A week ago, Maryville football earned an impressive victory in a game that records and statistics said it should lose. Now, the Spoofhounds will travel to St. Louis, Missouri, Nov. 24 and attempt to make lightning strike twice.
Maryville (12-1) moved past the previously undefeated Odessa Bulldogs by a score of 29-6 Nov. 17 at the ‘Hound Pound, extending its season for another week. With the victory, the Spoofhounds earned a spot in the MSHSAA Class 3 State semifinals and a date with Trinity Catholic High School (11-2).
As of now, Odessa is undoubtedly the best team the Spoohounds have matched up with. That will change this weekend in St. Louis.
“Well, again, we’re the underdog,” Webb said. “They’re a dominant team. This is a team that recruits the best talent in the St. Louis-area. (They’re) certainly the most talented team we’ve played thus far.”
Trinity does not lack in the talent department. The Titans are led by the No. 1 recruit in Missouri in quarterback Isaiah Williams, a commit to the University of Illinois. Williams is complimented by senior wide receiver Marcus Washington and running backs Alphonzo Andrews Jr. and Reggie Love. Washington, Andrews and Love have all received Division I offers, with Washington committed to the University of Texas.
Despite the seemingly daunting prospect of facing such a skillful opponent, Maryville’s hopes will not be lowered, and the pressure to perform will not increase.
“I think when you grow up in Maryville, you have high expectations in anything you do,” Webb said. “I mean it when I say that we’re a part of a community that values activities and athletics, and a part of that is a tradition of winning in football. There’s not any added pressure in any way.”
The Spoofhounds have won 12-straight games to get to where they are now, just two wins away from a second consecutive state title. With so much of the season behind them and with the most important games to come, it would be easy to lose perspective on the season.
Instead, Maryville takes each day as it comes.
“It’s one day at a time,” Webb said. “I think you do wake up every morning with something to prove and that’s our message that we try to get across the kids, that ‘Win the day’ philosophy. We’ve got out hands full this week with Trinity, so it’s business as usual.”
The threat Trinity poses is both clear and imposing, and could end the Spoofhounds’ season a week earlier than desired. Still, as the Spoofhounds travel across the state, they bring with them a feeling of serenity. Playing in the semifinals is what’s expected of the team, making the journey no different than any other this season.
“Our kids are used to this,” Webb said. “They’re used to long seasons, they’re used to playoff runs, they’re used to semifinal play-ins and things like that. There’s a comfort level there that should work to our advantage this week.”
A week ago, the ‘Hounds battled past a supposedly superior opponent to punch their ticket to St. Louis. A season ago, they fought through a series of exceptional opponents to get to Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, where they hoisted a state championship trophy.
This week, Maryville will attempt to do again what no one thinks it can do and beat the Titans to return to Faurot Field.
“This is where teams are made,” Webb said. “How we’re going to win this week is by being the better team, not being individuals. The finalization is real: it’s win or go home.”