MHS football

Seniors Cade Gustafson and Tyler Houchin combine to take down Chillicothe running back Kam Ward in Maryville’s 47-0 win over the Hornets Sept. 7. Maryville’s defense has held opponents scoreless in two consecutive games.

Under coach Matt Webb, Maryville football has been defined by a certain ruggedness. The Spoofhounds are a team that seems to lack any knack for theatrics or unnecessary flare, led by a coach who intends it to be that way.

They work hard. They focus on fundamentals and execution. They prepare for every game like they’re going to win, and they fully expect to do so.

In all, they do their job. With the Spoofhounds (2-1, 1-0 MEC), there is no room for large egos or excessive flash.

This objective approach to the game is what has Maryville hitting its stride just three weeks into the season. As they head into their Week 4 matchup against St. Pius X (2-1, 1-0 MEC), the Spoofhounds appear to be in midseason form.

“I think every day there’s something to prove,” Webb said following the team’s Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks. “One of the mantras we talk about is ‘Win today.’ I think you prove yourself every day, and you prove yourself every season. We’ve got sayings like ‘Tradition never graduates.’ When you’ve got great tradition, you never have down years.”

So far, the 2018 Spoofhounds have epitomized Webb’s talking points unerringly. The whole season is one connected process, and Maryville’s focus is on building on said process each week, winning each day.

The process continues each week, regardless of the point differential from the last. Coming off a 47-0 win over Chillicothe, the second shutout in a row, Maryville is fixated on beating the Warriors.

“We’ve got to go on the road to St. Pius and play a good team,” Webb said. “We’ll have to prepare well all week for a good opponent and really make sure that we cover everything St. Pius does.”

Maryville hasn’t allowed a point since its Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks. The offense, which scored seven touchdowns in the win over Chillicothe, is firing on all cylinders.

Still, Webb is keen on improving. In some ways, the coach’s own devotion and responsibility to refinement is a driving force in the Spoofhounds’ success.

“I think we can continue to improve our techniques,” Webb said. “We had some penalties last week that we need to clean up. (We had) too many Friday night.”

The sentiments instilled by Webb and his coaching staff are evident through both his player’s actions and words. Senior running back Tyler Houchin echoed the same beliefs preached by Webb week in and week out.

“Each week, we’ve been watching a lot more film,” Houchin said. “The schemes are getting better for us to perform. We’ve been more aggressive on the ball.”

Houchin cited a heightened attention to coaching as a chief cause behind the Spoofhounds’ hot stretch. Staffed with an experienced and accomplished coaching personnel, Maryville is well equipped for the ups and downs that come with each season.

“(We have to) just keep doing what we’re doing,” Houchin said. “Be aggressive, keep watching film, watch plays throughout the week. (If we) just listen to our coaches, we’ll get better and better each week.”

For Maryville, the key to beating the Warriors lies in practice preparation, steered by a coach with an undying hunger for perfection.

“They’re a very well-coached team,” Webb said. “It’s going to take us a lot of discipline to go down and get a win Friday night.”

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