Maryville football earned an impressive victory in the second round of district play, defeating Chillicothe 38-7 at the ‘Hound Pound Nov 2.
The Spoofhounds (10-1) didn’t put up exorbitant offensive numbers, nor did they hold their opponent scoreless in the contest, but in a way, the win was one of the most impressive of the year for the team.
Following an unexpected week off in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 tournament, the ‘Hounds faced a tough opponent in Chillicothe without dynamic senior running back Eli Dowis, and without starting quarterback Ben Walker and starting halfback Connor Weiss.
Still, the shorthanded Spoofhounds played a quietly dominant game. Maryville began the contest quickly, scoring in the opening minutes on a 43-yard touchdown run by senior running back Korbin Koch.
From there, Maryville kept building.
“We talk about having a fast start,” coach Matt Webb said. “We haven’t trailed since Blair Oaks (in Week 1), and that means we’re having fast starts and our guys are executing.”
The fast start sustained for the duration of the first half. Senior Tyler Houchin ran for two touchdowns in the half, while junior receiver Tate Oglesby was involved in two of his own. Junior quarterback Tyler Haer found Oglesby in the end zone just seconds before the end of the second quarter for a 9-yard score, putting Maryville up 31-0 at the break.
Haer, who usually serves as the backup quarterback to Walker, made just his second career start in the contest.
“It’s the next man up,” Webb said. “I think that’s a good determination of a team, not individuals. We’ve got a really good team bond right now, and it’s the next man up mentality. We know that if we’re going to accomplish our goals and win a district championship next week, it’s going to take the entire team. I’m very proud of Tyler Haer.”
While Haer showed poise in his playoff debut at quarterback, Oglesby shined throughout the game, serving as a spark for Maryville on both sides of the ball.
The junior first etched his name on the stat sheet with an interception off Chillicothe quarterback Jaden Winder in the first quarter. Perhaps what was Oglesby’s most impressive sequence came later in the half, when he took snaps at quarterback and connected with fellow junior wideout Deon Metezeir on two deep passes, the latter of which was good for a 25-yard score.
“Tate Oglesby; obviously I think when you fill the stat sheet with an interception, a touchdown pass, and a touchdown reception…(he has) excellent talent,” Webb said. “I’m glad he’s a Spoofhound.”
By the time the final horn sounded, Oglesby recorded a touchdown as both a receiver and a quarterback and logged yards as a rusher and a punt returner to go along with his interception. Thrust into a more prominent role due to the unavailability of Dowis, Walker and Weiss, Oglesby responded, serving as a Swiss Army Knife of sorts for the Spoofhounds in the second round of district play.
“It feels great, knowing that coach (Matt) Houchin and the coaching system has confidence in me to do what I need,” Oglesby said. “If I can step up and make a play for my team, then I do whatever I can.”
After a dynamic first half, the offense cooled after the break. Houchin, who has received the bulk of Maryville’s meaningful carries in the wake of Dowis and Weiss’ absence, accounted for the team’s only score of the second half, coming on a 31-yard carry for a touchdown.
“It felt really good to get three touchdowns on a conference rival,” Houchin said. “Our line did really well. I just ran. They blocked everything, I just ran straight. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Houchin showed flashes of speed in that game that seemed to be unprecedented for the running back. Early in the first quarter, Houchin flew past every Hornet on the field en route to a 53-yard score.
“I’ve just been eating less Oreos and junk food and stuff like that,” Houchin said. “(I) started eating a little better and got a little more on the track.”
In two games against Chillicothe this season, Maryville allowed just seven points. In the aftermath of a playoff win, the Spoofhounds were in high spirits. The oft-stonefaced Webb joked about his “playoff beard” featuring more gray hairs than the year before.
Having won their 59th-consecutive home game and bringing themselves to the brink of a district championship, the ‘Hounds took a moment-- however brief-- to bask in their victory. And then turned their focus to what lies ahead.
“This is a special place,” Webb said. “This is refreshing feeling. The guys were honestly bored last week when you don’t get to play. We need to have a lot of people at the game next week. This is a huge game, it’s a district championship-- you only get to play for those one time in your life. We need to make sure we’ve got everyone in Maryville out here next week.”