MaryvilleWeek1

Senior defensive lineman Cade Gustafson misses a tackle on Blair Oaks quarterback Nolan Hair in Maryville's 38-35 loss to Blair Oaks Aug. 25 at William Jewell University. 

LIBERTY, Mo. — Maryville football came up short in its season opener against Blair Oaks Aug 24. The Spoofhounds fell to the Falcons 38-35 in a rematch of the 2017 Class 3 State Tournament semifinals game.

The reigning-champion Spoofhounds’ (0-1) backs were against the wall early in the game, allowing the Falcons to score a touchdown on their opening drive following a Maryville three-and-out to begin the game.

While Maryville was able to pressure Blair Oaks (1-0) quarterback Nolan Hair, his mobility coupled with the Falcons’ run-pass-option offense proved to be a lethal combination.

“They were running an RPO (run/pass option) scheme that we hadn’t gameplanned for,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “We couldn’t adjust quick enough.”

The Spoofhounds’ offense stalled throughout the first quarter. Following a Riley Lentz rushing touchdown and a seamless connection between Hair and receiver Brayden Pritchett, packaged with a pair of failed point-after attempts, Blair Oaks held a commanding 19-0 lead over Maryville entering the second quarter.

“It’s one of those things where we’ve got to be better,” Webb said. “(Blair Oaks) was extremely motivated, I don’t think we were, and that’s my fault.”

The Spoofhounds began their trek along the comeback trail with an explosive play from senior standout Eli Dowis. Dowis received a short screen pass just yards beyond the line of scrimmage and burned down the sideline for an 88-yard score.

Fellow senior Tyler Houchin added a touchdown of his own, and the Spoofhounds entered halftime trailing the Falcons 19-14.

Just minutes into the second half, senior Jason Bagley intercepted Hair and returned the pick for a touchdown, giving the Spoofhounds a short-lived 21-19 lead.

The Falcons responded with two unanswered touchdown passes from the right arm of Hair. Each came along with unsuccessful point-after-attempt, but the Falcons’ took a commanding 31-21 lead into the fourth quarter regardless.

“We just couldn’t keep the momentum,” Webb said. “It’s going to take a lot of coaching, and a lot of kids listening to coaching. We’ll get there.”

Maryville mounted another valiant comeback attempt in the fourth, scoring again on a short Houchin to pull within three points. Ultimately, the Spoofhounds’ defense failed to make a crucial stop late in the game, allowing the Falcons to convert for a touchdown on fourth and 11 with just over three minutes left on the clock. The score gave Blair Oaks a 38-28 lead.

Ben Walker and Tate Oglesby connected on a last-second touchdown, although the heroics were in vein. The touchdown cut Blair Oaks’ lead to 38-35, where it would remain for the remainder of the game.

“(Blair Oaks is) a good football team,” Webb said.. “Give them a lot of credit, because they beat us.”

For Blair Oaks, the game’s outcome offered a serving of revenge. For Maryville, the loss offered an opportunity for growth.

“You make a lot of improvement between week one and week two,” Webb said. “In the past, we’ve been able to open up with a win. This year, we’ve got an opportunity to be 0-1 and make a lot of improvement.”

While briefly the loss seems to picture the Spoofhounds as a team trafficking in uncertainty, it may also provide lessons for a more substantial road ahead.

“Everybody needs to remember every season is a new season,” Webb said. “One game does not make a season.”

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