By the time the Maryville football plays its last regular-season game when Lafayette comes to town Oct. 25, the Spoofhounds will be a week removed from what was perhaps their most convincing win yet.
A 28-14 win over MEC rival Savannah left the ’Hounds (6-1) with at least a share of the conference championship. A win over the Fighting Irish (5-3) would leave the program with another outright MEC championship, along with coach Matt Webb’s 100th win at the helm of the Spoofhounds.
“This week is about our kids,” Webb said. “I understand that if we win, there’d be a lot of players to thank, a lot of coaches to thank, and I’d be very happy for that. But this game is about our kids and (Lafayette’s) kids trying to win a conference championship.”
A season that has a lone blemish from a Week 1 loss via the MSHSAA Class 3 No. 1 Blair Oaks leaves Maryville with a chance to get out of the regular season with one loss for the second year in a row.
In the Spoofhounds’ way of doing so is the Fighting Irish.
Much like the Maryville defense saw against the Savages, they’ll have the task of facing another dual-threat quarterback. South Dakota State University commit Daeton McGuaghy leads the offense for Lafayette, but not with just his arm. The athlete’s ability to get out of the pocket and use his legs to make plays will make for an interesting matchup, Webb said.
The game plans that the defense has brought into matchups against threats among the likes of McGuaghy, Webb said, have been the main reason Maryville has been relatively successful.
“(Lafayette) is always difficult to defend,” Webb said. “They’re very athletic on offense. They’ve got a Division I talent at quarterback, so very much a powerful offense. You look at who they’ve played, and they’ve been able to put up a lot of points.”
In the matchup against Savannah, Maryville’s defense held Savages’ quarterback Chase Spoonemore to 164 total yards. Prior to that game, the senior had accounted for more than 300 yards of offense per game for Savannah.
For junior running back and linebacker Connor Weiss, the approach to trying to minimize McGaughy’s damage is rather simple.
“We just have to have a hat on him at all times,” Weiss said. “We’ve got to get somebody on him. On defense especially, (McGaughy) plays safety and he makes plays. So we’ve just got to make sure we get to the point of attack and get to him.”
Offensively for the Spoofhounds, junior quarterback Ben Walker is looking to continue his streak of having at least one touchdown in every game to this point in the season. The junior was 8-of-16 with 145 yards and a touchdown against Savannah.
The trio in the backfield has served as the main accomplice to the high-powered offense that the Spoofhounds have been able to generate week-in and week-out. Consisting of senior Aiden Cullin and juniors Trey Houchin and Weiss, the running back committee compiled 170 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 28 attempts in their most recent showing.
“Stats are great but I really just focus on getting the win,” Walker said.
Earlier in the season, Webb explained that the team broke the regular season into three different segments of three weeks. With the stakes as high as they’ve been all year, and if they’re able to follow the recipe they’ve stuck to for the past seven weeks, the Spoofhounds will finish out the third phase hoisting not only a MEC championship, but the No. 1 seed in their district.
“The goal is to get a win, finish off the last phase and then get to those playoffs,” Weiss said. ”Then just doing what we can do from there and go get a state championship.”