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BROTHERLY LOVE: Renfro brothers get first taste of varsity action together against Willard

Although the final result wasn’t what Joplin fans were hoping for in the matchup against Willard, the game against the Tigers will be remembered by a pair of Eagles with positive memories.

Friday’s contest marked the first time senior wide receiver Keaton Renfro and freshman running back Quinton Renfro, brothers, took the field together at the varsity level.

“It is something we are never going to forget,” Quinton said. “Even 50 years from now, we are going to look back and talk about this. It is one of those moments we will never forget.”

“It meant the world,” Keaton said. “We always dreamed about something like this since we were little.”

Of course, Keaton and Quinton weren’t the only Renfro family members who will have this as a memory to cherish. Their father, Travis Renfro, who was a running back and played for Joplin (1999-02), said it was a dream come true to see both of his sons on the field at the same time.

“That was a very special moment,” Travis said. “We’ve been talking about the possibility of this since Keaton was in sixth grade and Quin was in third grade. Their age split was the exact same as my brother and I, but we never got that opportunity to play together. To see them on the field that night, I was shaking, my heart was pumping and my adrenaline was flowing. All types of different emotions were happening, and I didn’t know whether to cry or just be excited for them.”

Travis, father, and sons, Keaton and Quinton Renfro (left to right), pose for a photo. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Watching his sons continue a family legacy he started, Travis couldn’t have been more proud to see Keaton and Quinton perform well in a jersey he used to wear on Friday nights.

“The best part about it is they are doing better than I did,” Travis said. “They are wearing that jersey better than I ever was able to. And that is my goal as a father, I want them to be better than I was. … Seeing them wear those Eagles jerseys, the same jersey I wore 18 years ago, it just makes my heart happy.”

While Keaton has been a fixture for the varsity program the last several seasons, Quinton was called up to the varsity level to provide running back depth for the Eagles, who were without senior starter Nathan Glades because of a knee injury.  

Of course, making the jump from the freshman team to the varsity isn’t an easy one. Luckily, for Quinton, he used his best resource when it came to preparing for what to expect, his older brother. 

“It’s great, and I don’t know what I would do without my brother,” Quinton said. “He is always real with me and tells me what I need to hear. He is a great resource.”

“I told him just to keep a short-term memory,” Keaton said. “When playing with the freshmen, there is less competition. When you get to the varsity level, they are always going to make a play no matter how good you are. It is just about how you respond to that (adversity), and I just wanted to make sure he was prepared for that.”

When Quinton was notified he would be participating with the varsity team for the week of practice leading up to the Willard game, the first thing he and Keaton did was schedule a study session. 

“The first thing we did was go to film,” Quinton said. “We looked over a bunch of film. I had to learn a lot, but we were both really excited. Keaton was also on me about making sure I had the right attitude and work ethic.”

As for how Quinton’s first week of practice went, it was a noticeable transition that was very rewarding.

“It wasn’t easy,” Quinton said. “I couldn’t take a play off in practice. As a freshman, they could send me back down at any time, so I had to work super hard every play. The speed of the game was quicker (in practice), but I was comfortable and felt like I belonged. But it is way more fast-paced and intense.”

“I told him you have to take every rep 100 percent,” Keaton said. “Even if you think it is a little thing, you have to do it to your full ability because if you don’t, it will show up on Fridays.”

The ability Quinton displayed in his first week of practice was noticed by the Joplin coaching staff. He showed enough positives to earn a spot on the roster by time the Willard game arrived on Friday.

“A lot of time, talented running backs at the freshman level are so used to beating everyone to the outside and outrunning people that they have a hard time running between the tackles,” Joplin coach Curtis Jasper said. “I think that was the big thing we saw during practice that week. (Quinton) wasn’t afraid to run between the tackles, and he wasn’t opposed to doing it. His vision was good as far as seeing where the holes were, and he did a good job of going north to south when he found the hole.”

After not seeing any action early, Quinton made his first appearance in the second quarter and found success. He finished the night with 17 rushes for a team-high 130 yards, including a 37-yard rushing touchdown with 5:12 left in the second quarter.

“I didn’t know what to think in the moment,” Quinton said. “I was just so happy, but I was focused on the game and didn’t really get a chance to think about it until later that night when I was going to sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep because I just kept thinking I scored my first touchdown on varsity. I didn’t even think I would get into the game. It was exciting.”

Quinton Renfro (28) and Keaton Renfro (21) celebrate during Joplin’s game against Willard. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“He even surprised me with how well he handled it,” Keaton said. “I didn’t think he would go out there and play as well as he did. I knew he prepared the right way, so that preparation showed out on the field. I sprinted all the way across the field (after his touchdown) just to see him to tell him how we dreamed about this. It was crazy.

“That is something we never were guaranteed would happen. I am glad it happened, and I hope there are more moments like that this season.”

Adding to the memories, Keaton also found the end zone when he converted a two-point conversion, hauling in a pass from Always Wright with 10:17 on the clock in the fourth quarter.

And while Quinton had a solid first game, he is aware, as a freshman, his varsity time could be limited this season. He was quick to point out that the experience he gained in his first varsity game was invaluable for his career.

“There is always work to do, and I can keep getting better,” Quinton said. “You are never at your greatest point. You can always get better, so I am going to continue to keep working. Wherever they put me, I am going to play because I want to do whatever it takes for the team.”

Swimming: Joplin, Carthage take first, second at Springfield meet

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —  Joplin and Carthage finished first and second, respectively, in the team standings at the Springfield Duals swim meet on Tuesday.
The Eagles finished with 303 points, with the Tigers second with 258.
Marshfield (242), Waynesville (156), Hillcrest (76) and Parkview (20) rounded out the team standings.


Joplin won six events.
Ben Wardlow finished first in two events—the 50-yard freestyle in 23.01 seconds and the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute, 8 seconds.
Zane Reavley took first in the 200 individual medley in 2:22, while Zane Newman (5:36) and Reavley (5:56) placed first and second in the 500 freestyle.
The Eagles won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:41, with Wardlow, Jacob Glenn, Newman and Reavley competing. Joplin also won the 400 freestyle relay, as the team of Newman, Reavley, Glenn and Wardlow finished in 3:52.
Glenn was second in the 200 freestyle (2:06) and third in the 100 free (57.13).
Joplin finished third in the 200 medley relay, with Jackson Mordica, Colin Vermillion, Ian Vermillion and Jonah Hensley swimming.
Ian Vermillion was fourth in the 200 IM, while Newman was fourth in the 50 free and Hensley was fourth in the 100 free.


The Tigers won the 200 medley relay in 1:59, with Kellen Frieling, Ezekiel Ramirez, Landon White and Eli Cox competing.
Carthage was second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45, with Ramirez, Frieling, Cox and Aaron Vang swimming. The Tigers were fourth in the 400 relay, with Will Wallace, Gibson Huelat, Vang and White competing.
Frieling and Cox took first and second in the 100 backstroke. Frieling finished in 1:05 and Cox recorded a time of 1:10. Cox finished second in the 100 butterfly.
Ramirez finished second in the 100 breaststroke and was also third in the 200 freestyle, while Wallace took third in the 200 IM and fourth in the 500 free.
White was third in the 100 butterfly and Huelat was fourth in the 100 breaststroke.

SOFTBALL: Carthage rolls past Branson

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage scored in every inning en route to a 14-4 win over Branson in five innings on Tuesday.

Jensyn Elder earned the win in the circle after limiting Branson to four runs, three earned, on six hits, a walk and nine strikeouts.

Peyton Bonsey took the loss after allowing 14 runs, 11 earned, on 17 hits, four walks and two strikeouts.

Carthage erased a 2-1 deficit in the second when Landry Cochran singled to left to score Katie Crowe, tying the game at 2-2. Natalie Rodriguez added a two-run single to center later in the frame, with Makayla Jennings following with a run-scoring single to center field to push the lead to 5-2.

Branson trimmed the lead to 5-4 in the third after a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Bonsey, but the Tigers answered right back in the bottom half of the frame with RBI singles from Jordyn Jones and Crowe.

Elder picked up an RBI with a single to short in the fourth. Rodriguez brought home a run in the fifth with a single to left before Jennings put the game out of reach with a three-run home run in the next at-bat to make the score 13-4. The game was ended on an RBI single from Jones.

Cochran had three hits and scored three times, with Presley Probert tallying three hits and scoring twice. Jennings and Rodriguez each had had two hits and combined for four runs and seven RBI. Elder, Jones and Crowe all had two hits in the win.


Carthage (11-7) travels to Republic on Wednesday.

SOFTBALL: Joplin hands Carl Junction 12-3 loss

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Joplin broke a scoreless tie with six runs in the fourth inning on the way to a 12-3 win over Carl Junction on Tuesday.

Jill McDaniel earned the win after limiting Carl Junction to three runs on two hits, a walk and seven strikeouts.

Saedra Allen took the loss after allowing 12 runs, eight earned, on 11 hits, four walks and 12 strikeouts.

With no score after three innings, Joplin’s Liz Snider doubled home McDaniel and Izzy Yust to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Abby McGinnis singled to center later in the inning to bring home the third run of the frame. After two Joplin runners came home on a Carl Junction error,  Bailey Ledford came through with an RBI triple to center to give the Eagles a 6-0 advantage.

Joplin added two more runs in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a Reece Schroer RBI double to left to score McGinnis, pushing the lead to 8-0. 

Joplin picked up another run-scoring hit in the sixth when Snider scored Yust with a double to left to extend the lead to 11-0.

Carl Junction got on the board in the last of the sixth inning when Kalyssa Hagston drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 12-1. Saedra Allen picked up an RBI later in the frame on a groundout.

Snider led Joplin with three hits, all doubles, and a team-high four RBI. Ledford and Schroer each had two hits for Joplin. 

Izzie Southern and Hannah Cantrell recorded hits for Carl Junction.


Joplin travels to Willard on Thursday.

Carl Junction is at Branson on Thursday.

Football: Show-Me Bowl games to be played at high school stadiums

The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced on Tuesday that this year’s Show-Me Bowl football games will be played at high school stadiums.
A press release from MSHSAA stated that the decision is due to “venue usage conflicts” with Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field in Columbia.
Three high school stadiums will be used to host 11-man championship games. The location of the 8-man game is still to be determined.
Blair Oaks, Helias Catholic and Jefferson City have agreed to host state title games, the press release said. Other details are being finalized, including what games or games each school will host.
Missouri or Missouri State has hosted the state championships since 2016. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis hosted the 11-man championship games from 1996-2015.
High school stadiums haven’t hosted a state championship game in the state of Missouri since 1978.

MAKING HISTORY: Carl Junction senior Salma Lewis surpasses 1,000-kill mark in win over Neosho

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — It was a night to remember in Carl Junction (15-2) as senior outside hitter Salma Lewis became the first Bulldog to surpass the 1,000-kill mark in her career during a win against Neosho (12-5-1) on Tuesday.

“It honestly means a lot to me, and it was such an amazing experience getting to celebrate it with my team,” Lewis said. “It was so much fun.”

“She is the first player I have had play for me that has hit the 1,000-kill mark,” Carl Junction coach Cheryl Sharples said. “It doesn’t happen a lot in high school. A, it says a lot about her as a player, and b, it says a lot about our program because you have to play for successful teams to be able to accomplish that. 

“Today, my thought was that there are some kids who don’t take 1,000 swings in their career, so for her to get 1,000 kills is pretty remarkable.”

Carl Junction led 15-12 in the first set when Lewis, a four-year starter, came from the back row on the right side and swung herself into the history books with her 1,000th kill to give the Bulldogs a 16-12 lead.

“The first and second years were the most difficult,” Lewis said when reflecting on her high school career. “I think in my junior year, I got really comfortable with all of my teammates around me. We all worked really well together. Logan (Jones) is a great setter and she really helped me out. I think we just connected as a team the last two years, and that pushed me to be better for them.”

Carl Junction senior Salma Lewis became the first Bulldog to enter the 1,000-kill club on Tuesday against Neosho. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

To make the moment more special, play was stopped briefly as Lewis was able to celebrate with her team, who is like a family to her.

“I was so excited to be able to experience this with them on the court,” Lewis said. “They have all been here for me and supported me throughout the way. It meant a lot.”

“I love it that our team wanted her to accomplish that,” Sharples said. “In my opinion, that just reflects back to the type of person she is. If she wasn’t a good leader or a nice kid, I don’t know if they would cheer for her in that situation. It just speaks to what type of player and kid she is.”

Over the last two weeks, Lewis, a Drury University commit, broke the CJ kill record on Sept. 17, helped her Bulldogs win the CJ Classic tournament on Saturday and has now surpassed the 1,000-career mark. To say it has been a roller coaster of emotions would be accurate.

“It’s been a bunch of emotions, but it’s all been good,” Lewis said. “I think now we have to have the mindset for a district championship. We all are putting in the work in and out of practice. If we all come together as a team, we will be OK.”


The Bulldogs earned a 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-8) sweep of the Wildcats.

“I thought we started a little tight early just because we wanted to get the monkey off our back for (Salma),” Sharples said. “Overall, I thought we were doing some different things offensively and working on our serve-receive. I thought in games two and three that our passers did a better job of staying low and letting the ball come to them.”

“We passed at a 1.5 and a 1.8 when we’ve been passing from 2.0 to 3.1 and you can’t do that in the COC, period, and you sure can’t do that against Carl Junction because they are too good of a club,” Neosho coach Ann Landrum said. “We’ve lost focus and I think fatigue has set in. But we have to learn to get over that because we have not played as well as we have this year. There are a lot of excuses we could make, but the bottom line is we have to suck it up, put on our big-girl pants and do it. … We have to get back to being focused and committed to the little things that have gotten us this far.”

The opening set went back and forth before a pair of three-point service runs by Lewis and Olivia Vediz gave Carl Junction an 11-6 lead. Following Lewis’ historic kill and a pair of sideouts, Lewis led a five-point service run to push the lead to 22-13. During the run, Destiny Buerge, Jessa Hylton and Maggie Brown all earned kills. Carl Junction finished off the first set with a kill from Hylton followed by an ace from Vediz and another kill by Hylton.

Carl Junction senior Salma Lewis aces against Neosho late in the match on Tuesday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“We focus a lot on serve and pass, that’s our game,” Sharples said. “We really focus on who we want to serve at and make it an aggressive serve. We hope it pays off for us in points.”

Service control played a large role in the Bulldogs’ success in the second and third set as well. With a 16-9 advantage in the second game, Carl Junction’s Jillian Kennedy ran off six straight points to build a 21-9 lead. What impressed Coach Sharples the most about that run? It was a total team effort.

“It was fun to watch some good defense,” Sharples said. “I thought our (libero), Olivia (Vediz) did a good job of stepping in and really attacking and taking some stuff away that they were trying to do.”

Hylton used three consecutive aces early in the third set to give Carl Junction a 4-1 advantage. After a kill from Neosho’s Savannah Merriman cut the lead to 9-4, a kill from Lewis followed by a five-point service run later in the final set by Lewis, who had three aces in the run, to push the lead to 15-4. Carl Junction continued to cruise in the final set, with Hylton finishing off the win with two aces.


Lewis led Carl Junction with 11 kills, while Vediz finished with 18 digs. Hylton had five aces to lead the Bulldogs, while Brown had two blocks. Logan Jones had 31 assists.

Merriman and Abby Jarvis each had four kills for Neosho. Merriman had a team-high three blocks, while Lexi Laney had four digs. Kaylee Butler led Neosho with four service points. 


Carl Junction travels to Willard on Thursday.

Neosho travels to Ozark on Thursday.

Volleyball: Carthage tops Joplin for first COC win

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage picked up its first Central Ozark Conference win of the season by knocking off Joplin 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 27-25) on Tuesday night inside the CHS Gymnasium.
The Tigers improved to 8-6 and 1-0 in the COC.

“We had a great night tonight,” Carthage coach Bradyn Webb said. “Our girls did everything we asked and that paid off. I am very proud of the way my girls played when the pressure was on, especially during that third set. It was a great way to start off our conference games.”
Sydnee Dudolski had a big night for the Tigers, as she recorded 17 digs and 13 kills.
Brielle Cartwright had eight kills, while Grace Schriever added six.
Olivia Bourgault had 21 digs, while Riann Schwartz added seven digs. Rylee Anderson and Chloe Black had six digs apiece.
Carthage had two COC games with Carl Junction and Nixa postponed last week.

Joplin fell to 11-7 overall and 1-2 in the COC.
Joplin coach Staci Saunders said her team committed 32 unforced errors in the match.
Addison Saunders had 11 assists, 10 service points, seven digs and four aces for the Eagles, while Allie Lawrence had six kills.
Aubrey Ritter contributed eight digs and five kills, while Emma Floyd and Angelina Schramm had four kills apiece.
Baileigh Riley had eight assists, while Kaylie Anderson had 14 digs.
Carthage is at Republic on Thursday, while Joplin travels to defending state champion Nixa on Thursday.

Berry sets HR mark in Webb City’s win over Neosho

NEOSHO, Mo.  As Haidyn Berry rounded the bases, with the game just minutes old, the Webb City senior was well aware of what she’d just accomplished.

The large smile on her face and the loud cheers from the visitors dugout told the storythis was no ordinary home run.  

On the second pitch of her first at-bat in the top of the first inning, Berry launched a line drive over the left field fence for her 14th homer of the season. 

With that, Berry is now the Webb City High School softball program’s single-season home run record-holder. 

“I knew I broke the record and it was really exciting,” Berry said. “I saw my teammates cheering for me in the dugout and that got me even more fired up. It was just awesome.” 

Berry’s record-setting performance was the main highlight as Webb City earned a convincing 14-4 victory over Neosho on Tuesday in a key Central Ozark Conference softball showdown at the Neosho Athletic Complex.

Berry entered the day tied with Nicole Hudson with 13 home runs. Hudson, who went on to have a standout career at the University of Missouri, set the Webb City school record in 2006.  

The team’s No. 3 hitter, Berry came to the plate with two runners on-base in the top of the first against Neosho starting pitcher Phenix Scott.

On a 0-1 count, Berry connected with a fastball, depositing the ball over the left field fence.

“It was right down the pipe and I took it for a ride,” Berry said. “She gave me something to hit and I didn’t waste the pitch.” 

Haidyn Berry connects for a record-setting home run in the first inning of Tuesday’s game with Neosho. Berry is now Webb City’s single-season leader in home runs. Photo by Jason Peake.


Berry received a fist bump from Cardinals coach Shauna Friend as she rounded third base and headed for home plate, where three of her teammates waited to help celebrate the historic moment. 

“It’s such an accomplishment because Nicole Hudson is a legend at Webb City,” said Berry, last year’s COC Player of the Year. “So it means the world to me to be connected with her. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Coach Friend noted Berry now has her place in the record book. 

“I think it’s a great accomplishment and I know she’s worked hard for it,” Friend said. “She’s put in many years of practice and hard work. She’s very deserving and she’s always a team player.” 

Berry, who added home run No. 15 in the fourth inning, still has plenty of time to reach and possibly surpass the state’s all-time leader in single-season homers. Hillsboro’s Carlie Sanders hit 21 in 2017.

The Cardinals have five regular season games remaining before the postseason begins. As her senior season winds down, Berry noted she’s more concerned with team goals than individual accolades.

“If I get it, I get it,” Berry said of the state record. “For me, it’s all about winning ball games with my teammates. We want a district title and then we want a state title. We don’t want to fall short this year.” 

Webb City hiked its record to 20-2 overall and 7-0 in the COC. 

“We wanted to stay perfect in the conference, so this is a big win for us,” Friend said. 

Neosho (13-5, 4-2 COC) had won eight straight games ahead of the contest. Webb City edged Neosho 6-5 at Joplin’s tournament earlier this season, but the rematch was not as close.

Haidyn Berry rounds the bases after hitting her 14th home run of the season.


After Berry’s three-run homer, Hannah Wells added an RBI single to give the Cardinals an early 4-0 lead. 

The Wildcats responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Lili Graue was hit by a pitch, McKaylie Forrest singled and then an error allowed two runs to cross the plate. 

Webb City’s Emalee Lamar hit a two-run homer in the second, and Brynna Cupp’s RBI single made it 7-2 in the third. 

Berry smacked a solo home run off the scoreboard in center in the fourth, giving the visitors a six-run cushion.

Neosho didn’t quit. The Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Sierra Jones, Abbie Carpenter and Alivia Campbell all singled, with Carpenter and Campbell both reaching on bunts. Brittany Winchester’s sac fly drove in a run before the Cardinals committed an error after another Neosho bunt. 

The Cardinals turned a double play to end the inning. 

Webb City blew the game open with a six-run seventh. Emma Welch delivered a two-run single up the middle, Lamar added a sac fly and then Alyssa Jennings launched a three-run home run to right-center. 

The Cardinals scored their 14 runs on 19 hits, pushing across runs in five of seven innings. 

“It was good to see us put up numbers like that,” Friend said.

At the plate, Berry went 4-for-4 with a walk. Berry was also the winning pitcher, as she surrendered just four hits and struck out nine. 

“Haidyn had a great game all-around,” Friend said. “She dominated the game in the circle and was on-base five times. That’s a great day.”

Cupp went 3-for-4, while Peyton Hawkins, Welch, Lamar, Jennings and Wells all had two hits apiece. Berry drove in four runs, while Lamar and Jennings had three RBI apiece and Welch drove in two.

The Cardinals have now hit 38 homers this fall, which is tied for the fourth-most in MSHSAA history. The record is 52 (Hillsboro, 2017).

Forrest, Jones, Carpenter and Campbell had one hit apiece for the Wildcats. 

Scott took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits. Winchester went the final 6 2/3 and gave up 10 runs on 14 hits while striking out four. 


Webb City has another key COC clash at Republic on Thursday. Neosho is at Nixa on Thursday.

Webb City catcher Kaylyn Gilbert tags out Neosho’s Alivia Campbell during Tuesday’s game in Neosho. Photos by Jason Peake.
Haidyn Berry gets a fist bump from Webb City coach Shauna Friend after hitting a record-setting home run.
Neosho’s Brittany Winchester delivers a pitch against Webb City.
Haidyn Berry was the winning pitcher in Tuesday’s game with Neosho.
Haidyn Berry is greeted at home plate.

Volleyball: Thomas Jefferson tops Everton

Thomas Jefferson defeated Everton 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-22) in prep volleyball action on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers served well in the win, as Mary Nguyen had six aces, while Laynie Solum and Alice Macdonald had four aces apiece.
Kayley Ball had five kills, while Nico Carlson and Sonia Carlson added three kills apiece.
Thomas Jefferson (7-9) is at the Southwest Volleyfest on Saturday.

Tennis: Joplin earns dual win over Neosho

NEOSHO, Mo. —  The Joplin High School girls tennis team defeated Neosho 9-0 on Tuesday.
In singles, Joplin’s Emma Watts beat Michelle Lindsay 8-3, while Kennedy Schwartz topped Emily Lemus 8-2 at No. 2.
At No. 3 singles, Jensen Vowels defeated Claudia Martensen 8-0 and Lauren Laird beat Ana Ramirez 8-1 at No. 4.
Cloey Blank defeated Angelica Vynyas 8-4 at No. 5 and Brynn Driver beat Mariana Anaya 8-3 at No. 6
In doubles, Astrid Cardenas and Watts beat Lindsay-Martensen 8-2, while Vowels and Laird defeated Lemus-Jasmine Martinez 8-0.
Blank and Driver defeated Ramirez and Anaya 8-3 at No. 3 doubles.

Missouri Media rankings: Carthage, Webb City remain on top of Class 5 poll

Carthage and Webb City remained the top two teams in Class 5 in this week’s Missouri Media prep football rankings.
Defending state champion Carthage (4-0) received seven of 10 first-place votes to stay on top of the Class 5 poll. No. 2 Webb City (4-1) received one first-place vote, while No. 3 Jackson (5-0) received two first-place votes.
Fellow Central Ozark Conference squad Ozark (4-1) is ranked eighth in Class 5.
Joplin (2-3) dropped out of the Class 6 rankings this week after the Eagles suffered a 32-20 loss at Class 5 Willard (1-4).
Nixa (5-0) is now ranked second in Class 6.
Mount Vernon (4-1) and Cassville (3-2) are ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in Class 3. Lamar (4-1) is ranked second in Class 2.
The statewide rankings are compiled by a 10-member panel of sports reporters and broadcasters from across the state, including Jason Peake of SoMo Sports.
Only teams that have played games this season are eligible for the rankings.

Missouri Media football rankings

Statewide high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. First-place votes in parenthesis.

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Liberty (10), 5-0, 100, 2
2. Nixa, 5-0, 86, 3
3. Lee’s Summit West, 4-1, 80, 6
4. Rockhurst, 3-2, 68, 4
5. Raymore-Peculiar, 4-1, 59, 1
6. Francis Howell, 3-1, 52, 5
7. Holt, 4-0, 40, 7
8. Fox, 5-0, 33, 9
9. Rock Bridge, 4-1, 15, 10
10. Lee’s Summit North, 3-2, 14, NR
Dropped out: No. 8 Joplin
Also receiving votes: Kickapoo (3-2), 2; Joplin (2-3), 1

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Carthage (7), 4-0, 97, 1
2. Webb City (1), 4-1, 87, 2
3. Jackson (2), 5-0, 86, 3
4. Grain Valley, 5-0, 67, 4
5. Battle, 2-1, ,53 6
6. Platte County, 4-1, 44, 7
7. Fort Zumwalt North, 4-1, 34, 8
8. Ozark, 4-1, 26, T9
9. Farmington, 5-0, 25, T9
10. North Kansas City, 3-2, 20, 5
Also receiving votes: Belton (4-0), 9; Raytown (3-2), 2

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Jefferson City Helias (9), 5-0, 99, 1
2. West Plains (1), 5-0, 91, 2
3. Hannibal, 4-0, 71, 3
4. Bolivar, 4-1, 70, 4
5. Festus, 5-0, 53, 6
6. Lincoln College Prep, 3-1, 42, 7
7. Smithville, 3-2, 41, 5
8. Moberly, 5-0, 33, 8
9. Winnetonka, 5-0, 29, 10
10. St. Dominic, 3-2, 13, 9
Also receiving votes: Warrensburg (4-1), 6; Kearney (2-3), 1; Savannah (2-1), 1

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Valle Catholic (6), 5-0, 96, 4
2. Odessa (4), 5-0, 92, 2
3. Blair Oaks, 4-1, 81, 1
4. Centralia, 4-0, 62, T6
5. Kennett, 5-0, 61, 5
6. Mt. Vernon, 4-1, 51, 3
7. Oak Grove, 4-1, 40, 8
8. Southern Boone, 4-1, 32, 10
9. Cassville, 3-2, 14, T6
10. Park Hills Central, 5-0, 9, NR
Dropped out: No. 9 Buffalo
Also receiving votes: Richmond (3-1), 6; Buffalo (4-1), 4; Aurora (3-2), 2

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Palmyra (7), 5-0, 97, 1
2. Lamar (2), 4-1, 89, 3
3. Lutheran St. Charles, 4-1, 81, 4
4. St. Pius X (KC) (1), 5-0, 73, 5
5. Lafayette County, 4-1, 59, 2
6. Butler, 5-0, 39, 7
7. Lexington, 5-0, 34, 8
8. Clark County, 3-2, 29, 6
9. Duchesne, 4-1, 25, 10
10. Monroe City, 3-2, 19, 9
Also receiving votes: Warsaw (3-0), 4; Highland (3-1), 1

Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
1. Mid Buchanan (10), 5-0, 100,
2. Hayti, 4-0, 86, 2
3. Thayer, 3-1, 75, 3
4. Milan, 5-0, 71, 4
5. Windsor, 5-0, 61, 5
6. Westran, 5-0, 46, 6
7. East Buchanan, 4-0, 41, 7
8. Marionville, 5-0, 26, 8
9. Skyline, 4-1, 14, 10
10. Adrian, 3-1, 13, 9
Also receiving votes: Marceline (4-1), 6; Crest Ridge (3-1), 4; South Harrison (4-1), 3; Cabool (4-1), 2; Harrisburg (3-2), 2

Volleyball: CJ Classic All-Tournament Team

Below is the all-tournament team for the 2020 Dr. Jeffrey Knutzen CJ Classic volleyball tournament:

Ellie Lawson, Carl Junction
Sydnee Dudolski, Carthage
Trinity Gayman, Nevada
Savannah Merriman, Neosho
Gabie McVey, Aurora
Jacey Lee, Aurora
Mackenzie Brunson, West Plains
Kaycee Factor, McDonald County
Aubrey Ritter, Joplin
Addison Saunders, Joplin
Sage Crane, Webb City
Makenzie Storm, Webb City
Maddy Peeples, Webb City
Jessa Hylton, Carl Junction
Logan Jones, Carl Junction
Salma Lewis, Carl Junction (Most Valuable Player)

Softball: Webb City goes 3-1 at Warrensburg, Berry ties HR mark

The Webb City High School softball team went 3-1 at the Warrensburg Tournament over the weekend.
The Cardinals won three straight games to open the event before dropping an 8-5 decision to Sherwood in the finale.
Webb City is now 19-2.

The game was tied at four after three innings, but Sherwood plated two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth. The Cardinals got a run back in the fifth, but would not score again.
Haidyn Berry went 2-for-3 with two RBI for Webb City, while Kaylyn Gilbert had one RBI. Peyton Hawkins and Emma Welch had one hit apiece.
Berry took the loss in the circle after allowing eight earned runs.
Sherwood is the defending Class 2 state champion. Sherwood’s Mac Morgan, the reigning Gatorade Missouri Softball Player of the Year, hit two home runs and also earned the pitching victory, striking out six and allowing three earned runs.
Sherwood also handed McDonald County its first loss of the season at the event, as the Marksmen won 10-0. The Mustangs are now 16-1.

The Cardinals erupted for 26 hits.
Hannah Wells went 5-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Welch, Lydia Lortz and Ripley Shanks had four hits apiece.
Welch drove in five runs, Berry had four RBI. Wells, Welch and Berry all homered.
Berry’s 13th homer of the season tied Nicole Hudson’s single-season school record.
Berry and Lortz both pitched.

Berry’s grand slam was a highlight of the victory.
Lamar had three hits, while Bri Batson drove in two runs. Hawkins, Gilbert and Lortz all had two hits apiece.
Lortz was the winning pitcher. She gave up just four hits.

Welch drove in three runs on two doubles, while Hawkins and Lamar contributed two hits apiece.
Berry earned the win, allowing just one run on seven hits.


Webb City travels to Neosho on Tuesday.

Carthage boys, Webb City girls claim titles at East Newton

GRANBY, Mo. — Carthage’s boys and Webb City’s girls topped the team standings at the East Newton Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.

Carthage had six runners finish in the top 18 and the Tigers finished with 56 points.
Carthage’s Mariques Strickland placed sixth with a time of 16:35, while the Tigers’ pack of Malcolm Robertson, Miguel Solano, Richard Contreras and Coltyn Herrera finished 11th through 14th and Joseph Wyrick was 18th.
Webb City finished second in the team standings with 84 points, with East Newton (122), Neosho (132) and Lamar (133) rounding out the top five teams.
Spokane’s Sam Shuman took first in 16:01, while New Covenant’s Tanner Talley finished second (16:15) and Neosho’s Kaden Cole placed third (16:22). Lamar’s Joe Kremp was fourth (16:30), with Parkview’s Connor Ayres fifth (16:34).
Webb City’s Roman Borboa placed seventh, with East Newton’s Kelton Sorrell eighth and Lamar’s Ethan Pittsenbarger 10th.
Webb City’s Dustin Brockmiller and Samuel Winesburg finished 15th and 16th, respectively, while teammate Owen Weller was 21st.
McAuley Catholic also competed at the event. Thomas Black finished 55th.

Webb City finished with 40 points, while Aurora (86) and Neosho (90) were second and third, respectively, in the team standings.
The Cardinals had seven runners in the top 26.
Halley Philpot was seventh (20:49), while Abi Street took 13th (21:22) and Riley Hawkins finished 14th (21:25). Izzy Lopez and Mileah Metcalf finished 20th and 21st, Velissia Perez was 24th and Alanna Bundy took 26th.
Lamar’s Kiersten Potter took first in 19:27, with Republic’s Mihane Nambara (19:34) second and Summit Prep’s Alexis Workman (19:47) third. Mount Vernon’s Rilee Simons and Aurora’s Aubrey Boatwright were fourth and fifth, respectively.
East Newton’s Ellie Hicks placed 10th and Aurora’s Kaci Singer was 11th. Neosho’s Riley Kemna finished 15th, while Carthage’s Kimberly Hernandez was 17th. Kendall Ramsey of McAuley finished 55th.

East Newton Cross Country Invitational

Boys team standings: Carthage 56, Webb City 84, East Newton 122, Neosho 132, Lamar 133, Branson 138, Spokane 150, New Covenant 171, Republic 234, Parkview 288, McDonald County 325, Reeds Spring 328, McAuley Catholic 343, Wheaton 368, Aurora 416.
Girls team standings: Webb City 40, Aurora 86, Neosho 90, Carthage 100, Branson 111, East Newton 138, Parkview 143, Sarcoxie 228.



Volleyball: Carl Junction tops Webb City in CJ Classic title match

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. The Carl Junction Bulldogs had plenty of extra motivation ahead of Saturday’s prep volleyball showdown with the Webb City Cardinals.

“They got us three times last year,” Bulldogs coach Cheryl Sharples said. “Mentally, that was in our head.”

In fact, the Bulldogs could only watch a year ago when the rival Cardinals celebrated with the CJ Classic’s championship plaque.

The tourney hosts made sure history didn’t repeat itself. 

Finishing strong with an inspired effort, Carl Junction earned a 2-1 (22-25, 25-20, 25-16) come-from-behind victory over Webb City in the championship match of the annual invitational named in honor of Dr. Jeffrey Knutzen. 

It’s the first CJ Classic title for the Bulldogs in three seasons. 

“Webb got us in this match last year, so we got a little payback,” Sharples said. “I think we had a really solid day of volleyball. We took care of business in every game. I thought we played a little tight in the first set against Webb City. When we stopped and refocused on the process of the game, we were able to do what we wanted to do.” 

Webb City coach Rhonda Lawrence noted the championship match was a hard-fought and well-played affair. 

“We’re pretty evenly-matched,” Lawrence said. “The kids know each other well. They’ve played against each other for years. Obviously the rivalry from last year is big, so I’m sure that gives them a good boost. We had opportunities, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”

For the tournament, Carl Junction senior standout Salma Lewis slammed 53 kills. A Drury recruit, Lewis recently set Carl Junction’s career kills mark. Junior outside hitter Jessa Hylton added 42 kills, while senior middle hitter Jillian Kennedy had 16 kills. Sophomore setter Logan Jones handed out 91 assists.

“We had several kids that had great days,” Sharples said. “I thought Salma and Jessa both took really great swings. Logan Jones did a great job of getting us 1-on-1 and making our hitters successful. And our middles (Jillian Kennedy and Maggie Brown) were very active and Des (Destiny Buerge) took some good swings on the right side. Our passers put us in system and let us play the game.” 

Senior outside hitter Maddy Peeples led Webb City with 51 kills, 39 digs and four aces on the day. Sophomore outside hitter Brenda Lawrence compiled 32 kills, seven aces and four blocks. Also for the Cardinals, Anna Hettinger handed out 67 assists, while Avery Westhoven had 40 assists and 25 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Kyah Sanborn had 37 digs and seven aces, while senior libero Sage Crane recorded 62 digs. Kearston Galardo had 20 kills, 14 blocks and 10 aces, while Makenzie Storm contributed 22 kills and 11 blocks. Galardo and Storm are both junior middle blockers. 

“Maddy carries us in every match and I thought Brenda stepped up and did a lot of good things,” Coach Lawrence said. “Kenzie Storm’s blocking and presence at the net has been huge all season. She just keeps getting better. She’s already had more blocks herself that our leading blocker last year. Sage and Kyah made some huge digs.” 

In the first set, the Cardinals led 19-11 after a Peeples kill, but the Bulldogs came charging back, pulling within two at 24-22 after a kill from Lewis. But Peeples recorded a kill on the next play to give the Cardinals the opening set.

The Bulldogs grabbed the momentum from the start of the second set. Carl Junction stormed out to an 11-3 advantage, with Lewis and Hylton leading the attack at the net. The Cardinals trimmed their deficit to four late in the set, but the Bulldogs finished it off with a kill from Hylton.

“We started building momentum towards the end of the first set,” Sharples said. “We minimized some errors, stayed aggressive and passed a little better in the second and third sets.”

The deciding and intense third set was back and forth early, and the score was tied at 12. Carl Junction then rattled off six straight points to take control for good. An ace by Jones and a kill from Hylton helped the Bulldogs seal the deal.

“It was serving,” Sharples said of the difference in the third set. “We served them out of system and kind of got them frustrated. We stayed real aggressive. We wanted to control the net and make them out-swing us at the net.”  

“We played a little smarter in the first set,” Lawrence said. “In the second set, we butt-puckered a little bit. We didn’t play like we should have. In the third set, we came out a lot more smart. But they’re a tough team and they do a lot of good things. We made a run of about five unforced errors and you can’t do that against a good team. That was like five points in a row where we killed ourselves. You can’t give away five points.”

In the semifinals, Carl Junction beat Aurora 2-0 (25-10, 25-14) and Webb City topped Joplin 2-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-15). 

Webb City earned wins earlier in the day against Carthage, Aurora, Carl Junction’s junior varsity and Pittsburg. 

“We lost one game all day, so that’s a good day and you have to be proud of that,” Lawrence said. “We had a lot of great performances, but you hate to lose the championship. But I want our girls to have a competitive spirit and to not like to get second place.” 

The Bulldogs also picked up wins over West Plains, Joplin, Carthage’s junior varsity and Carl Junction’s JV. 

And this year, the Bulldogs were the team celebrating with the championship plaque.

“Hopefully this gives us some confidence going forward,” Sharples said. “That’s what we hope. We hope to build momentum and keep it going.” 

Notes: West Plains defeated McDonald County in the Silver Bracket championship. Neosho went 6-2 on the day.


Dr. Jeffrey Knutzen CJ Classic

Carl Junction results
Carl Junction 22-25-25, Webb City 25-20-16 (Championship match)
Carl Junction 25-25, Aurora 10-14
Carl Junction 25-25, West Plains 19-21
Carl Junction 25-25, Joplin 18-19
Carl Junction 25-25, Carthage JV 15-10
Carl Junction def. Carl Junction JV (score unavailable)

Webb City results
Carl Junction 22-25-25, Webb City 25-20-16 (Championship match)
Webb City 23-25-25, Joplin 25-14-15
Webb City 25-23-25, Carthage 12-25-20
Webb City 25-25, Aurora 19-16
Webb City 25-25, Carl Junction JV 19-11
Webb City 25-25, Pittsburg 15-12


Carl Junction’s Salma Lewis hits a kill at the net against Webb City. Photo by Peter Edwards.
Carl Junction’s Logan Jones and Jillian Kennedy block at the net against Webb City’s Maddy Peeples. Photo by Peter Edwards.
The Carl Junction Bulldogs pose after winning the CJ Classic on Saturday. Photo by Peter Edwards.

VOLLEYBALL: Joplin finishes with semifinal berth at CJ Classic

After starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Joplin wrapped its day around 5 p.m. one round short of the championship game in the CJ Classic tournament after falling in three sets to Webb City in the semifinal round.

Though it wasn’t the finish the Eagles wanted, coach Staci Saunders was certainly proud of the way her team performed. 

“I am very pleased with our girls,” Saunders said. “We lost Kacy (Coss), our big middle, first thing after she got hit in the head. So, to be able to adjust and play well after that, I felt like they did a really good job.”

Joplin opened the tournament with a 25-18, 25-19 loss to host Carl Junction in the Black Pool. From there, the Eagles bounced back with a pair of pool-play wins, defeating West Plains in three sets (25-16, 17-25, 15-9) before beating Carthage JV in straight sets (25-14, 25-23) to earn a spot in the Gold Championship Bracket. 

“CJ just has so many weapons,” Saunders said. “For us to be able to compete with them, I felt like that just set the tone for the rest of the day. I think we got the job done and did what we needed to do in our next two matches.”

Joplin faced off with Neosho in the first round of bracket play, earning a 25-20, 25-19 straight-set victory. It was against the Wildcats that Coach Saunders felt her team turned the corner.

“Neosho is much improved this year, and I just feel like they are doing a fantastic job,” Saunders said. “I feel like we are very similar teams. I was very pleased with how well our girls played against Neosho. Our blocking was there, and we hit with a purpose. We just rallied around each other as a team.”

After the victory against the Wildcats, Joplin found itself in a semifinal matchup with Webb City, who fell in the three-set championship match against Carl Junction. The Eagles opened the match with a 25-23 win in the first set before the Cardinals rallied to win the second and third sets (25-14, 25-15) to end Joplin’s day.

“I thought after that first game we really put ourselves in a good position,” Saunders said. “I felt like we played lights out. But, against Webb, you have to play error free, and we had too many errors in that second game. In the third game, we started off well, but I think we just had too many errors.

“But, I can’t hang my head at all for my girls. I think they really played with everything that beats in their chest. These girls love to play volleyball and they give 110 percent every time. I am really proud of them. I told them afterwards they are winners in my book.”

Both of Joplin’s losses came to local Central Ozark Conference rivals in Carl Junction and Webb City. While the Eagles didn’t win, there are still several valuable lessons to be learned when playing strong conference opponents Joplin will likely see again down the road.

“We have to improve our blocking and be able to read when our block is not there and where to play on defense,” Saunders said. “(Carl Junction’s) Salma Lewis, Jessa Hylton and (Webb City’s) Maddy Peeples are special players. We just have to learn how to stop them and make adjustments. I also feel like we have to get better at receiving serve and being able to have three options every single time.”

Aubrey Ritter led Joplin with 32 kills, 47 digs and 17 service points in the tournament. Addison Saunders had a team-high 43 assists to go along with 21 digs, 15 kills and 15 service points. Kaylie Anderson had a team-high 50 digs, while Baileigh Riley had 37 assists, 20 digs and 24 service points. Allie Lawrence finished with 21 kills, 23 digs and 17 service points, with Angelina Schramm tallying 18 kills and 21 service points.

“Aubrey Ritter had a fantastic day today,” Saunders said. “You can always count on her. She is so consistent. She is a go-to player on the team. She passes, she can hit and she is a very smart, mentally-tough player.

“Angelina Schramm did a great job being the heart of our team today. You can tell she just has fun playing volleyball. She gets everybody else up. Kaylie did a really good job as our (libero), and I thought our setters, Baileigh and Addison, did a good job delivering the ball.”

Joplin finished the CJ Classic with a 3-2 record, moving their overall record to 11-6 on the season. 

“You have to be mentally tough to play in a tournament like this,” Saunders said. “You have to be in good shape, and you have to be in good condition. Those teams at the end are usually the ones continually taking that extra step. … We are in the middle of our season. All of these teams are banged up, we’re banged up. I cannot tell you how proud I am of our girls for playing through the injuries, aches and pains. Our girls play for each other, and we rallied around each other as a team today.”

Buckmaster sees positives in Carl Junction’s Week 5 loss to Webb City

Doug Buckmaster looked on the bright side after his Carl Junction Bulldogs suffered a 28-14 loss at Webb City on Friday night in Week 5 of the 2020 high school football season.

To Buckmaster, the Bulldogs can take away several positives from the setback.

“We’ve played so well on offense the last two weeks, we just need to start scoring points,” Buckmaster said. “I’m proud of the offense and our defense finally finished a freaking game in the third and fourth quarter. First game we’ve finished in about three freaking years.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs were able to move the ball effectively, racking up 327 yards on 65 plays, with 220 passing yards and 107 rushing. But Carl Junction wasn’t able to finish off a number of drives at crucial moments. 

At the same time, Carl Junction’s defense limited Webb City to 28 points, the Cardinals’ lowest scoring output this season. The Bulldogs held Webb City to one score in the second half, giving themselves a chance in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals for the first time in several years. 

Webb City won last year’s meeting 34-0 and the Cardinals triumphed in two meetings in 2018 by wide margins (42-9 and 54-7). 

Regardless of Friday’s final outcome, Buckmaster and the Bulldogs are also feeling good about the possibility of peaking in time to make a postseason run.

Carl Junction will no longer have to deal with Webb City in the Class 4 playoffs. In fact, Webb City, Ladue, Platte County and Camdenton all moved from Class 4 to Class 5 this season. With that, Class 4 appears to be wide open this year. 

Carl Junction is the lone Class 4 school competing in the always-strong Central Ozark Conference, which features state-ranked teams in both Class 6 and Class 5. 

The Bulldogs will compete in Class 4’s District 5 with Hillcrest, Rogersville, Marshfield, McDonald County, Monett and West Plains. 

Buckmaster noted his team will be battle-tested by the time the district tournament arrives.

“Everybody needs to understand that we will not play a Class 4 team the entire regular season,” Buckmaster said. “We’ll play our first Class 4 team in the district playoffs. I think the team that played out here tonight has a chance to make some noise.”

Carl Junction (1-4) travels to Neosho (0-5) in Week 6. Games with Republic (2-3), Nixa (5-0) and Ozark (4-1) conclude the regular season. 

“In the next four weeks, we have a chance to make some noise,” Buckmaster said. “We’re gamers. We like to play the game. But playing hard only takes you so far. At some point, the fundamentals and being prepared with schemes makes the difference. We haven’t got to that point yet. We have to become a better practice team. Our goal is just to get better the rest of the year.” 

Carl Junction’s Carter Kennedy (22) and Hunter Row (31) look to bring down Webb City’s Devrin Weathers on Friday night. Photo by Derek Livingston.

Tennis: Joplin duo wins doubles title at home invite

Joplin’s duo of Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts won the doubles bracket at the Joplin Invitational tennis tournament on Friday at the JHS athletic complex.
In the championship match, Cardenas and Watts defeated Glendale’s Bella Martino and Monroe Liggett 8-3.
Rogersville squads faced off for third place, with Sophia Bleau and Rachel Steury beating Caitlyn Archer and Ceyenee Martin 8-5.
In the fifth-place match, Glendale’s Lauren Hamm and Ann Beatty beat Joplin’s Jensen Vowels and Lauren Laird 8-1.
Webb City’s Taylor Yockey-Delaney Duke defeated Carthage’s Anayansi Lopez-Rodas-Katie Barton 8-5 for seventh place, while Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith-Danecca Heffren beat Carthage’s Isabelle Johnston-Kianna Yates 8-5 for ninth.
In the 11th place match, Joplin’s Jenna Besperat and Valeria Alamina Poor defeated Carl Junction’s Hannah Clinage and Hope Sponsel 8-5. Glendale’s Lucy Huang defeated Rogersville’s Lauren Roberts 8-1 in the championship match of the singles bracket.
Rogersville’s Morgan Wilhoit beat Glendale’s Chloe Stenger 8-2 in the third-place match.
Carl Junction’s Nicole Sherwood defeated Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood 8-1 in the fifth-place match, while Joplin’s Kennedy Schwartz took seventh by earning an 8-6 win over Carl Junction’s Mariah Barnett.
Carthage’s Daniela Marquez defeated Joplin’s Cloey Blank 8-2 for ninth place, while Webb City’s Shelby Ensminger topped Carthage’s Lucy Butler 8-3 for 11th place.
Glendale won the team title with 27 points. Rogersville (25), Joplin (19), Webb City (11), Carl Junction (9) and Carthage (5) rounded out the team standings.

Joplin’s Emma Watts and Astrid Cardenas won the doubles bracket at Friday’s Joplin Invitational. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


The host Eagles were among the teams competing at Friday’s Joplin Invitational. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

COC football standings after Week 5

COC standings after Week 5
Nixa 5-0 5-0
Carthage 4-0 4-0
Ozark 4-1 4-1
Webb City 3-1 4-1
Joplin 2-3 2-3
Republic 2-3 2-3
Branson 2-3 2-3
Carl Junction 1-4 1-4
Willard 1-4 1-4
Neosho 0-5 0-5


Aug. 28 scores
Joplin 41, Webb City 40
Carl Junction 29, Willard 12
Carthage 35, Ozark 14
Republic 21, Neosho 0
Nixa 42, Branson 6

Sept. 4 scores
Webb City 45, Neosho 0
Nixa 35, Joplin 34
Carthage 21, Carl Junction 20
Republic 27, Willard 8
Ozark 26, Branson 16

Sept. 11 scores

Ozark 51, Joplin 43

Carthage 42, Neosho 7

Webb City 49, Republic 28

Branson 21, Carl Junction 20

Nixa 42, Willard 6

Sept. 18 scores

Joplin 49, Carl Junction 28

Webb City 38, Kickapoo 10

Branson 49, Neosho 15

Nixa 35, Republic 7

Ozark 42, Willard 14

Sept. 25 games
Willard 32, Joplin 20

Webb City 28, Carl Junction 14

Carthage 33, Branson 10

Nixa 51, Neosho 0

Ozark 35, Republic 28

FOOTBALL: Willard earns first win of the season with 32-20 victory over Joplin

WILLARD, Mo. — Willard’s plan to run the ball effectively while consuming chunks of clock with long drives was successful as the Tigers earned a 32-20 win over Joplin on Friday.

“Hats off to Willard,” Joplin coach Curtis Jasper said. “They executed their game plan perfectly. They went on long drives and kept the ball away from us. They put pressure on us when we had the ball and made plays defensively as well. Willard was better than us tonight.

“The bottom line is we just weren’t good enough tonight. We have to get better and work hard to do that. We are going to fix things and we are going to get better. I believe in these guys, and I believe we are going to do what it takes to be a good football team. Tonight was not our night.”

Willard, which averaged 10 points per game before the matchup with Joplin, ran 60 offensive plays for 323 yards, while the Eagles ran 43 offensive plays for 300 total yards. The Tigers (1-4), who earned their first win of the season, won the turnover battle against the Eagles (2-3) by the tally of 3-0.

“They did a good job of playing keep-away from us,” Jasper said. “We knew we were going to see a lot of power and counter. They did a good job of their kick-out blocks and hitting it where we weren’t.”

Joplin’s Trayquan Peavler is gang tackled by a group of Tigers during the Eagles’ game against Willard on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

After Joplin’s defense forced a three-and-out top open the game, the Eagles’ offense marched 66 yards on nine plays with running back Trayquan Peavler scoring from a yard out to make the score 6-0, the point-after try was no good, with 7:39 to play in the opening quarter. Peavler started in place of Nathan Glades, who missed the game with a knee injury.

Willard answered with an 11-play drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown from Tyler Janes to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead with 2:12 on the clock. 

Joplin went three-and-out on offense, and Willard pushed the lead to 13-6 after Owen Bushnell scored from 7 yards out with 6:36 left in the first half to end a 12-play drive.

Joplin responded quickly, as freshman running back Quinton Renfro, the younger brother of senior WR Keaton Renfro, scored from 37 yards out for his first-career varsity touchdown in his first varsity game to trim Willard’s lead to 13-12 with 5:12 to play in the first half. The point-after kick was no good.

“We pulled (Quinton) up this week for depth behind Trayquan, and he had a really good week of practice,” Jasper said. “We gave him an opportunity in the second quarter, and he did a really good job with it.”

It looked as if Joplin’s defense had forced Willard into another three-and-out on the ensuing drive, but the Eagles were flagged for a roughing-the-punter penalty on fourth-and-6 to give the Tigers a first down and extend the drive.

Willard made Joplin pay for the penalty, eventually scoring with two seconds left in the first half  on a 1-yard run by Bushnell to send the Tigers into the intermission with a 19-12 lead.

Getting the ball out of the locker room, Joplin took the lead back for the first time since early in the first quarter when quarterback Always Wright completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Trayshawn Thomas with 10:17 on the clock. Wright found Keaton Renfro on the two-point conversion to put Joplin in front 20-19.

Willard took nearly five minutes off the clock on their ensuing drive, which ended on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Janes to Blake Hultgren on fourth-down-and-4 to put the Tigers back in front 26-20 with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

Joplin’s Trayshawn Thomas heads for the goal line in against the Willard Tigers on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

On the second play of the Eagles’ ensuing drive, Wright was picked off by Willard’s Dylan Leach, who returned it 30 yards to paydirt for a pick-6 score to extend the Tigers’ lead to 32-20 with 5:08 left in the third.

The turnover bug bit Joplin again after a long drive ended with Wright getting picked off at the goal line by Blaine Willard on a fourth-down-and-7 pass. After the Eagles forced the Tigers into a punt, Wright was picked off by Willard’s Evan Hancock on the second play of the ensuing drive with 3:15 left in the game.

“We have a lot of things we have to fix and get better at,” Jasper said.


Bushnell carried the ball 28 times for 142 yards and touchdown, while Janes completed 7-of-10 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball 18 times for 40 yards.

Wright completed 15-of-23 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, adding 26 rushing yards on three carries. Quinton Renfro carried the ball 17 times for 133 yards and a touchdown, while Trayshawn Thomas had seven receptions for 68 yards and a score. Keaton Renfro caught three passes for 43 yards and hauled in a two-point conversion.


Joplin hosts Republic (2-3) for a 7 p.m. matchup and Junge Field.