Maryville tops Smithville in MEC battle
By Jason Lawrence PrepsKC staff writer
The underdog role, like most every other role the Spoofhounds have played over the better part of the last decade, suited the Maryville football team just fine Friday night against Smithville in a matchup of the last two remaining undefeated Midland Empire Conference teams.
Leading up to Friday night’s 43-7 Maryville win, Spoofhound head coach Matt Webb said his team is not often an underdog but were coming into the de facto MEC title game. Five minutes into the game, the Spoofhounds had the only lead they would need playing spoiler to the Warriors’ Homecoming festivities.
“This is a good football team,” Webb said. “I’m very impressed with their athleticism. Smithville is a very good program. I felt like we were the underdog, our kids felt like we were the underdog and I thought we played like we were the underdog. That’s a tribute to our guys staying hungry. … We wanted to be the last undefeated team in the conference, we want to be the chased.”
A 32-yard pass from junior quarterback Trey Oglesby to senior Hunter Hayes, who out-jumped a pair of Smithville defenders, kicked off the scoring and sophomore fullback Jacob Reuter added the two-point conversion, continuing a trend of starting fast.
“It’s a lot easier to score when you have the ball, so we like to receive,” Webb said. “Our offense is executing well, we’ve ben able to score early and kind of play ahead of the game.”
After Smithville quarterback Mitchell Orr fumbled on the Warriors’ second drive, Maryville went three and out, but the punt hit a Smithville player and the Spoofhounds dove on it at the Warriors’ 21.
After a holding penalty, pushed the Spoofhounds backward, junior fullback Elijah Green, who ran for 135 yards on nine carries, broke a pair of tackles and went 24 yards to the house to give Maryville a 15-0 advantage at the 8:46 mark of the second quarter.
Maryville’s lone turnover of the night, a fumble by junior quarterback Trey Oglesby, which was recovered by Smithville senior Tanner Hartman, led to the Warriors trimming the lead to just 15-7 with 26.6 seconds to play until halftime. After a pair of pass interference calls on the Spoofhounds moved Smithville inside the red zone, Orr took care of the final 14 yards, breaking free up the middle.
Maryville, however, had an answer. A 27-yard run by Reuter, followed a couple plays later by a 36-yard pass from Oglesby to senior Chip Dunlap put the Hounds on the Warriors’ 1-yard line with 1.8 seconds until intermission. Senior running back Dakota Beemer dove in for the score and Reuter ran in his second two-point conversion of the night to give Maryville back all the momentum heading into the locker room.
“That was totally, totally crazy,” said Green, who led the way defensively with four tackles. “I thought it had changed the momentum. It was going to be (15-7) and they would have been right in the game. We just took it and scored right off of that.”
The Spoofhounds continued to take the air out of the crowd, forcing a turnover on downs on the first drive of the second half after an errant snap on the punt attempt. Bemmer, who ran for 67 yards on 12 carries, took a pitch out of the option from Oglesby and scampered 16 yards to pay dirt, and the rout was on.
Three more penalties on the Spoofhounds — a pass interference call and two late hits — helped Smithville move into the red zone once again. However, Maryville’s defense, which only allowed 147 yards of offense, including just 52 yards rushing on 33 attempts, held on fourth-and-1 from the 1-yard line.
“That’s a lot of great effort by our defensive linemen,” Webb said. “… That’s a goal line stand, that’s always a huge momentum builder.
“I thought our defense was lights out tonight. … I don’t know how many yards they rushed for, but it wasn’t very many and it seemed like we were able to stop the run, which was huge.
Then things really got out of hand. Smithville head coach Jason Ambroson was ejected after back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called on him before the Spoofhounds even attempted a play just inches away from their own end zone.
A 53-yard run by Green moved the Hounds into Warriors’ territory, but six more penalties ensued before Green capped the 99-yard drive with a 14-yard run to push the advantage to 37-7 with 1:10 to go in the third quarter.
“Penalties are part of the game. We’ve got to coach those up better,” Webb said of a game marred by 21 combined penalties. “We can’t have those penalties, those will come back and haunt you. For us to be able to overcome those, I think is a big plus.”
Maryville finished out the scoring with a 25-yard pass from Oglesby to Dunlap with 10:39 to play. The extra point was blocked, but Maryville had already shaken the underdog moniker — winning their 28th straight MEC contest dating back to 2011.
Maryville (7-0, 5-0 MEC) will host Savannah (4-3, 3-2) for Homecoming next Friday night at the Hound Pound while Smithville (5-2, 4-1) hosts Chillicothe (5-2, 3-2).
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