A celebration fit for champions took place Tuesday night inside the MHS Gymnasium.
Spoofhound supporters young and old packed one side of the bleachers to give a hearty congratulations to Maryville's football team on their perfect 15-0 state championship season that culminated with a 35-22 win over John Burroughs in the Class 3 Show-Me-Bowl Friday in St. Louis.
Wearing jeans and their green home jerseys, the Hound football players filed on to the gym floor one-by-one to a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd on hand. They were joined by head coach Matt Webb and all of the assistant coaches that could be there.
"I firmly believe this season was meant to be," said Webb, the first of three school officials to speak at the event. "The people in this room, the young men behind, me, the coaching staff, the administration, the school, everybody involved; this is something that came together and was just an awesome experience."
Standing at a podium in front of his players, Webb went on to thank his wife Amy and his two children, his assistant coaches, the administration and the entire Maryville community for their support.
He also gave special thanks to his senior class, a group of players he's grown especially close to over the course of the season.
"We talked about being committed to the process and that includes doing things right on and off the field," said Webb. "They've done it. They've bought into it. The motto on our backs is 86.4K. It stands for there's 86,400 seconds in a day. We talk about what that means and doing the best you can to take advantage of every second."
Webb later recalled the two experiences that stuck out to him most during the season.
One was seeing the home stands overflowed for Maryville's 42-7 semifinal win over California. The other was looking up in the spacious Edward Jones Dome and being amazed at how many Spoofhound supporters were in attendance.
"Seeing you guys and hearing you guys, you truly make a difference," said Webb. "I know coaches say that all the time. It was evident, and it was a just a powerful thing to receive so much support."
Referencing the state title game itself, Webb noted John Burroughs cast of talented, high-profile players led by Ohio State running back commit Ezekiel Elliott and how that motivated the Hounds to show the sum of their parts was greater.
"I told them we wanted to be the better team," said Webb. "We wanted to be the best team in the Dome. That's exactly what happened."
In closing, Webb reflected on how the season has come full circle for his team.
Page 2 of 2 - Their very first practice during team camp in June was held in the gymnasium because of thunderstorms.
At the end of practice, Webb asked senior defensive tackle Caleb Mather to talk about his experiences winning the state championship in the shot put.
"He said it was an awesome feeling to know you work hard for something and to know that you're the best," said Webb. "That the hard work you put in paid off. Guys, you're the best."
After accepting the Class 3 State Championship trophy from Webb, principal Jason Eggers added a few of his own thoughts on the season.
Eggers noted that this was only the ninth state championship in school history and just the third in football.
Maryville's two previous football titles came in 1982 and 2009.
"Coach Webb talked about perfect Thursday's" said Eggers. "This was a perfect 15-0 season capped off by a state championship. That is great. Coach Webb and his team helped unite this town and our school, making us stronger in everything we do from this point on."
Last to speak was Maryville activities director Paul Snow.
He thanked numerous people, including media members, maintenance crews and the booster club, before imparting this wisdom on the younger Spoofhound players seated behind him.
"Younger guys, you've seen what these older guys did," said Snow. "These guys were once in your shoes. They were here in 2009 standing up here doing the exact same thing. These guys were youngin's. These guys are great leaders in the hallways, in the community. We expect that from you guys. Nothing else will be accepted. Keep it up."