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.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.