NEOSHO, Mo. — Moments after a disheartening loss ended the 2021 campaign, Brandon Taute made sure his Neosho Wildcats understood one simple message.
“I just let everybody know that I love them,” Taute said. “And that doesn’t change based on the outcome of a football game. I’m here for them for the rest of their lives. We have a lifetime commitment to each other.”
Taute’s fourth-seeded Neosho Wildcats suffered a 56-35 loss to the fifth-seeded Willard Tigers on Friday night in a quarterfinal matchup of the Class 5 District 6 football tournament at Bob Anderson Stadium.
The Tigers (1-9) earned a date with top-seeded Carthage (9-0) next Friday in the district semifinals, while the Wildcats (1-9) saw the season come to an abrupt end.
Neosho defeated Willard 21-14 just two weeks ago, but the Tigers simply had more firepower this time around.
“They had a couple guys back that we knew were going to help them offensively and defensively,” Taute said of the Tigers. “Hats off to them. They had a good gameplan and they executed it really well.”
Willard’s highest scoring output prior to Friday night was 21 points in a loss to Republic.
After surrendering an early touchdown, Willard scored 28 unanswered points to take control.
The Wildcats didn’t quit, as the hosts pulled within 14 at the end of the third period. But the Tigers would not be denied, as the visitors recorded three unanswered scores to start the final frame to put the game out of reach.
Neosho junior running back Jared Siler scored on a 2-yard touchdown run at the 10:15 mark of the opening quarter to give the Wildcats an early advantage. A 54-yard pass from sophomore Quenton Hughes to junior Isaiah Green set up the score.
Willard tied it up with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter on Owen Bushnell’s 10-yard TD run.
The Tigers took a 14-7 lead on Bushnell’s 22-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats had two promising drives halted late in the second half, one on an interception in the end zone and another on a turnover on downs.
Willard went up 21-7 with 37 seconds left in the first half on a Russell Roweton QB keeper.
Bushnell’s third touchdown of the night, a 1-yard plunge, extended Willard’s lead to 28-7 at the 7:45 mark of the third quarter.
The Wildcats trimmed their deficit to 28-14 after Siler’s 2-yard TD run with 4:43 remaining in the third period. A pass to junior Brock Franklin set up the score.
Willard took a 35-14 lead, but Neosho answered when Hughes connected with Green on a 45-yard TD pass.
With three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Willard held a 56-21 lead.
Neosho’s Franklin scored on a 50-yard pass play and Siler added a 66-yard touchdown run with just under a minute to play for the final margin.
Taute noted he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We were able to chip away in the second half and our kids kept fighting,” Taute said. “I’m extremely proud of them. Some kids would fold in that situation and ours absolutely didn’t. They kept fighting until the end.”
Taute noted his 17 seniors will be missed.
“They’re great, high-character kids,” Taute said. “As great as you can get…the kids you want your son to grow up to be like. I love them to death. For our other kids, it’s time to get better.”
Next Friday’s other district semifinal will feature No. 3 Republic traveling to No. 2 Webb City. Republic upended No. 6 Parkview 54-0 on Friday.
WILLARD, Mo. — The Webb City Cardinals ended the regular season with a dominant performance.
Led by a strong first half, Webb City rolled to a 55-0 victory at Willard on Friday night in the regular season finale of the 2021 prep football season.
The Cardinals held a commanding 48-0 lead at halftime and took advantage of seven Willard turnovers.
“I thought our kids really played well,” Webb City coach John Roderique told KNEO radio during a postgame interview. “I’m just really pleased with our guys and how they approached this week. I thought we had a little more attention to detail and a sense of urgency. We told the kids this our last week where it’s not an elimination week. Every game from here on out will be an elimination game. We’ll show up to practice and work hard every day to get better.”
Ranked fourth in Class 5, Webb City finishes the regular season with a record of 6-3. The Cardinals will be the No. 2 seed for the Class 5 District 6 tournament and have a first-round bye next Friday.
The Cardinals recorded 426 yards of offense, with 292 rushing and 134 passing.
Cade Wilson had 68 rushing yards, while Max Stovern added 67 yards and Dupree Jackson had 58.
In his return to action, senior quarterback Cohl Vaden completed 8 of 11 passes for 125 yards. Dante Washington had three receptions for 50 yards.
Willard (0-9) finished with 113 yards, 107 through the air and just six on the ground.
Willard’s opening possession ended when Webb City’s Washington grabbed an interception at the 3-yard line and ran 77 yards.
On Webb City’s first offensive play, Vaden passed to William Hayes, who pitched the ball to Wilson, who then ran into the end zone.
Wilson’s 2-yard touchdown plunge gave the Cardinals a 13-0 cushion at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter.
The Cardinals erupted for 35 points in the second quarter.
Washington and Kaden Turner both hauled in touchdown passes in the period before touchdown runs by Dupree Jackson and Omari Jackson made it 41-0.
After Willard’s third turnover of the first half, Stovern’s 3-yard touchdown run gave the Cardinals a comfortable 48-0 advantage.
Roderique got his subs lots of playing time in the second half.
Webb City’s Gage Chapman scored on a 5-yard QB keeper in the third quarter for the final TD of the night.
After a bye week, Webb City will host either Republic or Parkview in the district semifinals on Nov. 5.
WEBB CITY 55, WILLARD 0
Webb City 13 35 7 0—55
Willard 0 0 0 0—0
WC: Cade Wilson 10 run (Dante Washington kick)
WC: Wilson 2 run (Kick failed)
WC: Washington 23 pass from Cohl Vaden (Washington kick)
WC: Kaden Turner 21 pass from Vaden (Washington kick)
CARTHAGE, Mo. — Separated by less than 18 minutes of clock time, Republic threw two passes into the Carthage end zone that, if caught, would’ve changed the course of the game immeasurably.
With less than a minute left in the first half, a would-be game-tying touchdown fell to the ground, and the Tigers were flagged for offensive pass interference to boot.
Then, with just under seven minutes in the game, a Republic receiver failed to track down a throw that would’ve brought them within a touchdown at 28-21.
Both fourth-down plays, they instead became turnovers on downs, preserving leads for Carthage.
Those close calls and a consistent, if incomplete, rushing attack from Republic had Jon Guidie feeling like his 150th career win as Carthage coach had been a much closer game than the 35-14 margin displayed on the scoreboard when the clock hit all zeroes.
“We knew that going in … they’re a much improved football team,” he said. “And they played great tonight, it’s a hard offense to defend. I thought our kids in the second half bowed up a little bit and got a couple key stops for us, and that’s what we wanted at halftime; ‘Guys, come out and get a stop and we can put this thing out of reach.’”
The first drive that ended in a turnover on downs had been a 15-play slog with 13 of those going for 5 yards or less when Republic quarterback Avery Moody’s heave hit the turf.
A few plays later, Guidie and his Tigers faced their own fourth-down dilemma from the red zone.
At the Republic 11, quarterback Caden Kabance pitched to running back Luke Gall to the right side, then, with the attention squarely on Gall, swung out wide down the left sideline, where the junior running back gave up his full head of steam and instead threw Kabance a dart to the end zone.
“We said at halftime, ‘That was a 14-point swing right there,’” Guidie said. “We were able to get the ball, put a little drive together ourselves, went for it on fourth down, little trick play to Caden and, yeah, I think that might have been the play of the game there, that fourth down stop.”
Guidie said he and his staff had been “itching to call it” after putting the halfback pass in the gameplan on Wednesday.
Despite the incomplete passes, Moody carried the load for Republic on offense, carrying the ball 32 times, totaling 162 yards. The slow-but-effective, marching style to Republic’s offense meant it was on the field for 64 snaps, exactly half of them Mooney runs.
Though Republic seemed to nearly figure out the Carthage defense, Gall and Kabance did what they’ve done on the other side of the ball all season: Republic managed to stop the attack only once on the night, ironically forcing a three-and-out on a drive the Tigers began at the 50-yard line thanks to an onside kick attempt that went out of bounds.
Gall and Kabance combined for 380 total yards — of course, sharing 11 of them on the former’s pass to the latter. Gall finished with 218 yards rushing to Kabance’s 122.
“That one-two punch of (Kabance) and Luke has been pretty special this year,” Guidie said.
Friday night’s win sends Carthage into the final week of the regular season undefeated at 8-0.
The Tigers will face the Nixa Eagles, 7-1, whose only loss came at the hands of Joplin, 28-25 in Week 2.
With a win, Carthage will have its first outright Central Ozark Conference championship since 2016.
“I think it would mean a lot to these guys,” Guidie said. “They deserve it, they put the work in, they put the time in, they show up every single day with great attitudes. We had some goals at the beginning of the season and that certainly was one of them.”
The Missouri Media high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, have been released following Week 6 of the 2021 season.
Joplin is ranked third in Class 6, while Carthage is second in Class 5. Webb City is ranked fourth in Class 5.
In Class 4, Nevada is ranked ninth, while McDonald County is now receiving votes. Aurora is receiving votes in Class 3. Lamar remains on top of the Class 2 poll.
Panel is made up of Dion Clisso, PrepsKC; Cody Thorn, The Examiner; Dave Kvidahl, STLHighschoolsports.com; Tom Rackers, Jefferson City News-Tribune; Chris Parker, Ozone Sports; Brandon Zenner, The St. Joseph News-Press; J.B. Connoley, KRES radio; Matt King, The Daily Journal; Jason Peake, SOMOSports.com; Brian Rosener, Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic.
MISSOURI MEDIA RANKINGS
First-place votes in parentheses.
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
T1. CBC (4), 5-1, 94, 1
T1. Liberty North (5), 4-1, 94, 2
Joplin (1), 6-0, 78, 3
Lee’s Summit North, 6-0, 67, 4
DeSmet, 4-2, 63, 5
Nixa, 5-1, 43, 7
Hazelwood Central, 6-0, 32, 8
Park Hill South, 6-0, 30, 9
Francis Howell, 5-1, 29, 6
Raymore-Peculiar, 4-2, 14, 10
Also receiving votes: Kirkwood (5-1), 5; Liberty (4-2), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
Jackson (10), 6-0, 100, 1
Carthage, 6-0, 88, 2
Holt, 6-0, 82, 3
Webb City, 4-2, 61, 4
Lebanon, 6-0, 57, 6
Raytown, 3-1, 56, 5
Platte County, 4-2, 30, T8
Jefferson City Helias, 5-1, 28, T8
Fort Osage, 5-1, 22, 7
Rockwood Summit, 6-0, 13, NR
Dropped out: No. 10 Ladue
Also receiving votes: Ladue (5-1), 12; Glendale (4-1), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
Smithville (9), 6-0, 99, 1
MICDS (1), 6-0, 90, 3
Hannibal, 6-0, 80, 4
West Plains, 5-1, 68, 2
Union, 6-0, 60, 5
Lincoln College Prep, 6-0, 49, 6
T7. McCluer, 5-1, 31, 7
T7. Vashon, 6-0, 31, 8
Nevada, 5-1, 25, 10
Hillsboro, 5-1, 9, NR
Dropped out: No. 9 Warrensburg
Also receiving votes: McDonald County (5-1), 4; St. Dominic (3-3), 4
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
Odessa (10), 6-0, 100, 1
St. Mary’s, 4-1, 90, 2
Valle Catholic, 6-0, 80, 3
Boonville, 5-1, 58, 6
St. Pius X, 5-1, 54, 4
Blair Oaks, 5-1, 53, 7
Lutheran North, 3-3, 38, 5
Park Hills Central, 5-1, 29, 9
Mexico, 5-1, 25, 10
Cardinal Ritter, 3-3, 11, 8
Also receiving votes: Center (4-1), 8; Aurora (5-1), 3; Kennett (5-1), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
Lamar (10), 6-0, 100, 1
Fair Grove, 6-0, 87, 2
Hallsville, 6-0, 81, 3
Ava, 6-0, 58, 4
Butler, 6-0, 56, 5
T6. Lafayette County, 5-1, 48, T6
T6. Lutheran St. Charles, 4-2, 48, T6
Duchesne, 4-2, 26, 8
Richmond, 5-1, 23, 9
Bowling Green, 5-0, 20, 10
Also receiving votes: Warsaw (6-0), 2; New Madrid County Central (6-0), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW
Windsor (9), 6-0, 98, 1
Mid Buchanan (1), 6-0, 88, 2
Hayti, 5-0, 73, 4
Marionville, 6-0, 67, 5
East Buchanan, 6-0, 63, 6
Harrisburg, 6-0, 40, 7
Monroe City, 5-1, 39, 3
Thayer, 5-1, 36, 8
Hamilton-Penney, 4-2, 18, 9
Skyline, 4-2, 13, 10
Also receiving votes: Marceline (5-1), 9; West Platte (5-1), 6.
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — When the Webb City Cardinals took the field on Friday night at Bulldog Stadium, it’s safe to say they were highly-motivated to rebound from last week’s disappointing setback.
And despite missing two key performers, the Cardinals looked like a team on a mission.
Senior running back Cade Wilson scored four touchdowns and Webb City’s defense didn’t give up a touchdown as the Cardinals earned a 41-6 Central Ozark Conference victory over Carl Junction in Week 5 of the 2021 prep football season.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Wilson noted the Cardinals desperately wanted to get well after last Friday’s tough loss at Carthage.
“We showed we can bounce back,” Wilson said. “It was a great week of practice honestly. All the seniors have been on everyone after last week. We’ve all just bounced back. We all have one goal…everyone knows what that is.”
Wilson ran for a touchdown in each of the four quarters.
“Cade’s an experienced guy and he was out there giving it everything he had,” Webb City coach John Roderique said. “But it all starts up front. Let’s make no mistake about that. It always starts up front. I thought we did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Ranked fifth in Class 5 by the Missouri Media, Webb City improved to 3-2.
“I thought we played better,” Roderique said. “I still scratch my head about last week, but the kids did what they needed to do tonight. We created some turnovers on defense. Offensively, we did a good job. We’ve watched Carl Junction play outstanding on defense against everyone they’ve played. I thought our guys did a good job against a really stout defense.”
Webb City was without two starters, as senior quarterback Cohl Vaden missed the game for undisclosed reasons and senior running back and leading rusher Dupree Jackson is currently out of action after having hand surgery.
Junior Landon Johnson filled in at QB for the Cardinals, while classmate Max Stovern started in place of Jackson.
“I thought Landon did a fantastic job,” Roderique said. “Those situations can be tough for a kid. But he did a nice job.”
“LJ’s played quarterback before and when he’s in there, I have faith in him 100 percent,” Wilson said. “And Max stepped up tonight. He helped me get those four touchdowns.”
Webb City led 14-3 at halftime and 21-6 at the end of the third period en route to victory. Defensively, Webb City allowed just two field goals.
“Our defense played really well,” Roderique said. “It was more of a bend but don’t break deal. It was a good bounce-back game for the defense.”
Wilson wasn’t the only Cardinal to perform well on Friday night.
Junior wide receiver and defensive back Dante Washington made an impact in various ways. He hauled in a touchdown pass, grabbed an interception and also had a number of stellar kick returns.
“He’s a pretty dynamic kid,” Roderique said. “It was a pretty good night for him. It was nice to see him have some success.”
The Class 4 Bulldogs fell to 2-3.
Carl Junction coach Doug Buckmaster said he was pleased with the play of junior quarterback Nathan Planchon, who is starting in place of the injured Kyler Perry. Buckmaster also noted there are still areas of concern at this point of the season.
“We needed to improve as a football team tonight, and I think our quarterback, Nathan Planchon, made a big step up from where he was a week ago,” Buckmaster said. “I think we took a big step forward in our passing game. We did very well in the passing game for the most part. We just didn’t have the running game to complement it. Unfortunately, we did turn the ball over a couple of times in the second half. But we moved the ball a lot tonight. We had multiple opportunities to put points on the board, but we just really struggled getting the ball in the end zone. That’s primarily due to a lack of a running game between the tackles. We’ve got to get better at running the football between the tackles. Hopefully we can fix that.”
Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left in the first quarter gave Webb City a 7-0 lead. A nice punt return by Washington and a penalty on the Bulldogs set up the lone score of the opening frame.
Carl Junction got on the board with 7:37 remaining in the first half when Xavier Perkins converted a 27-yard field goal.
The Cardinals responded on the second play of the ensuing drive, as Wilson sprinted past the defense 57 yards.
The Bulldogs had a scoring chance just before the half, but a pass from the 3-yard line fell incomplete.
“We had an opportunity to score right before the half, but unfortunately we didn’t make a play,” Buckmaster said. “Those things happen. We just didn’t get it done.”
After the break, Webb City had a turnover on downs before Carl Junction’s Perkins knocked in a 33-yard field goal, trimming his team’s deficit to 14-6.
But the Cardinals extended their lead to 21-6 when Wilson scored his third TD of the game, this time on a 4-yard run at the 6:29 mark of the third period.
Wilson added a 16-yard touchdown scamper to start the final frame, giving the visitors a 28-6 advantage.
Washington hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Johnson with 6:23 left and had an interception moments later.
Webb City’s Billy Wolfe put the finishing touches on the win with a 47-yard pick-six with just under two minutes to play.
Buckmaster noted there were positives in the loss.
“We’re a good defensive football team,” Buckmaster said. “When we can put some points on the board, we’re going to be a tough out for a lot of people. We just need to cash in on our opportunities. I am proud of our kids. We’re competitors. We’re lacking in numbers and depth this year. But we’ll compete. We don’t play anyone in our own classification until the playoffs and we may play the toughest schedule in the state of Missouri. And I believe we got out of here without losing anybody to injuries and that’s big to get through this stretch healthy after having Carthage, Joplin and Webb City in three of four weeks.”
NAMES & NUMBERS
Webb City compiled 337 yards of offense, with 271 rushing and 66 passing.
Wilson ran 14 times for 149 yards. Omari Jackson ran five times for 53 yards, while Stovern had 28 yards on eight carries. Johnson ran six times for 27 yards.
Johnson completed five passes for 66 yards with one TD and one INT.
Washington caught two passes for 49 yards. He also had a 36-yard kick return and a 35-yard punt return.
Cooper Crouch averaged 38 yards on three punts.
Lucas Ott was credited with nine tackles, while Kaylor Darnell had eight and Brentan Wilson had six.
Carl Junction had 303 yards, 268 passing and 28 rushing.
Planchon completed 21 of 42 pass attempts for 256 yards. He was picked off three times. Dexter Merrell caught eight passes for 106 yards, while Ayden Bard had two receptions for 66 yards and Dalton Mills hauled in six passes for 54 yards.
Chance Benford was credited with five tackles for the CJ defense.
Webb City hosts Branson next Friday, while Carl Junction hosts Neosho in Week 6.
WEBB CITY 41, CARL JUNCTION 6
Webb City 7 7 7 20— 41
Carl Junction 0 3 3 0 — 6
WC: Cade Wilson 3 run (Cooper Crouch kick)
CJ: Xavier Perkins 27 field goal.
WC: Wilson 57 run (Crouch kick)
CJ: Perkins 33 field goal.
WC: Wilson 4 run (Crouch kick)
WC: Wilson 16 run (Crouch kick)
WC Dante Washington 14 pass from Landon Johnson (Crouch kick)
WC: Billy Wolfe 47 interception return (Kick failed)
BRANSON, Mo. — The Neosho Wildcats struck first, but the Branson Pirates responded again and again.
After trailing early in the game, Branson took control with a strong first half en route to a convincing 58-28 win over Neosho on Friday night in Central Ozark Conference action at Pirate Stadium.
The Wildcats fell to 0-4. The Pirates, who were celebrating homecoming, evened their record at 2-2.
After Neosho scored on the third play of the game, Branson scored on six of seven possessions in the first half to take a comfortable 41-14 halftime lead.
A high-scoring first quarter that took 45 minutes to complete ended with Branson up 27-14.
Three plays into the game, Neosho junior running back Jared Siler sprinted to a 62-yard touchdown run.
But the Pirates responded with three unanswered scores.
Cade Grimm scored on a 6-yard touchdown plunge, Tayshaune Hill had a 9-yard TD run before David Hadaller’s 17-yard touchdown sprint gave the hosts a 20-7 advantage with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
Siler broke free for an 79-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats, but Hill added a 15-yard scamper for the Pirates.
In the second quarter, Hadaller scored a pair of touchdowns to give the Pirates a 41-14 advantage at the break. The Pirates rushed for 315 yards in the first half, with Hadaller accounting for 200 yards.
Neosho’s Brock Franklin hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions from Evan Haskins during the third quarter, a 19-yard strike and a 15-yard pass.
Neosho outscored Branson 14-10 in the third period, but the Pirates led 51-28 entering the fourth quarter.
The hosts added a score in the fourth period for the final margin.
Siler finished with 164 rushing yards to lead the Wildcats. Hadaller scored four touchdowns to lead the Pirates.
Branson will host Carthage (4-0) next Friday, while Neosho will host Nixa (3-1) next Saturday.
The Neosho-Nixa game was moved from Friday to Saturday due to a shortage of officials. Game time remains at 7 p.m.
BRANSON 58, NEOSHO 28
Neosho 14 0 14 0 — 28
Branson 27 14 10 7 — 58
NEO: Jared Siler 62 run (Pablo Pastor kick)
BRAN: Cade Grimm 6 run (Dane Efrid kick)
BRAN: Tayshaune Hill 9 run (Kick failed)
BRAN: David Hadaller 17 run (Efrid kick)
NEO: Siler 79 run (Pastor kick)
BRAN: Hill 15 run (Efrid kick)
BRAN: Hadaller 2 run (Efrid kick)
BRAN: Hadaller 5 run (Efrid kick)
BRAN: Hadaller 18 run (Efrid kick)
NEO: Brock Franklin 19 pass from Evan Haskins (Pastor kick)
BRAN: Efrid 25 FG
NEO: Franklin 15 pass from Haskins (Pastor kick)
BRAN: Cooper Saxton 17 pass from Tristan Pierce (Efrid kick)
ROGERSVILLE, Mo. — Seneca Indians head coach Cody Hillburn took his hometown squad to visit Logan-Rogersville on Friday night.
Hillburn, in his first year leading his tribe, led the Indians to a 35-21 victory over the Wildcats.
Logan-Rogersville struck quickly to start the game. Senior quarterback JJ O’Neal led an impressive 9-play, 65-yard drive that he capped off with a 24-yard touchdown run around the right side. The drive lasted just over three minutes.
“We told our kids we had to weather the storm,” Hillburn said. “We told them to stay in the fight so we can grind it out in the second half.”
Both teams traded fumbles on the next two drives. On Seneca’s first offensive play after the fumble recovery, sophomore Jackson Marrs broke off a long 43-yard run to get the momentum started. Eight plays later, it was Marrs getting the Indians on the board with a 21-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter.
“That’s our kids playing hard,” Hillburn said of the forced fumble. “We were sprinting all over the field and got a couple hats to the football. It was a huge play in the game.”
The two teams both had excellent defensive series as they traded punts heading into the second quarter. It was clear that the Indians’ defensive game plan was to contain O’Neal.
“He’s such an electric player,” Hillburn said. “We knew when he was fresh it would be tough to stop him.”
O’Neal had been mostly contained on the ground but was able to lead Logan-Rogersville to a touchdown the following drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior Cody Rasmussen. The Wildcats led 14-7 with 6:30 left in the second quarter.
Seneca kept grinding and it was Marrs again who answered back. The Indians ran for 48 yards on nine plays culminating in a Marrs 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Indians trailing 14-13 at halftime.
“We didn’t make many adjustments,” Hillburn said. “We reaffirmed our game plan. Marrs and (Jaxson) Graham feed off each other. It is such a luxury for us to have two kids back there that we’re extremely confident with.”
Seneca’s first drive of the second half was stalled by a facemask penalty which led to a punt. It didn’t take long though for the Indians to get the pigskin back as senior Jaxson Graham picked off an O’Neal pass over the middle of the field. Graham returned the interception to the Logan-Rogersville 25-yard line. Three plays later, Graham found paydirt with a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 21-14 lead with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
“It worked the exact same way in week one. We were down at halftime and our guys didn’t panic. They came out and finished the game,” Hillburn said of his team’s second half start. “I came in at halftime and the demeanor of our kids was that we were up two scores even though we were down. They came out ready to play in the second half.”
Seneca’s defense held again the following drive and let Graham go back to work. Four plays into the Indians’ next drive, Graham took off for a 81 yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. The touchdown gave the Indians a 27-14 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
The two score lead forced Logan-Rogersville to abandon the run. Seneca’s defense was ready as Logan-Rogersville attempted five straight pass plays but ultimately had to punt.
“Any time you can make a team one dimensional you’ve got a better chance,” Hillburn explained. “That quarterback they have is so athletic. You think you have him corralled and then he makes kids miss and makes a big play.”
Senior quarterback Ethan Fritchey added a three-yard touchdown run of his own with just under seven minutes left to seal the game for the Indians.
With the victory, Seneca moves to 2-0 on the season. The Indians are already just one win shy of matching their win total from last year’s campaign. Hillburn, who is returning to his alma mater after 10 years in Carthage, emphasized that his team must be ready to keep grinding.
“It’s the Big 8 and every week is going to be tough,” Hillburn said. “We have to go back Monday and be ready to go.”
Graham finished the game with 13 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns while Marrs carried the ball 26 times for 126 and two touchdowns.
In Week 3, Seneca will host Hollister (1-1) while Logan-Rogersville (0-2) will travel to Aurora (1-1).
NEOSHO, Mo. — A solid start led Webb City past Neosho 49-20 on Friday night at Bob Anderson Stadium in Week 2 of the 2021 prep football season.
In a Central Ozark Conference clash between Class 5 District 6 foes, Webb City scored the game’s first 20 points and the visitors led 42-6 en route to victory.
“I felt really good about our first quarter on both sides of the ball,” Webb City coach John Roderique said. “We played really well early. But then we had a scoring drought. I don’t know if our guys relaxed a little bit or what. It was a game where we were feeling pretty good and we made plans to put other guys in. Then they get a couple of scores when we subbed guys out. It got pretty ugly for us late in the game.”
It’s safe to say the Cardinals bounced back nicely from an agonizing 41-40 loss to Joplin in Week 1. Roderique noted the Cardinals (1-1) will strive to improve week by week as the season continues.
The Cardinals continue to develop depth at several positions.
“We had a lot of guys who got to play tonight with some mixed outcomes,” Roderique said. “It’s always going to be a work in progress. We just need to continue to improve.”
The Wildcats (0-2) didn’t quit when they got down. The hosts scored twice in the third period and continued to play hard when the final outcome was no longer in doubt.
That was a welcome sight to Neosho coach Brandon Taute.
“I feel really great about our effort,” Taute said. “Our kids fought their butts off all night, from the first whistle to the last. We’re still figuring out who we are and what our identity is. We’re still learning. Our goal is to be better than we were yesterday. We’re absolutely better than we were in Week 1. We’ll go back to work tomorrow morning and try to get better everyday.”
NAMES & NUMBERS
Webb City racked up 436 yards of offense, with 365 rushing and 71 passing.
The senior tandem of Dupree Jackson and Cade Wilson once again led Webb City’s rushing attack. Jackson ran 16 times for 157 yards with three touchdowns. Wilson added 86 yards on nine carries, while Max Stovern ran 10 times for 59 yards. Roderique called Stovern’s contribution “fantastic.” Cohl Vaden completed five passes, with two for scores.
Neosho recorded 331 yards, 184 passing and 147 rushing.
Evan Haskins completed 21 of 31 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown. Brock Franklin caught seven passes for 84 yards, while Isaiah Green hauled in five passes for 68 yards.
Jared Siler ran 26 times for 128 yards to lead the Wildcats’ running attack.
Webb City scored a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, as William Hayes hauled in a 15-yard pass from Vaden and Wilson scored on a 1-yard run. In the second frame, Stovern scored on a 6-yard run to extend Webb City’s lead to 20-0.
Neosho got on the board with 3:36 remaining in the first half on a 2-yard QB keeper by Haskins. A pass to Franklin and a number of gains on the ground by Siler set up the score.
The Cardinals responded on the next series, as Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown plunge and Stovern’s 2-point conversion made it 28-6 at the half.
Webb City needed just two plays from scrimmage to score on the opening drive of the third period. After a 59-yard scamper by Wilson, Jackson ran in from a yard out. Next, Trey Roets hauled in a 6-yard TD pass from Vaden to make it 42-6 with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Wildcats kept coming. Neosho’s Siler broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
After the hosts recovered a Webb City fumble, Haskins connected with Green for a 42-yard touchdown strike, cutting his team’s deficit to 42-20.
Webb City’s lead was never in jeopardy at that point though. Jackson scored on a 28-yard run to extend Webb City’s lead to 29 points at the end of the third quarter.
Neither team scored in the final frame.
PLAYING FOR NO. 88
The Cardinals took the field with heavy hearts due to the passing of Christian Heady. The Webb City 12-year-old passed away early Friday morning after a long battle with cancer.
“He’s been in my heart all day,” Roderique said. “It’s something a lot of our kids have talked about. He was with us last year in the semifinal game…it was a tough day for sure.”
Webb City hosts Republic in Week 3, while the Wildcats host Carthage next Friday.
WEBB CITY 49, NEOSHO 20 Webb City 14 14 21 0—49 Neosho 0 6 14 0—20 SCORING SUMMARY First Quarter
WC: William Hayes 15 pass from Cohl Vaden. (Mason Quick kick)
WC: Cade Wilson 1 run. (Quick kick) Second Quarter
WC: Max Stovern 6 run (Kick failed)
NEO: Evan Haskins 2 run (Kick blocked)
WC: Dupree Jackson 1 run (Stovern run) Third Quarter
WC: Jackson 1 run (Quick kick)
WC: Trey Roets 6 pass from Vaden (Quick kick)
NEO: Jared Siler 49 run (Run failed)
NEO: Isaiah Green 42 pass from Haskins (Haskins run)
WC: Jackson 28 run (Quick kick) Fourth Quarter
The Missouri Media has released its statewide high school football rankings for Aug. 30.
Joplin (1-0) is ranked fourth in Class 6, while Central Ozark Conference rival Nixa (1-0) is ranked sixth. The two schools will meet on Friday at Junge Field.
In Class 5, Webb City (0-1) is ranked second and Carthage (1-0) is ranked sixth.
Lamar (1-0) is ranked first in Class 2.
Jason Peake of SoMo Sports is on the 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who vote weekly.
Full polls are listed below.
MISSOURI MEDIA FOOTBALL RANKINGS
Below are the statewide high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Panel is made up of Dion Clisso, PrepsKC; Cody Thorn, The Examiner; Dave Kvidahl, STLHighschoolsports.com; Tom Rackers, Jefferson City News-Tribune; Chris Parker, Ozone Sports; Brandon Zenner, The St. Joseph News-Press; J.B. Connoley, KRES radio; Matt King, The Daily Journal; Jason Peake, Somo-Sports.com; Brian Rosener, Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic.
First-place votes in parenthesis.
Rank, team, Rec., Pts.
DeSmet (5), 1-0, 95
Raymore-Peculiar (5), 1-0, 92
CBC, 0-1, 74
Joplin, 1-0, 54
Liberty North, 0-1, 53
Nixa, 1-0, 45
Rockhurst, 0-1, 44
Francis Howell, 1-0, 36
Liberty, 1-0, 28
Lee’s Summit North, 1-0, 13
Also receiving votes: Hazelwood Central (1-0), 11; Kirkwood (1-0), 4; Marquette (1-0), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts.
Jackson (10), 1-0, 100
Webb City, 0-1, 78
Raytown, 1-0, 69
Battle, 1-0, 67
Holt, 1-0, 64
Carthage, 1-0, 55
Chaminade, 1-0, 32
Fort Zumwalt North, 0-1, 31
Staley, 1-0, 27
North Kansas City, 0-1, 9
Also receiving votes: Fort Osage (1-0), 8; Lebanon (1-0), 4; Ladue (1-0), 2; Platte County (0-1), 2; Jefferson City Helias (0-1), 1; Rockwood Summit (1-0), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts.
Smithville (7), 10, 94
T2. MICDS (1), 1-0, 84
T2. West Plains (1), 1-0, 84
Hannibal (1), 1-0, 78
Harrisonville, 1-0, 59
McCluer, 1-0, 44
St. Dominic, 1-0, 31
Grandview, 1-0, 24
Excelsior Springs, 1-0, 20
Warrensburg, 1-0, 12
Also receiving votes: Union (1-0), 11; Lincoln College Prep (1-0), 5; St. Joseph Lafayette (1-0), 2; Festus (0-1), 2
Rank, team, Rec., Pts.
Blair Oaks (9), 1-0, 98
T2. Odessa, 1-0, 86
T2. St. Mary’s (1), 1-0, 86
Lutheran North, 0-1, 63
Valle Catholic, 1-0, 54
Cardinal Ritter, 0-1, 49
St. Pius X, 1-0, 41
Cassville, 1-0, 19
T9. Mexico, 1-0, 16
T9. Summit Christian, 1-0, 16
Also receiving votes: Park Hills Central (1-0), 14; Kennett (1-0), 7; Reeds Spring (1-0), 1
Rank, team, Rec., Pts.
Lamar (10), 1-0, 100
Duchesne, 1-0, 77
Fair Grove, 1-0, 68
Macon, 1-0, 49
Hallsville, 1-0, 48
Maryville, 0-1, 43
Lutheran St. Charles, 0-1, 39
MV-Liberty, 1-0, 36
Jefferson, 1-0, 24
Butler, 1-0, 23
Also receiving votes: Richmond (1-0), 13; Brookfield (1-0), 12; Clark County (1-0), 9; Lafayette County (0-1), 4; Lift for Life (0-1), 3; Palmyra (0-1), 2
After yet another successful campaign on the gridiron, the Carthage Tigers once again have the expectations set high as a new season arrives.
And it’s not hard to see why.
Entering the 2021 season, the Tigers will feature one of the conference’s top two-way performers in junior running back and linebacker Luke Gall.
Carthage also returns 10 players who gained starting experience on defense last fall. On top of that, the Tigers will feature battle-tested linemen on both sides of the ball to go along with a number of promising athletes at the skill positions.
To longtime Carthage coach Jon Guidie, there’s a lot to like about this year’s squad.
“It’s a great group of kids,” said Guidie, who is 145-42 in 16 seasons at Carthage. “They’re fun to coach. They’re high-character kids. They show up everyday with great attitudes. We’ve got some experienced guys and some new guys who are eager to make a name for themselves.”
Coming off a state championship in 2019, Carthage put together another stellar campaign in ’20.
The Tigers went 9-1, earning a share of the Central Ozark Conference title with Webb City before suffering a season-ending setback to the rival Cardinals in the district championship game.
Carthage’s top returning performer is arguably one of the COC’s best, as the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Gall should once again be a two-way standout.
“Luke’s been fantastic,” Guidie said. “Anytime one of your best players is your hardest worker it’s a good thing. Luke never takes a day off, whether it’s practice or the weight room. His motor is always running. He does a lot for us on the field. Just his presence alone out there gives our kids a lot of confidence.”
Senior Caden Kabance is slated to take over the quarterback position after previously gaining starting experience at both receiver and defensive back, where he earned all-COC honors.
Guidie noted Kabance has made a smooth transition from catching passes to throwing them.
“He’s been fantastic,” Guidie said. “He was our freshman quarterback and was the backup the last couple of years. Caden took reps in practice so it’s not like it’s all new to him. He’s a smart player. He reminds me of Alex Derryberry. He’s very efficient at running the offense and he can be elusive when he runs.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Kabance will start under center this fall after the graduation of Patrick Carlton, a three-year starter at QB who ran for 1,272 yards and passed for 1,096 in ’20. Carlton is now at East Coast Prep.
Gall, who earned first-team all-COC recognition on offense and defense as a sophomore, ran for 1,051 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and scored 15 touchdowns last fall. He’s expected to be a workhorse from the running back position again.
Junior running back Clay Kinder will also see plenty of carries.
“Clay played about everything for us last year,” Guidie said. “He’s settled into that second running back spot.”
Senior H-back Brett Rockers is also expected to contribute nicely.
“He plays hard and he plays physical,” Guidie said. “He gets after it and we’re very excited about him.”
Senior Cale Patrick is a returning performer at wide receiver.
“He’s been really good this year and he’ll start on defense too,” Guidie said.
Senior Braxdon Tate and junior Aiden Rogers are other options at wide receiver.
Junior Tyler Willis started over half of Carthage’s games last year on both sides of the ball. He’ll be a key weapon at tight end.
The Tigers have a pair of returning standouts on the offensive line.
Senior Garrett Lilienkamp (6-2, 265) will become a three year starter on the offensive line. He earned third-team all-conference honors and honorable mention all-state recognition last year.
Senior Gavin VanGilder (6-2, 255) is a two-year starter at center, while classmate Anthony Strickland (6-1, 275) is another offensive lineman who should make a big impact.
Juniors Drew Musche and Malachi Housh are other likely starters on the offensive line.
“Our O-Line is doing a great job,” Guidie said. “It all starts with them.”
Among the 10 players who started at least one game in 2020, seven were full-time starters.
“I like where we’re at defensively,” Guidie said. “We have a lot of speed and experience on that side of the ball. That’s something we need to use to our advantage.”
Gall recorded 76 tackles, including 11 for a loss, earning second-team all-state recognition.
Fellow linebackers Sylas Browning and Zach Lansford return with starting experience. Both are seniors.
“They’re smart and athletic players,” Guidie said of his returning linebackers. “And they’re all physical kids.”
Junior Micah Lindsey is back at defensive tackle. Lindsey recorded 13 tackles for loss and eight sacks last year, earning second-team all-COC honors.
“He’s certainly bigger, faster and more experienced this year and we expect big things out of him,” Guidie said.
Senior Max Williams returns after starting every game last season at defensive end.
Junior Davion King is back with starting experience in the secondary. Kinder is expected to make an impact at defensive back, while Kabance could also see time at cornerback.
WEEK 1 IS HERE
The Tigers open the ’21 season on Friday night at Ozark.
“Week 1 is always kind of an unknown,” Guidie said. “We know Ozark’s kids will be ready to play. They have big and athletic kids everywhere. We’ll have to be disciplined defensively against their flexbone offense. On our end, it’s about playing hard and playing mistake-free. If we can do that, we can iron out everything else.”
CARTHAGE’S 2021 SCHEDULE
8-27 at Ozark
9-3 vs. Carl Junction
9-10 at Neosho
9-17 vs. Webb City
9-24 at Branson
10-1 vs. Willard
10-8 at Joplin
10-15 vs. Republic
10-22 at Nixa
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