MHS Football

Maryville's junior running back Connor Weiss breaks away from a defender before scoring in the Spoofhounds' 62-0 win over St. Joe Christian Nov. 1. Weiss accounted for two touchdowns in the contest. 

Five days before Maryville football’s first playoff game of the year, coach Matt Webb said it’s now just trying to survive and advance. The Spoofhounds survived and advanced to the Class 2 District 8 Semifinals by a vast margin when they scored a 62-0 victory over St. Joseph Christian Nov. 1 in the ’Hound Pound.

The expectation around the program was to win like a No. 1 seed should win, Webb said. In some ways, when hosting the No. 8 Lions, those expectations were met.

“The goal this week was to come out and execute like the No. 1 seed in the tournament,” Webb said. “I thought we did that. … I was very happy for our kids.”

Consistently over the season, the Spoofhounds offense has showcased its talents. Carrying an average of 48.8 points scored per contest coming into the matchup, Maryville’s offense outdid its usual self.

Senior running back Aiden Cullin ran down the sideline for a 59-yard score on the first play from scrimmage. A 7-0 lead 19 seconds into the game would be the beginning of another offensive onslaught that the Spoofhounds engineered.

After a three-and-out on the Lions’ ensuing possession, junior quarterback Ben Walker connected with Cullin for a 36-yard catch-and-run into the end zone. With Maryville’s first two plays, came two touchdowns.

“Every play you’re looking to score,” Cullin said. “We saw the opportunities and we took it. We just did what we do, made all of our blocks and scored.

Much like the first two drives, Maryville ended up with a 21-0 lead after the first play of the third drive when junior running back Trey Houchin broke free for 48 yards. Halfway through the first quarter, the ’Hounds were more than halfway to having a running clock for the second week in a row.

A score from junior Connor Weiss at the end of the first quarter marked the second consecutive week where the backfield trio of Cullin, Weiss and Houchin tallied five total touchdowns.

“I think it’s good execution — our running backs are talented,” Webb said. “I don’t think that we talk about our guys blocking downfield, whether that’s the receivers or running backs. Some offenses, guys don’t go get a block but our guys do a great job of that.”

The second half consisted of many of the same things that the first did: Maryville’s dominant offense and the Lions’ lulling counter-attack.

Spoofhounds’ freshman backup quarterback Caden Stoecklein reached the endzone twice, once on a quarterback-keeper for a 16-yard rush late in the first quarter, the other on a punt return as the clock dwindled down in the third quarter. Nonetheless, valuable reps when the Spoofhounds starters needed the rest.

“Our goal in the playoffs is to win and advance — it doesn’t matter if it’s by 1 or 62,” Webb said. “The longer you stay in the tournament, you need to be healthy. Healthy players perform better in the later rounds when you need them. We like to play our younger guys to keep our starters healthy.”

The win in dominating fashion leaves the Spoofhounds to host No. 5 seed Lawson Nov. 8 at the ‘Hound Pound. The history behind the matchup will add a little bit more enthusiasm to it, Webb said.

“They’re a very good opponent,” Webb said. “We know them well. They know us well. They’re certainly not going to be intimidated to come into Maryville. … It’s a very good team so you turn your focus right away to (Lawson).”

With the weather getting colder, and the playoffs getting progressively longer for Maryville, the beard on the face of the usually clean-shaved coach gets longer as well.

“Playoff beard — it’s always been that way,” Webb said. “It’ll get grayer as it goes, but that’s alright.”

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