BY JASON PEAKE
WEBB CITY, Mo. — In back-to-back weeks, the Webb City Cardinals fell into a familiar pattern of building a big lead before letting off the gas.
The Cardinals halted the trend this week, as there was no midgame lull this time around.
Dominant in all facets of the game from the start, Webb City cruised to a 65-0 victory over Ozark on Friday night in Central Ozark Conference action at Cardinal Stadium.
"That's something we've talked about and addressed this week," Webb City coach John Roderique said. "I was a little disappointed last week at Republic. We got up and then didn't have the same intensity. If you want to be a great team, you can't let up at any point. We just want whoever is in the game to play hard all the time. The kids did a great job of that this week. That's the kind of performance you want to see on Senior Night. I'm really proud of our kids for how physical they played."
On a night the program recognized its 25 seniors, Webb City scored on its first eight possessions in building an insurmountable lead. It was Webb City's highest scoring output since the district opener in 2014 when the Cardinals scored 71 points against Mc-Donald County.
With a sixth straight convincing win, Webb City hiked its record to 7-1. Ranked second in Class 4 by the Missouri Media, Webb City racked up 459 yards of offense, with 382 rushing and 77 passing.
Junior running back Devrin Weathers recorded 133 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. Junior quarterback Eli Goddard, who entered the game after senior Kade Hicks went down with an ankle injury, threw for 72 yards and two touchdowns on three completions.
"I can't say enough about the job Eli did," Roderique said. "He came in and made some good plays."
Webb City's stout defense once again limited an opponent to under 100 yards of offense, as Ozark (4-4) finished with 84 yards (77 rushing, 7 passing). For the Tigers, 30 of those yards came on one play, a QB keeper from Cannon Cox, who finished with 40 yards on 10 carries.
In a one-sided first half, Webb City lit up the scoreboard for 51 unanswered points. It's safe to say the Cardinals were clicking on all cylinders.
"I thought our guys up front did a lot of good things," Roderique said. "Ozark brings a lot of things at you defensively, and I thought our guys picked things up and did a great job at the line of scrimmage. And our defense did a great job. We didn't give up many yards or first downs all night. Our defense got the ball back quickly for our offense and we got a couple turnovers, too."
Webb City's first drive went 61 yards on eight plays, capped by a 13-yard run by Weathers. Immediatley after entering the game, Goddard completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior Cale McCallister, who had grabbed an interception three plays earlier.
After Ozark turned it over on downs, the Cardinals needed only three plays to extend their lead, as Weathers broke free for a 43-yard touchdown sprint with five seconds left in the opening period, giving the Cardinals a 21-0 cushion.
The hosts won the second quarter 30-0.
Weathers scored his third touchdown at the 9:01 mark of the second period on an 18-yard run. In a dominant stretch of the quarter, the Cardinals blocked an Ozark punt that rolled out the back of the end zone for a safety, senior Ethan Trueblood hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Goddard before senior Terrell Kabala's 14-yard touchdown scamper made it 44-0.
The Cardinals continued to roll late in the first half. Dillon Harlen blocked and recovered a punt and then, a few plays later, the senior running back plunged into the end zone from five yards out.
How one-sided was the first half? The Cardinals limited the Tigers to 50 yards of offense while recording 332 yards.
Third-quarter touchdown runs by Harlen (13 yards) and classmate Bronson Alcazar (44 yards) gave the hosts a 65-point advantage.
Roderique got his deep reserves into the game in the scoreless final frame.
Webb City travels to Nixa in next week's regular seasonfinale.
Joplin Globe 10/19/2019 (Used by permission)