Maryville football sees senior night victory

Senior defensive lineman Cade Gustafson wrestles down St. Joseph Benton’s Cade Stone in Maryville’s 58-8 Senior Night victory over the Cardinals Sept. 28.

Maryville football enters Week 7 of its season in the same state it has every week since the third: on the heels of a dominant victory. The Spoofhounds will look to continue the trend Oct. 5 against Bishop LeBlond at the ‘Hound Pound.

Maryville (5-1, 4-0 MEC) has won five consecutive games, including four-straight MEC matchups. A 58-8 senior night thrashing of St. Joseph-Benton was the last in a series of superior performances for the ‘Hounds.

The win streak has been nothing short of impressive. Maryville allowed more points in its Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks (38) than it has in the five games since (20). Further, all 20 of the points allowed by the ‘Hounds over the last five weeks have come in the second half when the ‘Hounds starters have predominantly been sidelined due to the large point differentials.

The extra rest for noteworthy Maryville starters has been a key to staying fresh as the season winds down. After Maryville’s matchup with LeBlond (0-6, 0-4 MEC), just two regular season games remain on the schedule.

“At this point in the season, we’re in the middle of an MEC conference race,” coach Matt Webb said. “We know we’ve got LeBlond, Savannah and Lafayette left on our schedule. If we want to be able to be conference champions, we’re going to need to really perform our best these last three weeks of the regular season.”

In some ways, Maryville’s last pair of opponents in the regular season will provide a test, as well as a dry-run for the postseason. Savannah (4-2, 4-0 MEC) and Lafayette (5-1, 3-1 MEC) stand the biggest chance of challenging the Spoofhounds for the conference crown.

“Those two teams, Savannah and Lafayette, are still right there in the middle of it,” Webb said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re operating on all cylinders and healthy, and there’s a juggling act there in making sure you work hard enough in practice throughout the week to maintain conditioning.”

Even with the postseason in sight, and approaching a team with an inferior roster and record, the ‘Hounds won’t overlook Week 7. Webb said he has all the respect in the world for LeBlond and coach Tony Dudik.

“I respect every coach in the MEC but there’s none that I respect more than Tony Dudik,” Webb said. “He’s a legend… I think he’s coached longer than I’ve been alive. He’s a man that does things the right way. His players always play hard; when you watch them play, they play the right way.”

The ‘Hounds figure to continue to lean on their duo of senior running backs in Eli Dowis and Tyler Houchin. Houchin said Maryville will ready for the game as it would any other.

“(LeBlond) is young,” Houchin said. “We’re just going to prepare like we always do with film, have a good Tuesday and Wednesday at practice, and just study film and watch them.”

Despite what the record or statistics may suggest, LeBlond will provide a toilsome test for the ‘Hounds. Maryville will be geared up for the task at hand.

“I think (LeBlond) is going to spread it out a little bit, hit us with some trick plays,” Dowis said. “It’s a week where we’re just going to have to stay disciplined and keep playing hard the whole game no matter what the scoreboard says.”

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