Maryville football left little doubt as to which team is the best in the Midland Empire conference after defeating Savannah 41-7 Oct. 12. The Spoofhounds cruised to a win, their seventh in a row, and clinched a share of the MEC title.
Maryville (7-1, 6-0 MEC) played four quarters of strong football against Savannah (5-3, 5-1 MEC) in rigid conditions Friday night. Playing on a surface soaked by a week’s worth of rain, the ‘Hounds sprinted past the Savages for a majority of the night.
With the win, the ‘Hounds clinched the Highway 71 Sign, given to the winner of the rival game. The usual suspects were at it again for Maryville, with standouts sophomore Ben Walker, seniors Tyler Houchin and Eli Dowis, and junior Tate Oglesby leading the way on the offense.
“I’m extremely proud of their leadership, along with our seniors,” coach Matt Webb said of senior captains Dowis, Houchin and Trevor Townsend. “To come down and not only take away the Highway 71 trophy, and keep that as its rightful owner, but to clinch a share of the MEC championship tonight was something we wanted to accomplish.”
Entering the game, Maryville and Savannah were each 5-0 in the MEC. By most measures, this game was the most important in the season for each team. The ‘Hounds won the game on the back of a dynamic offense and a stout defense, as they have all year.
Savannah was averaging more than 50 points per game on the season and scored just seven. The Savages defense was allowing just over 20 per game, yet gave up 41.
“Seven points is just under our average this year,” Webb said. “Our defense did a great job. There’s a lot of key players, good tackles … the takeaways were huge. Our defense is playing great and I’m very happy for our guys.”
Maryville’s defense forced four Savannah turnovers, all of which came in the form of fumbles.
For Maryville, the game figured to offer the toughest test in weeks. In reality, the ‘Hounds seemed unphased by the Savages for the most part.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the might for the Spoofhounds was an injury to Dowis, who left the game with a knee ailment in the third quarter. The extent of the injury is unknown, but Dowis’ importance to the team cannot be overstated.
In all, the night served as an the impressive passing of a test for the Spoofhounds. They defeated an undefeated conference rival and claimed a share of the MEC title in doing so.
For one more week, the ‘Hounds win streak grew. For one more week, Maryville looked to be in a league of its own.
“It felt good to have a challenge finally,” running back Tyler McGary said. “It felt good to shut ‘em (Savannah) up. It felt real sweet winning that.”