The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 29, 2012

Carthage preps for 'rugged' playoff test at Hillcrest

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Scoring hasn’t been a problem in recent games for the Carthage High School football team.

But Carthage coach Jon Guidie indicated on Monday the Tigers will face a rugged assignment on Wednesday night in a semifinal of the MSHSAA Class 4 District 4 Tournament.

The third-seeded Tigers (8-2 with a six-game winning streak) travel to No. 2 Springfield Hillcrest (9-1).

Kickoff between the Tigers and Hornets is set for 7 p.m. at Shumate Stadium on the Hillcrest campus.

Hillcrest, which shared the Ozark Conference title with Lebanon, is ranked fourth by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

The Carthage-Hillcrest winner tackles the winner of Republic and Webb City. Republic (4) visits Webb City (1) on Wednesday in the other semifinal.

Said Guidie of the John Beckham-coached Hornets: “They’re very athletic and speedy. They play very hard, They’re very good on defense. They haven’t given up a lot of points.

“Ideally, defensively, we need to keep them in front of us without giving up the big play and contain their quarterback (Jonah Hill),” Guidie said. “Hill is about 6-foot-3, 240 pounds.”

Hill, an all-state tight end as a junior, has committed to Arkansas State.

“Junior Matt Rush (175) is one of their better players,” Guidie said. “We know he’s has a good season. He’s a wide receiver-defensive back. But they will use him just about anywhere in multiple sets.”

Rush was at Carthage as a freshman as his dad, Wesley, coached Tiger linebackers. Matt Rush played for Waynesville in the Ozark Conference as a sophomore.

Juwan Johnson rushed for 116 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes for 55 yards in the Hornets’ 33-21 Ozark Conference win at Joplin. Hill, who missed most of the second half because of an injury, completed 10 of 12 passes for 90 yards and Rush had six catches for 58 yards. Hill also rushed for two scores.

Hill, in the Hornets’ 35-0 win against Carl Junction last week, completed 20 of 35 passes for 359 yards and two scoring passes of 21 yards to Rush. Hill also rushed for three TDs.

Seth Beckner rushed for four touchdowns and Jordan Dangerfield two as Carthage outscored visiting Marshfield 48-40 in the opening round.

Beckham couldn’t be reached Monday afternoon for comment. He had reasons to celebrate. Earlier on Monday, the Springfield Quarterback Club named him coach of the year. Hill was named senior player of the year.

CARTHAGE NOTES: Guidie said junior center Brett Collier is expected to miss the rest of the season with a broken hand. His replacement, Guidie said, will be sophomore Jeff Pugh. ... Beckner has rushed 202 times for 1,806 yards and 25 touchdowns. Cameron Priester has added 736 yards and 11 scores on 75 carries. Quarterback Jordan Musser has completed 78 of 134 passes for 1,897 yards and 22 TDs. Leading receivers are E.J. Morgan (40 receptions, 807 yards, 11 TDs) and Beckner (24-792-10).