Another week brings another road game for Maryville football, and the Spoofhounds find themselves winless when traveling. After being 0-2 away from the ’Hound Pound this season, the team will look to change that when they play Cameron Sept. 25 in Cameron, Missouri.
A game in which Maryville (2-2) never led, the Spoofhounds found themselves within striking distance against St. Pius X Sept. 18. However, a game-winning drive with under four minutes in the game gave St. Pius all the wiggle room it needed, and the Warriors won 26-14. This week, the Spoofhounds hope to change their road woes against Cameron (3-1).
“We need to go down and be in an attacking mood,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “I understand our two losses have come on the road, so we just need to find a way to load the bus and go down to beat a team on the road.”
In the two away games of the 2020 season, the ’Hounds have scored 22 total points, compared to 104 points in their two home games. In the two losses, the Spoofhounds’ offensive line has had trouble getting a push, which hinders Maryville’s run-based offense.
“Being able to set the run game early is critical because it can cause a lot of positive momentum on our side,” Maryville senior running back Connor Weiss said. “We need to have the ability to keep improving each drive when we set the tone. Once we have momentum, we need to keep it throughout the game.”
Webb has been known to preach the concept of process football throughout his tenure at Maryville. It’s easier to see this concept on the playing field, but Webb says it starts at practice and on Fridays when players are tuned into the game.
“It’s not like it’s a magic sauce. I don’t get a magic drink to help go win on the road compared to home. There’s nothing magical about it,” Webb said. “You have to take care of the process throughout the week, then go down and do the same thing during the game.”
In the past 12 games against the Dragons, the Spoofhounds have found themselves in the win column every time. Weiss remembers how the ’Hounds played the Dragons in the past, and he wants to keep that same approach.
“Our mental approach to the game has stayed the same in the past and needs to remain the same this week,” Weiss said. “We just need to remember what Maryville football is about and be able to produce.”
Last year, Maryville’s offense was able to produce five rushing touchdowns from a variety of running backs. This year, with the offensive running back trio of Weiss, senior Trey Houchin and sophomore Caden Stocklein, the Spoofhounds have an opportunity to replicate that performance, but it all starts up front.
“We need to win the line of scrimmage better. We need to play better up front and open holes for our backs,” Webb said. “We have to be able to run the football.”
In road games this season, the Spoofhounds have allowed a combined 77 points, which is 30 more than they’ve allowed at home.
The troubles could continue this week, as Cameron is led by senior quarterback Tyler Campbell. Campbell is a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays on his feet but also has the ability to throw the ball.
Weiss, who also plays safety, knows the defense will have to step up their overall performance if they want to keep Campbell and the Dragons’ offense in check.
“Everybody on all surfaces needs to be able to do their job consistently,” Weiss said. “We need to improve from last week tremendously. We need to play with some more heart.”
Like St. Pius, Cameron comes into this matchup with some momentum. The 3-1 start is the best start to a season for the Dragons since 2013 when they finished at 8-4. They’ve also picked up their first MEC win and snapped a 14-year losing streak to Chillicothe Sept. 18.
The Dragons and Spoofhounds have faced similar opponents so far this season. Cameron found itself losing to St. Pius X 42-22 Sept. 11 but rebounded with a 48-21 win against Chillicothe. Maryville has had the same experiences with those wins and losses.
“We need to start off early and knock their confidence down,” Weiss said. “After doing that, we need to keep applying pressure.”
Aside from picking up a road win, this game has bigger implications for the Spoofhounds. Maryville is 1-1 in the MEC and no longer has full control of its own destiny. Maryville has to continue winning, while hoping for a St. Pius loss.
“It sucks, but we just need to keep playing as hard as we can week-in and week-out,” Weiss said. “We have to do the best we can and play Maryville football.”
A win also becomes crucial against Cameron as Maryville is unsure of what’s to come in its Week 6 matchup. What was originally supposed to be a home game against the Benton Cardinals is now being classified as a bye week.
According to Maryville Athletic Director Mat Beu, Benton had to cancel its next two games due to quarantined players and staff. Maryville is seeking a replacement opponent for the Oct. 2 game.
With a lot of uncertainty for upcoming weeks and another tough opponent on the road, Webb isn’t focused on the outside noise.
“Our focus this week is to go win at Cameron,” Webb said. “Every week, all you can focus on is your next game.”