Another week remains before the Class 3 No. 2-ranked Spoofhounds begin a grueling stretch that includes their three toughest games of the year against Smithville, Savannah and Lafayette.
In the mean time, the MEC's most dominant team is focused on continuing their absurdly-high level of play Friday at 7 p.m. against Benton on Homecoming at the Hound Pound.
The game is Maryville's first at home since week three and comes at the end of a week filled with potential distractions.
Maryville has handled the chaotic nature of Homecoming week very well recently, winning each of its last five Homecoming games. First-year head coach Matt Webb is highly optimistic that the Hounds will be able to summon that same level of concentration again.
"It's just another football game for us," said Webb. "Homecoming is an important time for alumni and former students to come back and to experience coming back. The actual job of the football team is to treat it like a normal week. Our team does a good job of avoiding distractions. We got a great core group of leaders that take control of the team."
The Hounds are hosting Benton on Homecoming for second time in three years.
Maryville won the previous Homecoming encounter 34-21 in 2010 and scored 39 unanswered points to beat the Cardinals 46-6 last year in St. Joseph.
Overall, Maryville has won five straight games against the Cardinals.
Maryville comes into this matchup at 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the MEC and has yet to be challenged.
The Hounds have outscored their first five opponents 251-21 for an average margin of victory of 46 points.
LeBlond remains the only team that has even scored on Maryville before the fourth quarter.
The Hounds are coming off their most decisive win of the year over Cameron 63-0, but it was a game in which Maryville wasn't quite as sharp as they had been.
This was reflected in team's 11 penalties for 93 yards, although Webb disputes the validity of some of those calls.
"When we win 63-0, we're going to be happy about that regardless of the penalties," said Webb. "There were certain factors that played into why those were called that I can't talk about. I'm positive about our win. Our week's worth of preparation is about Benton and ourselves. The penalties are unacceptable and we'll work on those."
Faced with a brutal first half schedule, Benton (1-4, 0-3) has gone in a downward spiral since knocking off Grain Valley 13-12 in week two.
The Cardinals have lost each of their last three games to Lafayette, Smithville and Savannah by a combined score of 103-14.
Distraction-laced Savannah beat Benton 40-6 last week, scoring the game's first 34 points.
"Benton is a very good opponent," said Webb. "They're very multiple on offense, very physical on defense. They've had a lot of injuries, but they got some really good players. Coach (Matt) Tabor does an outstanding job with his team."
The Cardinals have struggled mightily on offense all season long, scoring 13 points or less in each game.
They've gone without an offensive touchdown in each of their last two losses to Smithville and Savannah.
Benton rotated signal-callers in the Smithville game before settling on 6-1 junior Richard Bowen who completed just 7-19 passes for 66 yards last week.
Top running threat Dontae White, a 5-5 junior, injured his index finger against Savannah and may not be available for the Cardinals Friday. That leaves junior Emilio Whytus and wide receiver Alex Summerow as the Cardinals top skill position threats.
Summerow was responsible for Benton's only touchdown last week with a 74-yard kickoff return.
"They're explosive at running back," said Webb. "Their quarterback is young, but he throws a good ball. The receivers run good routes. What they do from a philosophical standpoint is they line up two backs, they run the ball and throw screens very well. It's something we have to defend this week."
The Hound defense has yielded virtually nothing to opponents all season and last week recorded its second shutout.
Cameron finished with 113 total yards and close to half of that came on a 55-yard run in the first quarter.
Overpowering senior defensive lineman Caleb Mather made 5.5 tackles and three for loss. Emerging sophomore Jacob Cacek also had three tackles for loss.
Paden Maudlin led the Hounds with 6.5 tackles, and corner Tyler Kenkel picked off his first pass of the season.
It was also another big night for the offense which scored on nine of its last 10 drives following a first-ever three-and-out on the opening series.
Maryville has scored 40 points or better in all of its first five games, setting a new season-high in each of the last three.
"I'm very pleased with the way Matt Houchin (offensive coordinator) is running our offense and the way guys are executing," said Webb. "It's a very efficient style of offense."
Maryvlle quarterback Jonathan Baker continued his tremendous senior season with four touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown at Cameron. Two of his touchdown tosses came on deep balls to rangy outside target Treyton Burch.
Baker has 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions on the season. He needs one more TD pass to match his career-high of 14.
Last year, Baker threw three against Benton and the Hounds totaled over 400 yards of offense with a near even balance between run and pass.
Maryville's ground game produced 283 yards last week on 29 carries, and all three of its main backs reached the end zone at least once.
Derek Stiens, who led the Hounds with 90 yards, rushed for two touchdowns and caught another.
Benton's defense has surrendered at least 34 points to each of its last three opponents.
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated Sep. 26, 2012 @ 8:19 pm
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