weiss caught a pitch from junior quarterback Connor Drake and stayed on his feet after a Cameron defender dove at his knees. Weiss had green grass ahead, and ran 82 yards to further the Spoofhounds’ lead.
“(Weiss) had some long runs. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our kids for listening to coaching, and having a great week of practice,” Webb said. “This is what happens when you prepare really well. For you to be able to run like that against a quality opponent, that’s a good football team. Connor had a great night.”
Two of the remaining three rushing touchdowns came from Maryville senior running back Trey Houchin from 13-yards out. Junior running back Drew Spire finished the night for the Spoofhounds with a 17-yard touchdown with three minutes left in the contest.
The Dragons’ lone weapon against the Spoofhounds in both matchups was junior wideout Ty Speer. With six minutes remaining in the game, Speer trucked into the end zone from 6-yards out, and later bullied his way for a 3-yard touchdown with five seconds left.
The Spoofhounds’ win makes it 14 straight against the Dragons, and their second win against Cameron in the post season since 2016.
The No. 1-seeded Richmond Spartans (8-1) defeated Chillicothe (3-8) in their semifinal matchup by a score of 62-41. The win punches the Spartans’ ticket to the Class 3 District 8 championship game against the Spoofhounds.
The game on Nov. 13 will be the first time Maryville is the lower seed in the postseason this year, and will be the first time the Spoofhounds won’t play at home in the district tournament.
“We’re the underdogs from here on out, and we should be. Richmond is an excellent football team. Our kids will be ready and we’ll be excited,” Webb said. “We were able last year to not win a district championship for the first time in 10 years. It’s playoff football. This is our mindset and our kids will be ready to go down to Richmond and get a win.”