ST. JOSEPH, Mo — As another week presented another conference opponent, Maryville football found a way to remain unblemished against MEC foes with a 47-7 win over the Benton Cardinals Oct. 4.
The Spoofhounds (5-1) made the 45-minute trek to the south side of St. Joseph where Benton (0-6) played host to Maryville for its homecoming matchup. A night that’s traditionally special, quickly turned to be not-so-special for the Cardinals.
The night started with the Spoofhounds scoring on their first three offensive drives, giving them a 20-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Despite the offense’s recent dominance through the air via the arm of junior quarterback Ben Walker, field conditions deterred the attack to the ground.
Along with the touchdowns scored by Maryville throughout the contest, came a wave of kicking woes. In the midst of poor field conditions, senior kicker Nic Garner was 3-for-7 on extra-point attempts.
The trio of running backs, juniors Connor Weiss and Trey Houchin and senior Aiden Cullin, combined for five total touchdowns rushing on the evening. Cullin posted a game-high three touchdowns carries, followed by Houchin with two and Weiss with one of his own. The trio saw their individual carries dip compared to usual, but don’t necessarily care how the job gets done.
“We like to spread the ball around a lot,” Cullin said. “We like to get everyone the ball, it’s nice to get in the end zone a few times though. I’ve got to give credit to that offensive line, they blocked great tonight.”
“We all love each other,” Houchin added. “... We don’t care about the carries, we just care about the scoreboard.”
To this point in the season, every running back has credited the offensive line’s play. A group that’s headlined by North Dakota State commit Jackson Bram has paved the way for the backfield’s efforts every week, leaving the team to take notice.
“I’m very pleased with (the offensive line),” Webb said. “... Watching our guys block downfield is something that we feel like we’ve improved. You look at whether it’s Castillo, Stooksbury, Jackson Bram or Tallon Noland, getting downfield and making those blocks — that’s what really springs those long runs.”
The newest edition of the backfield’s impressive performance was coupled with another defensive showcase for the Spoofhounds. Maryville’s defense has held opposing offenses scoreless for the last 11 quarters of football, specifically since the first quarter of a Week 4 matchup against St. Pius.
The lone score for the Cardinals came in the early minutes of the third quarter. After Walker found senior wideout Tate Oglesby for a 56-yard touchdown to put Maryville up 39-0, Benton’s senior receiver Chol Ater returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Coming into the game, Maryville coach Matt Webb emphasized how much Ater was going to have an impact on the Cardinal’s offense.
“He’s a very talented player and I thought we did a good job (of stopping him),” Webb said.
The seven-point outing brings the defense’s total to a mere 13 points allowed over the last three contests, bringing that average to roughly 4.3 points per game.
“(The defense) are beast,” Cullin said. “We’re really well-coached, our coaches know what’s going on, so we just try and execute the gameplan.”
The overall showing from Maryville gives the ‘Hounds their fifth-straight win after a Week 1 loss to Blair Oaks. With that, the conclusion of the sixth game of the season puts an end to the second chapter of the regular season for Webb and company.
“It was a good win, I think we came out with a good attitude,” Webb said. “... I was proud of the way the kids came out. We’re to the point where we break the season into three-game sets and this is the conclusion of our second set of those. … We’ve set ourselves up to a good finish in the regular season.”