MHS Football vs. Pius

Maryville football sophomore defensive lineman Wesley Snead pursues a tackle during the Spoofhounds' 14-13 loss to St. Pius X Sept. 17 at the 'Hound Pound. It marked Maryville's first regular-season loss at home in 43 games.

It had been 43 regular season home games since Maryville football’s 2010 loss to Savannah in Week 7 in the ‘Hound Pound. All 43 of those games were a win for the Spoofhounds until their Week 4 loss this season against St. Pius X.

Now, the Spoofhounds will have the opportunity to start a new streak.

For the ‘Hounds to do that, they will first have to go through another Midland Empire Conference foe, the Cameron Dragons. The Dragons (1-3) are coming off a home loss of their own, a 48-7 loss to the Chillicothe Hornets.

Now 1-1 against MEC opponents so far, Maryville will attempt to not only restart its home streak but also put itself above .500 on the season in conference play.

The Dragons have been outscored 156-48 on the season, allowing an average of 39 points per game, while scoring 12. In comparison, the Spoofhounds have been outscored 107-75, which calculates out to 18.8 points scored and 26.8 points allowed per game. However, Maryville coach Matt Webb said the Dragons’ offense is complex, and his defense needs to be prepared.

“We both have the same record, and we will both be hungry to get a win,” Webb said.

Webb said that the Dragons have run into some execution issues with their players, but their offense still remains something to be respected.

What makes the Dragons’ offense complex, Webb said, is the wide variety of formations used. They motion a lot and use a lot of lineman pulls to set up their plays.

“They have a lot of things you have to make sure you defend well against,” Webb said.

Maryville junior running back Caden Stoecklein said the Spoofhounds have to get more physical each week. He said to compete against Cameron, physicality will especially need to be in action.

“We have to listen to our coaches and the game plan,” Stoecklein said. “Obviously, our program wouldn’t be what it is today without the coaches, so we need to realize they know what they’re doing.”

The ‘Hounds have committed 28 penalties this season, but last week against the Warriors, they committed five — their lowest number this season.

Webb said mental errors, such as penalties, are something they address each week in practice. He said the team has a good tradition, and its mental approach has always been generally good. However, the execution of that needs to translate during game time, he said.

“It’s exciting to play Friday night football, but we need to make sure we maintain our composure, execute better and not make those mental mistakes,” Webb said. “Kids don’t intend to make mental mistakes, that’s not what they try to go out and do. We just have to make sure we’re growing as a team and getting better.”

As far as other streaks go for the Spoofhounds, they currently hold one over the Dragons — a 14-game win streak that dates back to 2010. Additionally, in each of those wins for Maryville, the difference was at least two scores.

Webb said past scores don’t matter, no matter how big or from what year. From a schematic standpoint, he said, past matchups allow to better prepare for the team, but scores and statistics are useless from game to game and year to year.

“You have to show up every week and focus on process football,” Webb said.

Stoecklein has amassed 184 yards rushing over the past three weeks, making him Maryville’s leading rusher this season.

“My confidence has been getting better throughout the season,” Stoecklein said. “I’ve been running harder, reading the holes better and making plays for my team.”

The ‘Hounds will stay at home for one more week before going on the road again for the fourth time this season.

For the time being, Webb said he feels very fortunate to stay in Maryville.

“Maryville has been known as ‘Title Town’ for a long time because of what the athletics bring,” Webb said. “Spoofhounds play at home on Friday, and the Bearcats play at home on Saturday. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

What makes coaching in Maryville so special for Webb, he said, was the community not only loves its football and other sports, but it loves to watch young people succeed. He said it’s a blessing to be in a community that values its young people as much as Maryville does.

“Friday Night Lights is not only about the football; it’s about the band, it’s about the cheer, it’s about the dance, it’s about the student section,” Webb said. “A lot of communities don’t have this environment, and we, as a team, all feel very fortunate to play and live in a community that values that.”

Webb said that is a big reason why the outcome against the Warriors was so disappointing. The team did not put on its best showing, and the Spoofhounds will do what they can to fix that to come away with the win at home.

Stoecklein said the support from everyone is amazing, and he feels honored to play for a great program like Maryville.

“I’ve gone to these other towns and schools who just don’t have what Maryville has,” Stoecklein said. “It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also very pleasing and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

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