Maryville football enters its third week of play with a clean slate. Following a Week 2 36-0 shutout win over Harrisonville, the Spoofhounds (1-1) will face off against rival Chillicothe (0-2) Sep. 7, boasting an even record, with their proverbial ship righted.
The Spoofhounds’ performance versus Harrisonville contrasted sharply with Maryville’s 38-35 Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks. The same defense that struggled mightily against the Falcons held firm when facing the Wildcats.
Although the Spoofhounds improved dramatically over the course of one week, the job is nowhere near complete. For coach Matt Webb and company, the pursuit of perfection is endless.
“Every week, you look and see what you did right and what you did wrong,” Webb said. “Good football teams improve on those things throughout the season. We need to get better.”
Chillicothe is a familiar opponent for the Spoofhounds. The two teams faced off twice last season, each winning one game. After being shutout 24-0 by the Hornets early in the season, Maryville prevailed in the game that mattered most, beating Chillicothe 20-12 for the Class 3 District 8 Championship.
That was then, this is now. Chillicothe possess a new coaching staff, headed by Tim Ruo, and with them, a new offensive system. In all, last year’s games mean nothing.
“We don’t look at last year at all,” Webb said. “Last year’s done and gone. They have a brand new coaching staff. Tim Rulo’s a good coach, and he’s got a good system, they just haven’t gelled yet.”
Due to soggy field conditions, Maryville will take on Chillicothe at Bearcat Stadium. The game will still be considered a home match for the Spoofhounds.
With a rivalry week in full swing, the stakes are that much higher. In short, Chillicothe’s 0-2 start means little now.
“This is a rivalry game,” Webb said. “These are two communities that are very proud of their high school football programs, and there’s been a lot of great rivalry games where it doesn’t matter what your record. They’ll be coming in ready to beat us, and we’re going to have to defend our home field.”
For the Spoofhounds, the term “home field advantage” means more than it does to most. Playing their home games at the ‘Hound Pound offers a distinctive edge, one that many teams will never experience.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Webb said. “We’ve got a tradition here of winning on our home field, and you can’t really say why, I just know it’s a tough place to play.”
Advantage aside, Chillicothe will still offer the Spoofhounds a stout test. Senior running back Eli Dowis expects Maryville to take the challenge in stride.
“(It’s going to take) a total from everybody,” Dowis said. “The ‘Hounds are out for blood.”
In some ways, rivalry weeks bring with them a dose of nostalgia. In Maryville particularly, games against Chillicothe give the community one more reason to both support the Spoofhounds and reflect on years past with an increased feel of sentimentality.
“High school football Friday nights are something you remember for the rest of your life,” Webb said. “Our community, our student body and everyone involved in it--from the game operations to the fans, to the cheer and dance team, the student section--it’s a unique environment, and our kids really appreciate it.”