On any given Friday night, you can find Maryville football coach Matt Webb giving the credit to his players. Or taking the blame for them.
When the Spoofhounds lose, it’s on Webb. Or so he said after a Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks. When the Spoofhounds win, the players are the ones that got the job done.
In the midst of a regular season in which the team finished with one loss, in which the team held onto the Highway 71 trophy and in which the team added another MEC championship to its display case — Webb found a moment where he was in the spotlight, or perhaps more accurately, the spotlight found Webb.
With a 47-6 win over Lafayette to claim an outright MEC championship Oct. 25, Webb seized his 100th victory in 108 games spanning over eight seasons.
“It feels great (to see Webb reach the milestone),” senior wideout Tate Oglesby said. “We’ve grown up with him. We watched him when we were little, and now we’re playing for him. I mean, we’re proud of what he’s put into our program, and we’re doing what we can to live up to his expectations.”
“To be able to experience his 100th win, it’s huge for (the team),” Oglesby added.
The traditional success of the program was already there, but when Webb took over in 2012, he pushed the Spoofhounds to the pinnacle of Missouri high school football.
In 2009, the Spoofhounds were at the peak, claiming an MSHSAA Class 2 State Championship. For the next two seasons, Maryville would be dismissed in the Class 3 playoffs by Richmond in the District 16 championship game.
When Webb joined the program after former coach Chris Holt’s departure, he helped lift the program back toward the summit of the mountain that is high school football.
The Spoofhounds, with Webb, went on to complete two perfect seasons back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.
Seventy wins later, Webb’s expectations are, in part, why the program has been so successful, Oglesby said. With high expectations, comes big performances. With big performances, comes high praise.
After a rather successful first quarter of the season, Webb praised the play of junior quarterback Ben Walker. Walker is the latest example of a player feeling honored by the coach commending them.
“I mean, just to have praise from a coach like him, it means a lot,” Walker said. “He’s been around and watched a lot of good players, so it means a lot to have him say something about me.”
The milestone left the traditionally impassive coach with a sense of gratitude, posting his thoughts on Twitter the next morning for people to see.
“Thank you for all the congratulations messages. Brings back a lot of great memories shared with great players, great assistant coaches and great families in an amazing community that we get to call home,’” Webb tweeted.
“I was very honored, very humbled,” he added. “There’s a lot of good players, a lot of good coaches. It’s just fun to remember a lot of those wins and what they meant to me and my family.”
Now eight seasons after taking over, Webb has the Spoofhounds primed for another deep playoff run. Maryville (7-1) will start its journey back to the top in the Class 2 District 16 playoff bracket when it hosts St. Joseph Christian with Northland Christian (0-7) Nov. 1.
For the most part, the level of the opponent has paled in comparison to the Spoofhounds this season. When hosting No. 8 Christian, the same challenge presents itself to the team.
“Our focus moves to the postseason play,” Webb said. “You realize that we’re part of a 64 team bracket that every week half of those teams’ seasons end.
With a nine-week regular season, the Spoofhounds broke their schedule up into phases of three. The MSHSAA football playoffs, like any, are do-or-die. The emotions ride high for two teams every week. For one, the triumphs of a victory. The agony of defeat for the other.
When Maryville starts the next phase of the season, it will be looking to take care of business, Webb said.
“Our guys have earned the right to be a No. 1 seed,” Webb said. “A No. 1 should be focused, should execute, should enjoy the process and realize these six possible games could look like. Teams that take care of each other, teams that love each other — those are the teams that win in the postseason.”