MHS FB v Harrisonville

Maryville football senior wideout Caleb Kreizinger leads the Spoofhounds out of the locker room before their home debut of the season Sept. 4 against Harrisonville in the Hound Pound.

The Maryville football team has played Chillicothe 14 times since 2010. In those 14 games, the Spoofhounds have come out as victors 13 times, including a 49-12 win during the 2019 season.

The Spoofhounds (1-1) will look to push that mark to 14 wins in 15 games against the Hornets (0-2) Sept. 11 at the ’Hound Pound.

Coach Matt Webb knows recent success doesn’t matter in rivalry games, as both teams will put full effort into bringing home the win.

“We’re talking about this year. It’s a great rivalry,” Webb said. “Chillicothe has a proud tradition in their high school football. Every year is a great battle. It’s a great game.”

In the 2019 matchup, Spoofhound now senior running back Connor Weiss found himself in the Hornets’ endzone twice, along with an interception.

While Weiss was sidelined in the first two games of this season due to COVID-19-related issues, his return to the field for the Week 3 matchup looks probable.

“Connor Weiss is an excellent football player, and hopefully we have him back,” Webb said. “It’ll be huge to get him involved in the run game again.”

Weiss will accompany both senior Trey Houchin and sophomore Caden Stoecklein in the backfield when he returns. Stoecklein turned in an impressive performance in the Sept. 4 matchup against Harrisonville, when he racked up 310 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns.

All three running backs will look to contribute to an efficient running game, as that was the Hornets’ Achilles heel in last year’s matchup. The Spoofhound offense ran the ball for 260 yards on the Chillicothe defense in 2019.

The running game starts up front, where standout offensive lineman Blake Casteel looks to make his first appearance this year for the ’Hounds. Casteel’s return should add a key piece to the trenches, as Chillicothe comes into the Week 3 matchup with an impressive defensive line. They’re able to create havoc in the backfield by hitting the gaps due to their size and physicality.

Stoecklein having his best blocker return to lead him down the field is a Christmas present come early.

“I’m so excited to have Casteel back,” Stoecklein said. “I’m excited to see what we can do on Friday.”

Not only will the Spoofhounds be looking for an efficient offense, but the defense is also looking to contribute. The defense allowed 40 points in Week 2, but held Harrisonville to 8 points in the first half. In Maryville's most recent matchup against Chillicothe, the Hornets scored 12 points.

“Our main focus on defense is getting off the field on third down,” Webb said. “We’re tackling better, we’re winning the line of scrimmage, and we’re playing with the right technique.”

Against Harrisonville, senior linebacker Caleb Kreizinger found himself with an interception and a fumble recovery. He’s hoping he and the team can continue this level of performance.

“Last week’s game gave us the momentum we needed for upcoming games,” Kreizinger said after the win against Harrisonville. “Last game we proved that we aren't going to give up ever again. That was a one-time thing, and we aren't going to do it ever again.”

This matchup will be the first Midland Empire Conference action of the season for both teams. While Maryville won the MEC outright last season, Webb knows the importance of starting 1-0 in the conference.

“You want to be at the head of the pack and have everyone chasing after you throughout the conference season,” Webb said. “The MEC is a whole different animal. That’s why it’s important to start 1-0 in the MEC.”

The Spoofhounds will have their second home game in a row, which is important for a couple of reasons. First, the Spoofhounds will be away for two straight games after the game with Chillicothe.

Second, Maryville will honor its 14 seniors, as it will be Senior Night at the ’Hound Pound.

“It’ll be a great opportunity to honor a group of seniors who dedicated their high school careers to us and who had a lot of success,” Webb said. “We’ll be able to show what they’ve meant to us the past four seasons.”

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