KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Lincoln College Prep football walked onto its blue turf field Oct. 9 showcasing three future Division I athletes, a high state ranking and a record of 4-1.
Maryville walked onto the same turf, with a .500 record at 3-3, which included the most regular-season losses for the program since 2007.
Maryville (4-3) brought something Lincoln (4-2) did not, and that was the energy and momentum needed to win a football game. The Spoofhounds’ high-octane energy led the way for a 49-10 victory.
Spoofhound coach Matt Webb preached throughout the week the mantra that great teams always beat great individuals when they execute well as a team.
“You don’t have to be the best team in the country every week,” Webb said. “You just have to be the best team on the field on the team you’re playing against. That was what we were able to accomplish tonight.”
With zero fans allowed into the stadium, the ’Hounds knew they would have to come into the matchup with their own energy. Maryville senior running back Connor Weiss said this energy was brought forth earlier in the week.
“We had a little bit of a Twitter war before the game,” Weiss said. “We were hyped up to have such a great opportunity to play a good team and dominate like we did.”
Maryville has found itself starting slow in recent weeks, something Webb wanted to fix against Lincoln. He told his players a fast start, and limiting mistakes, will go a long way for the Spoofhounds.
“The message going into the game was having a great start and being focused and executing, whether that be on offense, defense or special teams,” Webb said. “We had to eliminate the mistakes we made last week. The good execution tonight shows the players are listening and focused.”
The Tigers brought out two future Division I players in its offense. Senior quarterback Howard Brown, who stands at 6 feet, 2 inches and weighs 275 pounds was occupied by senior running back Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan.
The ’Hounds defense had to limit Brown from running the ball, who had more than 1,000 rushing yards last season, but also looking to stop the Tiger’s pass game, as Brown threw 17 passing touchdowns in 2019.
Maryville’s secondary kept Brown to 5 of 10 passing, two of those passes being intercepted. Senior linebacker Caleb Kreizinger and senior cornerback Matt Goodridge each tallied a pick.
Knowing that Lincoln relies on the deep passes, Webb had his secondary work on specific techniques throughout the week to keep his players in favorable positions.
“Our goal on the back end was to not give up any home runs. If they were going to throw the ball, make it be singles, and eventually they would get frustrated,” Webb said. “We really executed well, listened to coaches and had a good week of practice.”
The Spoofhound defensive line has been under a microscope in recent weeks but showcased its potential against the 275-pound quarterback.
Up 14-0 and knocking on the Tiger’s door for another score, Maryville junior quarterback Connor Drake threw an interception, which Lincoln returned to Maryville’s 5-yard line.
After a facemask foul, the Tigers had first down on the 1-yard line. Brown tried to barrel his way into the end zone twice, but was never able to break the goal line plane. Not being able to penetrate the ’Hounds line, the Tigers’ confusion led to a delay of game foul.
Backed up to the six-yard line, Lincoln gained 2 yards off of a toss, having the end result be a field goal. Webb praised his line for their goal-line stance.
“Our defensive line did a good job of maintaining the line of scrimmage and executing our defensive game plan,” Webb said. “What that did was really inspire some great team defense. Our defense really bowed its back there and held them to a field goal.”
Lincoln’s only touchdown came off a five-yard Brown run. Brown finished with 14 carries for 99 yards.
On the flip side, Maryville’s offense put up the second-most points of its season. Unable to establish a running identity against Odessa on Oct. 2, the Spoofhounds wanted to get back to their old ways.
Maryville saw nine different athletes get involved in the run game, three of which had one or more touchdowns rushing, and six reached double digits in yardage. The Spoofhounds ended with a combined total of 396 yards rushing.
“Getting the run game established early is a huge success in our books because in previous games we haven’t been able to fire off early,” Weiss said. “It opens so much stuff for our offense to be able to have during the rest of the game.”
Weiss, who failed to score against Odessa, found himself with 17 carries for 111 yards, finishing with two touchdown rushing. His partner in crime, senior running back Trey Houchin had 18 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown rushing.
“It’s great to have a good game, all credit goes to the lineman. They showed up big time tonight and we all played Spoofhound football,” Weiss said. “Almost everything seemed like it was working tonight and it felt great. When a team plays for their brothers next to them, they will beat a team full of individuals.”
On Maryville’s final drive, sophomore running back Andrew Burns got to run the ball once, which he took six yards into the end zone, capping the ’Hounds offense at 49 total points.
The Spoofhounds picked up its first win against a ranked opponent this season, now standing at 1-3. The ability to go on the road and face a confident team was huge for Maryville.
“It feels great. It’s one of those things where it was an important win and we talk about football teaching you a lot of life lessons,” Webb said. “What we called this tonight was a culture win. We’ve talked about throughout this season on the strength of schedule that we’ve played and how our guys have learned things through it.”
The win against Lincoln pushes Maryville above .500, but Webb isn’t worried about the game that was just played, as he already has his eyes set on the Oct. 16 rivalry game against Savannah.
“All we’re worried about is Savannah. It’s a huge game against a team that is playing very well and confident,” Webb said. “People grow up in Maryville not liking that team that is 30 minutes south of us, and people in Savannah grow up not liking that team that is 30 minutes north of them. It’s a rivalry game and we’ll be up for it.”