MARYVILLE, Mo. — It’s a Highway 71 Showdown tonight at the Hound Pound as Savannah travels to Maryville to face off against the Spoofhounds in a battle for a guaranteed share of the MEC title.

“It’s two small communities where football is important,” Savannah head coach Randy Schrader said. “When the lights come on, we’re going to go play ball.”

Both squads enter the contest as the only two MEC teams without a loss at 5-0 in conference play.

“This’ll be a big game and a big win just because of where the MEC conference race is right now. We’re the last two undefeated teams,” Maryville head coach Matt Webb said. “I’m thankful we’re at home, this is a great place to play Savannah at home. It should be a great football game.”

The Savages’ only loss on the season came in the first week against a non-conference opponent in Grain Valley, where they fell 14-12.

Junior running back Evan Yount said the Savages haven’t made any adjustments in their mindset in preparation to hit the road.

“We’ve just been practicing like we always have. We’ve always had a winning mentality, wanting to get together and fix everything that we need to and just keep getting better as the week progresses,” Yount said.

Meanwhile, the Spoofhounds’ lone loss also came in their first game of the season in the Kickoff Classic versus Blair Oaks with a final score of 23-14.

“I’m most excited for the competition level,” junior running back and linebacker Trey Houchin said. “I mean we’ve had good competition but our first competition was in our first week and ever since, we’ve kind of just been rolling over teams. So, now we have a big competition this week, so hopefully it’s a good game.”

The last time the two teams met, Maryville ousted the Savages in the Class 3 District 8 Championship with a 34-12 victory.

Schrader said that loss ignited a fire in his team throughout the past year.

“Our kids have put themselves into a situation to make this a really meaningful game,” Schrader said. “All the weights you lift, and all the practices you do in the summer puts yourself in the position to go up there and have a great football game.”

Savannah’s last win over Maryville in the regular season happened in 2011, where the Savages won 21-14. Despite the eight-year difference, the battle remains just as exciting.

“Savannah’s always a rival game. I grew up here and played against them growing up. So that was a long time ago, and you always remember Savannah games,” Webb added. “It’s always a lot of fun and this year just like in recent years both programs are having successful seasons.”

Schrader has commented throughout the season that Maryville football sets a standard for the league. Going into Friday night’s contest, both teams have chips on their shoulders.

Houchin added, “I mean, we have a lot to win and we also have a lot to lose. So, our main goal is to go out and show our fans what Spoofhound football is all about.”

“We just go out like we always do and we hold a standard,” Yount said. “I hope we come together as a team and we figure it out and get everything locked in where we need to be.”

Micaela Dea can be reached

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Micaela Dea is a sports reporter for News-Press NOW. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Growing up in San Diego, Micaela loves to travel, meet new people, and tell stories. Have a story idea? Don't hesitate to email!