MHS Football

Maryville football senior quarterback scrambles for a first down during the Spoofhounds' 33-6 win over Macon Nov. 12 at the 'Hound Pound. The triumph gave Maryville its ninth district title in the last 10 seasons.

Saturday in the fall is typically a day designated to college football. This week won’t be any different, of course, but there will be an addition. The Maryville football team will play on the same day as the Northwest football team.

The Bearcats’ will kick off with Central Washington at 12 p.m. At the same time, five minutes south on Munn Avenue, Maryville will be set for kickoff against Richmond in the Class 2 quarterfinals.

“We make a big deal about playing on Saturdays,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “It’s a special feeling to play when the big boys do. Everybody plays on Friday nights. That happens every week, and we love that. But you have to earn the right to play on Saturdays. It’s ‘Title Town’ for a reason. If you like football, Maryville is the place to be on Saturday.”

While both teams will get a shot to add to the tradition that coined Maryville as “Title Town,” the Spoofhounds (7-4) will do it a week after earning the Class 2 District 7 title with a 33-7 win against Macon.

Despite being almost 120 miles apart, Maryville is familiar with meeting Richmond (10-1) in the playoffs.

The teams have met six times in the Class 3 State Tournament, most recently in the District 8 championship game in 2020, when the Spoofhounds won 46-14. Through the six meetings, Maryville is 4-2 and is on a three-game win streak. Richmond’s last win in the series was in 2011.

“Obviously, Maryville has been a very good program for a long time, and a chance to go play one of the best programs in the state is always a great opportunity,” Richmond coach Nick Persell said over the phone. “I think our kids are excited about it.”

Throughout the regular season, and to this point in the playoffs, the Spartans have seemingly been on mission.

Richmond is coming off a 70-14 win in the Class 2 District 8 title game, the biggest margin between all Class 2 district championships and the third-biggest margin in the entire Class 2 playoffs. The Spartans totaled 539 total yards of offense in their game against St. Michael the Archangel (7-4).

The Spartans’ lone loss came in Week 5 by a score of 35-26, a defeat courtesy of Lafayette County (11-1) — the Class 2 District 5 champions.

“If you want to make a run in the playoffs, you certainly have to be playing your best football at the end of the year,” Persell said. “I’d say any of the teams left are probably in the same boat.”

The ‘Hounds have defeated their opponents by an average margin of 37.5 points and have given up a mere 9 points, combined, during their first two games this postseason.

When it comes to playing their best football at the end of the year, Webb said it definitely feels like what Spoofhounds are doing.

“I think I made a comment after the game (against Macon) that I think this is the most we’ve played complimentary football all season, which makes you a good team,” Webb said.

While some teams are really good at one phase at the game, Webb said, they’ll struggle on the other side. That’s not the case for Maryville as of late.

The Spoofhounds may have to play more complimentary football than ever against Richmond.

The Spartans enter the quarterfinals having scored an average of 48.3 points per game while allowing a meager 12.2 points per game.

“They’re dominant,” Webb said. “They’re 10-1. Forty-eight points a game is a lot, no matter who you play. They’re explosive on offense, sound on defense and they’re very well coached. Just a really good team.”

Trying to find a game plan to defend an explosive offense like Richmond’s is one of the hardest jobs as a coach, Webb said.

“You’re on the daunting task of trying to take everything away,” Webb said. “Sometimes you sit back and say, ‘Well let’s make the team one dimensional,’ so you take away the run game. Well, a team like Richmond can hurt you in the pass game. So then you say, ‘OK, let’s take away the pass game.’ But if that’s the choice, a talented team and an explosive offense like Richmond can run the ball on you. … We’re gonna have our work cut out for us for sure.”

On the flip side, Maryville senior quarterback Connor Drake will have the task of leading an offense against a defense that will be a week removed from a game in which it forced four turnovers.

Drake said if the team stays true to itself and everyone does their job, the ‘Hounds can beat anyone.

The playoffs, Webb said, is where the players truly find out what it means to be a Spoofhound.

“The kids understand what playoff football means,” Webb said. “Your expectation is to go 1-0 every week. You survive and advance, and you don’t overlook people. All those types of things coaches say, I think our kids are traditioned into really believing.”

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