With 43 seconds left on the scoreboard of the Hound Pound at Maryville High School, Lathrop faced a decision that former Spoofhounds coach Chris Holt had to make. Down 28-27, Holt had the option to send his field-goal unit out and tie the game, or attempt a two-point conversion that would leave everything on the line.
Holt chose the latter.
Mules’ senior quarterback Blake Gordon took the snap in the shotgun formation that Lathrop showed against the Maryville defense. Gordon took a direct-snap and rolled to his left, where the play developed as the quarterback searched for the end zone. Gordon, met at the 1-yard line by a Spoofhound, willed his way across the goal line, putting the Mules ahead 29-28 and giving Lathrop the eventual win in the MSHSAA Class 2 District 8 championship Nov. 15.
The choice to put the weight of the season on a single play was, in part, due to the fact that Holt didn’t want to give the Maryville offense a chance to compete in overtime.
“I didn’t want to go to overtime,” Holt said. “I didn’t want (senior Maryville wideout) Tate Oglesby to have four shots at the end zone from 20 yards. I said, ‘We’ve got to get this right now.’ We weren’t going to let that kid get four chances at four jump balls, because he was gonna get ‘em.”
The situation was prefaced by a season-saving play from Gordon. Facing a fourth-and-20 from Maryville’s 37-yard line, Gordon rolled out to his right. Facing pressure, Gordon launched the ball to the north end zone, where a Mules’ receiver brought it down.
“That was a hell of a play,” Oglesby said. “There’s not much we could do about it. We kind of knew it was coming, we thought we had it covered. … It’s tough, but that’s how it ended up.”
Maryville, with no timeouts, had four chances to get a first down on a drive that started on the Spoofhounds’ 47-yard line. The offense failed to produce much of anything other than three incomplete passes and a season-ending interception.
With nine seconds remaining, Maryville’s junior quarterback Ben Walker dropped back to pass. As the ball sailed through the air, it found its way into a Mules’ (12-0) hands.
With it, went the Spoofhounds (9-2) nine-game win streak. With it, went a 67-home game win streak that dated back to 2011, when Holt was at Maryville. With it, went the Spoofhounds’ 2019 season. And with it, came a feeling Maryville coach Matt Webb described in one word.
“Heartbroken,” Webb said. “We lost the game by one point, so, yeah, I’m heartbroken.”
The loss for Maryville, Oglesby said, was stunning. What else was stunning was the play Oglesby made to put the Spoofhounds ahead 28-21 with 10:56 left in the final quarter.
After forcing a Lathrop turnover, the Spoofhounds’ offense took the field with 7:15 left. A score, coupled with the amount of time left in the game, would have served as the exclamation point to another district championship for Maryville. A score wouldn’t come. And without it, the exclamation point quickly turned into a question mark.
A highlight-worthy catch from senior wideout Deon Metezier to put the Spoofhounds in Lathrop territory was sure to be the play to advance Maryville to the next round — until it wasn’t. The catch from Metezier proved insignificant at a moment in which no other play mattered other than the two-point conversion.
The moments leading up to the one that ended Maryville’s season, Oglesby said, are the ones that make a season worthwhile.
“It feels surreal, it’s been a ride,” Oglesby said. “It’s been four years with my brothers, I wouldn’t trade any moment of it.”
Eight days from the night where the streak was snapped, the Mules will play in the state quarterfinals. Eight days from the night where the streak was snapped, Maryville High School will be readying for basketball season.
The Spoofhounds knew coming in, Oglesby said, that Lathrop was a dominant team. The Spoofhounds knew the Mules would give them everything they had, Oglesby said. Lathrop, of course, gave Maryville more than it could handle.
On the heels of defeat, everything the Spoofhounds had accomplished seemed insignificant. It didn’t matter that Maryville had won another MEC championship. It didn’t matter that Maryville had aided Webb to his 100th win. What mattered was that, for the senior class, there wouldn’t be another football game in a Spoofhounds’ uniform. There wouldn’t be another high school football game in Maryville at all for nine months.
The streak, like the rest of the season, is over. The closure symbolized the end to another era of Maryville football, something that had to end, Oglesby said.
“It’s a streak, it’s meant to be broken,” Oglesby said. “It’s sad to say it ended it this way, but all good things come to an end.”