MHS Football

Maryville football junior fullback Cooper Loe rushes through Lafayette's defense during the Spoofhounds' 37-6 win against the Fighting Irish Oct. 22 at the 'Hound Pound. Loe finished with two of Maryville's four rushing touchdowns during the contest.

As the last group of people walked out, it was beginning to look less and less like the place it was moments ago. Not too long before, the lights were still on, and the gates were open, as the place echoed with cheers from the crowd. But a few brief moments after the roar of those cheers, there wasn’t a soul in sight.

Before it became empty, people gathered in this spot for the same reason a lot of people come together in one spot on a Friday night in the fall: football. This place was the ‘Hound Pound, and football was the main event. It wasn’t just any football game, though. It was the last game of the regular season. The season finale for Maryville football ended as well as any could, with a 37-6 victory over the Lafayette Fighting Irish.

“I think our kids, you know, played really inspired football,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said.

After starting the season 0-2 for the first time since 2005, inspired football led the ‘Hounds (5-4) to ending the regular season with a winning record. The win over Lafayette (6-3) also secured a first-round bye and home playoff game for Maryville.

“We need to be really focused, and there’s going to be newness with Class 2,” Webb said. “We don’t have any history with Palmyra, Trenton, Brookfield, or whoever is going to come in here, but we know we get to play at home in districts, and that’s something we’re excited about.”

Paving the way for the Spoofhounds’ bye week was the rushing attack and defense.

Maryville’s running backs scored four times on the ground.

Maryville was able to assert its dominance at the line of scrimmage, which played a crucial role in the Spoofhounds being able to run through Lafayette's defense for the entirety of four quarters. Junior lineman Kort Watkins said the ’Hounds struggled earlier in the season with inside runs but have come together as a team to focus on what needed improvement.

“We’ve all just gotten really good as we’ve practiced every single day, and we practice as hard as we can to be the best we can be,” Watkins said.

The dominance was evident early, too, when junior fullback Cooper Loe got six carries on Maryville’s second possession of the game, including a 1-yard score to cap it off, which gave the ‘Hounds a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes and 15 seconds left in the first quarter.

“I mean, we knew we were going to be able to run the ball on them some,” Loe said.

The success, Loe said, came from being prepared to execute the game plan and everyone doing just that during the game.

The first-quarter successes for the home team did not end there, and the Spoofhounds made sure to capitalize on Lafayette’s spotty defensive front. On Maryville’s next drive, senior running back Tyler Siemer got in on the action when he broke away for a 56-yard score to put the Spoofhounds up 13-0 — a score that remained until Loe got his second touchdown of the night with four minutes left in the second quarter.

Loe said he’s been trying to prove a point all season that he can be relied upon when needed. With senior fullback Drew Spire sidelined the past three weeks due to injury, Loe has seen his touches — and chances to prove his point — increase.

“I think I’m a lot closer,” Loe said.

Being on the wrong end of two fumbles, one of which bounced out of bounds, Loe said he still needs to improve in order to fully prove his point.

Two touchdowns were scored through the air, as Maryville senior quarterback Connor Drake connected with sophomores Delton Davis and Don Allen for the scores, respectively. The last touchdown of the game also came as a product of the run game after sophomore Tucker Turner took into the end zone from 4 yards out.

Maryville’s defense dominated the entire game, holding Lafayette’s offense, which was averaging a near 35 points per game, to one score — the lowest scoring performance of the season for the Irish.

Maryville senior lineman Blake Casteel said they planned all week for this.

“We just got to do our job,” Casteel said. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re going against.”

Webb said he was proud of the effort by the defense. For the back-half of the defense, he said, the coaches preached all week to the players to play the ball and make sure to be in the right spot.

And as important as it was to head into the postseason on the heels of a win, football was not the only thing on the schedule for the Spoofhounds Friday evening, as they took time to honor local first responders and law enforcement prior to kickoff.

Casteel, whose dad is a police officer, said it meant a lot.

“Especially in this day and age where they don’t get as much support as they used to,” Casteel said, “it was nice for our team to be able to share our support.”

With the regular season coming to a close, the Spoofhounds hold the No. 1 seed in Class 2 District 7. With a week off, Maryville will have a little extra time to prepare for the winner of a matchup between the districts’ No. 4 Trenton and No. 5 Brookfield.

“Bye week presents its challenges,” Webb said. “But, at the same time, bye weeks are good things, so we’re excited about where we’re at.”

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