"Win the day" means more now than it did at any other point this season for Maryville.
A clean 9-0 record through the regular season put the Spoofhounds in an enviable spot and granted them a smooth path in district play, but other than that, it doesn't mean a whole lot now that the playoffs are here.
This is stating the obvious, but one slip-up in the next few weeks leaves that nine-game run all for naught. It's win or go home time, and first up on the slate for Maryville is East High School from Kansas City with a transposed record from the Spoofhounds at 0-9.
Round one will imaginably be a walk in the park for powerhouse Maryville at 7 tonight, but this is exactly where head coach Matt Webb's mantra comes into play.
The Bears’ and 'Hounds' only common opponent is Bishop LeBlond, which Maryville squeaked out an 18-16 victory against Sept. 20. East wasn't so fortunate in its Sept. 6 contest with the Golden Eagles, falling 69-6.
For the last two and a half months, Webb's Spoofhounds kept level heads during a season of ups, ups and more ups, never riding the wave too high only to come crashing back down. With each game, their craft improved, whether it was quarterback Trent Nally easing himself into the passing game or Dalton Pistole and Payden Dawson becoming more and more dangerous in the defensive secondary, things came together more and more.
Maryville showed its offensive dynamism all year, proving it can win with Nally keeping the option, running back Brody McMahon sweeping to the outside or fullback Trent Dredge gashing a defensive interior. Scarily enough for the next few Spoofhound opponents, that's not what could blaze a trail through the Class 3 bracket.
Webb's finely crafted defense starts with a front four that brings enough pressure consistently to leave blitzes virtually unnecessary. Opponents' running games have been stranded and left for dead in most games when you pair that defensive line with the trio of linebackers in Tyler Coleman, Chris Dougan and John Schenkel, who find ways to quietly change the face of a game seemingly every week.
The Spoofhounds will ride that front seven as long as possible, but as always, this week's game is the only one on their minds. Potential matchups with Oak Grove (8-1), Duchesne (8-1) or California (8-1) and, dare I say, a rematch with John Burroughs loom in the not-too-distant future, but all the football team at 1503 S. Munn Ave. is thinking about is round one.
Those 0-9 Bears from East High School drew the short straw, or rather, played themselves into an unfortunate opening game. The Spoofhounds won't overlook them because, well, they haven't overlooked anyone for 24 straight games.
"Win the day" isn't just an expression anymore in November high school football.
It's the only option.