Maryville

Maryville’s Connor Drake runs upfield during Friday’s Class 2 District 7 championship game against Macon at the Hound Pound.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — In nine of the last 10 seasons, the road to the state championship game has gone through Maryville.

“Coach preaches attention to detail, doing your one-eleventh,” Maryville senior Connor Drake said. “Everyone has to buy in, and we do that here.”

The winning tradition continued at Maryville this year, as the Spoofhounds claimed another district title last week.

Saturday, they look to keep going, as the Spoofhounds host Richmond in the Class 2 Quarterfinals.

This year’s game is a rematch of last year’s Class 3 District 8 Championship, which the Spoofhounds won 46-14 en route to a State Runner-Up finish.

One year later, Maryville head coach Matt Webb said he expects a huge challenge from the Spartans.

“They’re 10-1, and they’re averaging 48 points a game on offense, and that’s a lot, no matter who you play,” Webb said. “That just shows how explosive they are, and the athleticism, it starts with their quarterback.”

Leading the charge for the Spartans is senior quarterback Keyshaun Elliott, a dual-threat highlighted by . After facing him last year, Webb said the Spoofhounds have a good idea of what they’re up against.

“We know how good of a player (Elliott) is and what he brings to the table, not only running the football, but throwing it, as well,” Webb said. “He’s just a super athlete, and they do a lot with him.”

The Spoofhounds will counter Elliott with Drake under center and a defense that Webb said is playing its best right now.

“(Drake) is making really good decisions with the football, and Connor knows that our defense is playing really good right now,” Webb said. “On defense, we’re really limiting our opponents right now, and they do a really good job of taking away what our opponent does best.”

Drake said he feels confident in how the offense is producing right now.

“We’re running the ball when we need to, and when we need to be able to pass, our line’s doing an excellent job blocking, wide receivers are getting open,” Drake said. “Makes my job a lot easier.”

As opposed to last year, the Spoofhounds will be the home team this time, with the Spartans heading up to the Hound Pound. Webb said it’s a tremendous advantage to play at home this time of year.

“It’s Hound Pound magic for a reason,” Webb said. “Last playoff game, last season in the State Semifinals was against Cassville, and those memories come back to players, they come back to coaches. This is a special place, and playing at home is huge.”

The Spoofhounds will look to continue those winning ways this year, and Webb said they need to keep striving for success.

“You never want to say, ‘ho hum, just another plaque on the wall,’” Webb said. “It’s playoff time, and it needs to be special. It needs to be fun, you need to have those jitters and the excitement. Those things keep you hungry, and I think it’s important that we play that way throughout the playoffs.”

Maryville hosts Richmond at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Hound Pound.

Jacob Lang can be reached at jacob.lang@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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