After a 51-8 loss in its Week 1 matchup against Blair Oaks, Maryville football heads into Week 4 on a two-game winning streak, including an unblemished 1-0 Midland Empire Conference record.
An onslaught of 62 unanswered points gave the Spoofhounds (2-1) a 62-7 victory against conference rival Chillicothe (0-3) Sept. 11. The ’Hounds now turn their attention to their next opponent, the St. Pius X Warriors (3-0).
Maryville has had the home-field advantage the past two games but will now have to travel for the first time since Week 1. Last year during this time, the Spoofhounds were coming off a two-game road stretch, instead of preparing for one.
“The way the schedule flips, the guys know we’ll be on the road for the better part of the season until districts get here,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “This is a really tight-knit team, and when you go on the road, those are memories you make. Going on the road won’t be an issue at all.”
Like last season, Maryville finds itself 2-1 heading into Week 4, but senior running back Connor Weiss believes this is where the ball really gets rolling.
“Each year that we’ve been in and out, we’ve always been working as a team,” Weiss said. “We create this brotherhood, and it really starts to come together mid-season when we get going.”
The Spoofhounds have had continuous success against the Warriors since 2010, with a spotless 15-0 record, outscoring Pius with a combined score of 711-113. Those 15 games included a 62-6 thrashing against St. Pius X a season ago.
However, the Warriors’ 25-year coach Rick Beyers was relieved of his duties by the school administration after last season following a 3-7 campaign in 2019. Webb knew the impact Beyers had on his team throughout the years.
“Rick Beyers is in the hall of fame for a reason. Not only is he an excellent football coach, but he’s as high as a character person you can find in this business,” Webb said. “It’ll be a different feeling, but it’ll be a normal football game beyond that.”
Beyers’s replacement is Anthony Simone Jr., who has the Warriors sitting at 3-0, a position Pius hasn’t been in for more than 10 years.
Simone Jr. brings in a new coaching staff to Pius, but he is keeping a similar offensive scheme. The Spoofhounds are preparing for a pro-style offense, in which they will see multiple formations with a lot of shifts and motions.
The Warrior offense has seemed to have found a groove as they’ve scored more than 40 points in two of their three games this season. Last year, Pius scored more than 40 points once.
“They’re 3-0. They got a lot of confidence offensively, and they should,” Webb said. “They got some really good players and a really difficult scheme to defend. We’ll need to go out there and execute and tackle well. We have to play our style of defense.”
The Spoofhounds’ style of defense had trouble the first two weeks of the season, allowing a combined 91 points. After returning nine players from COVID-19 protocols, the defense returned to full power and showed as Maryville held Chillicothe to 7 points.
On defense, the Warriors are highly sound. They have not allowed a team to put up more than 25 points against them all season. St. Pius X had trouble stopping the Spoofhounds’ run-based offense in past seasons, but a new defensive scheme from the Warriors is looking to put a hold on the ’Hounds’ run game.
“We’re just focusing on the defensive alignments and how they differ from Chillicothe’s,” Webb said. “We’re going through our blocking schemes; that’s kind of the focus moving onto this week.”
The Warriors will look to continue to hold another opponent under 25 points, but Maryville will be a challenge. In the past two matchups, the Spoofhounds put up 42 against Harrisonville and 62 against Chillicothe for a combined total of 104 points.
The focus on blocking schemes will go much smoother this week than previous weeks, as the Spoofhounds return to full power on the offensive line. The return of junior offensive lineman Blake Casteel is capable of giving the line the power it needs to get a good push and returns players to their original positions.
Casteel and the offensive line’s presence was felt against Chillicothe as the Spoofhounds tallied 358 yards rushing. Senior running backs Weiss and Trey Houchin are looking to carry their combined five touchdown performance into the matchup with Pius.
“We really executed well upfront,” Webb said about the offense in the Week 3 matchup. “It showed how good our backs could be when we can have fresh legs and rotate as many guys as we can.”
Weiss was also thankful for the offensive lines’ effort.
“The line is going to get their blocks, because they’ve been doing that every time,” Weiss said. “They’re doing a great job at it.”
While St. Pius is bringing in a new coaching staff, defensive scheme and expectations into the matchup with Maryville, Webb and his team are ready.
“This is just another trip to St. Pius,” Webb said. “We’ll be excited for it.”