Maryville football traveled to St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 23 looking to secure 11 straight wins against Lafayette.
The Spoofhounds (6-3, 4-1 MEC) stole the show in the second half against the Fighting Irish (3-5, 2-3 MEC), winning 26-14.
The win propelled the ’Hounds to the No. 2-seed in Class 3 District 8. Maryville was 3.06 district points from having the No.1 seed, but Richmond (7-1) will be the team to beat in the postseason.
“You worry about winning one game at a time. It’s win or go home; it’s playoff football. It’s exciting times,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “That’s why you play this. We’ve played some very good opponents and played in a very tough MEC conference. We’re excited about the postseason.”
Spoofhounds’ junior defensive back Kade Wilmes, who scored the game-sealing touchdown against Lafayette, knew the win was crucial.
“That win means a lot to us,” Wilmes said. “That was a really important game for us so that we can move forward in the playoffs.”
With the No. 2 seed comes home-field advantage for Maryville. For the first time since Sept. 11, and for the third time this year, fans will be able to see the Spoofhounds play at the ’Hound Pound.
“We fought and earned the right to play a couple of home games here,” Webb said. “We’re looking forward to playing at home. We’ve only lost one game at the ’Hound Pound in a long time. We’re excited to play at home.”
The last loss dealt to the Spoofhounds at home was Nov. 15, 2019, against the Lathrop Mules for the Class 2 District 8 championship. The loss ended a 67-home game win streak.
The opponent trying to replicate Lathrop will be Northeast (Kansas City) Oct. 30. The Vikings are the No. 7 seed in the district and sit at 0-7. Besides their 16-point loss to Southeast Oct. 24, the Vikings have lost every game by at least 36 points.
In seven games, Northeast has been outscored 328-38.
Webb does not want his team to overlook any opponent when it comes to district play, as a loss would send the Spoofhounds off the field until next season.
“What we focus on this time of the year, as you enter district play and pool play, is you focus on the idea of win or go home,” Webb said. “We’re a higher seed, and one of the things we’re focusing on this week is making sure that anytime you’re in a bracket that the higher seed should prevail, and we need to go out and play like a higher seed should.”
The Spoofhounds carry a three-game win streak into the postseason, a streak that began Oct. 9 with a 49-10 win over Lincoln College Prep. Maryville has outscored opponents 116-41 in that span.
The last time the ’Hounds faced Northeast was Oct. 23, 2015, when Maryville won 49-6. They also faced the Vikings in 2012, when Maryville came out on top once again, winning 76-0.
“We’re wanting to win games. We put ourselves in the best situation in the district tournament, which is what we’ve done. We’ll be focused and ready to play,” Webb said. “I’m impressed with the way we’re playing as a team. I think we’re playing our best football here towards the end of the season.”
The last time Maryville won the Class 3 District 8 tournament was in 2018 before dropping down to Class 2 before the start of last season. However, this team has a lot of qualities like the 2017 squad, which also lost a couple of games in the regular season but caught stride late in the season to eventually win the state championship.
“Coach Webb was talking about that team in the huddle after the (Lafayette) game and said that team reminds him of us,” Wilmes said. “We just need to keep working and pushing, and that’s how we could be too.”
The road to a state championship begins with Northeast. The energy surrounding the team is a confident one.
“We’re focused on ourselves and continue to make ourselves better throughout this time of year,” Webb said. “You have to lay it all out every Friday night, and then you get an opportunity to lay it all out on Saturdays.”