Just like it had multiple times before during the night, there the football was — soaring through the air. It didn’t come from a player’s hands such as a quarterback throwing a pass. Instead, it came from a player’s foot, and unlike the rest of the kicks for the night, this one was to decide the game.
Three seconds remained in a Week 7 matchup between the Maryville Spoofhounds and the Lincoln College Prep Blue Tigers. Lincoln had just called the timeout following a stop on third down. The ball was placed at the line of scrimmage — Maryville’s 3-yard line — with Lincoln’s kicker trotting out onto the field and the game on the line.
The kick would decide if Maryville could complete its homecoming celebration and go above .500 for the first time this season or if Lincoln remained unscathed for at least another week.
Roughly three minutes prior to that moment, Maryville had just scored a go-ahead touchdown, courtesy of a 3-yard run by junior running back Cooper Loe to put the ’Hounds ahead 26-24.
“I had no idea the ball was coming to me,” Loe said. “But I’m still trying to prove a point every single play and every single chance I get to get the ball.”
Loe can give thanks to a big play by his teammates for setting him up.
A 41-yard pass off a trick play from senior running back Tyler Siemer to sophomore receiver Delton Davis put the Spoofhounds in enemy territory on the first play of the soon-to-be scoring drive.
Siemer said he never practiced that play before.
“Never, not one time,” Siemer said. “I just got the ball, saw Delton down there and threw it.”
All of that was behind them, though, as the ball sat in the hands of Lincoln’s long snapper. The ‘Hound Pound was anything but a quiet place, with both groups of fans seemingly competing for who was louder — one cheering for the kick to miss its mark and one cheering for the kick to split the uprights of the north end zone.
The outcome was the latter, and the Blue Tigers spoiled Maryville’s homecoming with a 27-26 win.
“Should’ve made stops when we had an opportunity,” Webb said.
Webb — a defensive-minded coach who calls the defense’s plays — said he made some bad calls, and the Spoofhounds need to find better ways to get off the field on defense.
The field goal allowed the Blue Tigers (7-0) to continue the season with an unblemished record, and marked the first time since Webb was hired in 2012, that the Spoofhounds (3-4) lost a homecoming game, lost two games in the ‘Hound Pound and lost four games overall in the regular season.
Senior quarterback Connor Drake said it’s a tough loss to deal with, knowing the defense was able to hold the Blue Tigers to their lowest scoring output of the season.
“We missed a few things we needed to execute, but just knowing we hang around teams like that is a great feeling,” Drake said.
It was a game of runs until the very end. The Spoofhounds scored two touchdowns on as many drives to get things going in the first quarter — one rushing by Drake and one passing from Drake to Siemer.
Drake said the offense did a great job to start the game but wasn’t able to remain consistent throughout. That could be seen when Lincoln went on a 24-0 run before the Spoofhounds scored the aforementioned fourth-quarter touchdown.
“I thought our offense did a really great job tonight, and I’m very proud of the kids on the field and the way they executed,” Webb said.
Webb said they had some guys moving around up front since they were without starting center sophomore Elias Alarcon in the first half. He said they also had backs coming in and out due to the absence of junior running back Caden Stoecklein — the team’s leading rusher — and backup running back junior Adrian McGee.
Maryville fell victim to three fumbles, and Lincoln recovered all three, two of which aided Lincoln’s scoring run.
“We know we’re not supposed to fumble,” Webb said. “We can work on our pitch relationship better, but that’s definitely worked on. Again, we got some new backs out there, so you don’t have time to practice.”
This game has no implications for district or playoff standings, and Maryville remains third in the Midland Empire Conference with a 3-1 conference record.
That will change next week, though, as the Spoofhounds will stay in the ‘Hound Pound to take on MEC rival Savannah for the annual matchup for the Highway 71 trophy.
“They’ve had their ups and downs this year, and so have we,” Webb said. “That’s always a heated rivalry and we want to keep that sign.”