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SUDDEN CHANGE

BY JARED PORTER

At the time, it seemed like the worst case scenario for Carthage would be a missed field goal to maintain a 7-7 tie with Webb City at the end of the first half.

But with seven-tenths of a second remaining in the second quarter, a 54-yard field goal attempt by Marcus Huntley was blocked. Webb City senior Sergio Perez scooped up the loose ball and returned it about 40 yards before being dragged down at the Carthage 10, seemingly ending the half.

However, a facemask penalty on Carthage was called at the end of the play, giving Webb City an untimed down from the 5-yard line. The Cardinals took advantage of the opportunity with a touchdown run by quarterback Kade Hicks that gave Webb City its first lead of the night, 13-7.

Webb City took hold of the game's momentum heading into the break and never relinquished it from there, ultimately claiming a 32-7 triumph over Carthage at David Haffner Stadium.

"I think that was huge," Webb City coach John Roderique said. "Obviously if we don't score there, it's not a big deal because it's still 7-7. But I think going up 13-7 like that right before half, that might have changed this game."

The second half was all Webb City (4-1) as it scored 19 unanswered points and held the Tigers (3-2) scoreless on four drives.

"The momentum of the game was obviously changed," Carthage coach Jon Guidie said. "I wouldn't say (the blocked field goal that led to the Webb City score) was the determining factor of the game, but it was obviously a big boost for them going into half."

Adding salt in the wound for Carthage was the fact that Webb City received the opening kick to start the second half. But the Tigers' defense responded with a stop to force the Cardinals to punt from midfield.

The Carthage offense, looking to tie or take a lead on its first drive of the second half, advanced 47 yards before a pair of holding penalties resulted in fourth down-and-long from near midfield. The Tigers punted, and Webb City scored seven plays later on a 60-yard touchdown run by Devrin Weathers to go up 19-7 at the end of the third quarter.

To put the nail in the coffin, Webb City recorded touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter — one on a two-yard run by Weathers and another on a 20-yard run by running back Terrell Kabala — to bring the game to its final score.

Carthage, which averaged 45 points heading into the night, was limited to just seven points in the game despite totaling 298 yards of offense. Part of the Tigers' offensive woes had to do with nine penalties that cost them 90 yards. Another hindrance was a Webb City defense that came up with two takeaways, forced one turnover on downs and made a plethora of key third-down stops.

"It was a phenomenal job by our defense to play that well," Roderique said.

Following a scoreless opening stanza, the Tigers drew first blood early in the second quarter with a 12-play, 67-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Patrick Carlton, who had six carries for 35 yards on the drive, found the end zone on a oneyard run to give Carthage a 7-0 lead with 8:44 left till half.

The Tigers threatened to go up two scores after a blocked Webb City punt gave them possession at the Cardinals' 32-yard line midway through the second quarter. But after four plays that resulted in just one yard, a turnover on downs ended the threat and gave the Cardinals possession at their own 31.

Webb City then capitalized on the turnover and marched 79 yards in 12 plays to even the score at 7 with just 1:46 left in the half.

The score was made on a third-and-long attempt when wide receiver Jaystin Smith snagged a 22-yard pass from Eli Goddard over a Carthage defender in the end zone.

Of course, the half was far from over at that point.

Carthage's ensuing drive eventually made its way inside the Webb City 40 when it tried its lengthy field goal that was expected to end the half.

"We were thinking there that if we miss it, we miss it and it's still a tie game at halftime," Guidie said. "We didn't protect it, they scooped it and got a touchdown out of it. … I thought our kids played hard on both sides of the ball tonight. We just had so many penalties, and I don't think I've ever been in a game with that many penalties. But give credit to Webb City as well. They didn't turn the ball over and kept capitalizing on our mistakes."

Carlton finished with 123 yards on 22 carries for Carthage.

The Webb City offense was led by Weathers, who finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

"One of the things we believed coming into tonight was that Carthage was doubting us," Weathers said. "But I thought we came out and really put it on them. That's what we were expecting to do, and we just executed. It was a good game all around."

Joplin Globe 09/28/2019 (Used by permisssion)