Maryville holds off St. Joe Lafayette

By Ross Martin The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: October 20, 2012 - 12:57 AM

Lafayette’s players and coaches trudged around the turf at Alumni Stadium, searching for the right emotions.

On the other end of the field, Maryville’s players celebrated an outright Midland Empire Conference title, but the emotions seemed a bit more like relief than outright joy. The Spoofhounds’ 27-20 victory required 13 unanswered points in the final 9 minutes, and three late defensive stands.

Maryville snatched up a Jurell Green fumble with 23 seconds left after the Lafayette running back went down after taking a pitch on a hook-and-ladder play to seal the Spoofhounds’ first outright MEC crown since 2009.

“That was a heck of a ballgame,” Maryville coach Matt Webb said. “That was two good football teams; two teams with a lot of character and class. I have a lot of respect for (Lafayette) and what they’ve accomplished.”

Lafayette played the most important game in program history since winning a share of the MEC crown in 1995.

The Irish have advanced to the playoffs twice in Paul Woolard’s first five years, turning a once-dormant program into a thriving threat. A win against Maryville (9-0, 7-0 MEC) would have forged a three-way share for this year’s league title, but a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers and a flurry of flags against Lafayette ultimately proved the Irish’s undoing.

Lafayette ended up with the No. 4 seed in Class 4 District 8 and now faces dangerous Liberty North next week, needing a win to help add more history to the Irish’s recent success.

“You had some people ask us this week, ‘Are you surprised?’ No. We’re not surprised,” said Woolard, who needs to lead one more win to match the most for any Lafayette team since an 8-3 run in 1992. “When we came here, we didn’t just come here just to feel good and coach a little ball and have fun. Bottom line is you want to win, and you want to give the community — the North Side — something to be proud of.

“These boys have done that.”

Lafayette’s biggest recurring detriments showed up at all the wrong times.

Key penalties assisted Maryville’s go-ahead touchdown drive which ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Baker to Kyle Leslie on a fourth-and-5 play to put the Spoofhounds ahead 21-20. Lafayette’s next possessions ended in a Kenny Grant fumble, and the Irish’s final two drives contained more flags, which kept them in long-distance situations on critical downs.

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