The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 6, 2012

Webb City rolls over Hillcrest for district title

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Top-seeded Webb City won the MSHSAA Class 4 District 4 football championship in emphatic fashion on Monday night at Cardinal Stadium.

Webb City rushed for its eight touchdowns in ousting the second-seeded Hornets 55-10.

Sullivan, a 32-17 winner against St. Clair, visits two-time defending Class 4 state champion Webb City at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in a quarterfinal. Webb City will be seeking a 43rd straight victory.

The top-ranked Cardinals, who led 34-10 at the half, rushed for 401 yards. Phoenix Johnson and Cooper Smith each scored three touchdowns.

The Webb City defense limited Hillcrest to 71 yards on the ground and 98 through the air.

Said Webb City coach John Roderique: “We wanted to control the game with our offense. We wanted to run the ball. It sure seemed like we did just that if we rushed for 401 yards.

“The offensive line made the difference,” Roderique said. “The offense also made good decisions and didn’t have any turnovers.”

Roderique yielded to coordinator Mike Smith to talk about the defense.

“I’m proud of them,” Smith said of the defense. “They were prepared and were ready for the game. The preparation was mental as much as physical.

“Obviously, our kids played well,” Smith said. “They have some explosiveness. That No. 2 (Matt Rush) and No. 3 (Juwan Johnson) could have taken it to the house at any time.”

Added Cardinal linebacker Todd Fowler: “Jose (end Jose Speer) did the job early. The rain — it sprinkled a little — and the wind added to our success in the secondary.”

Quarterback John Roderique’s 72-yard scoring run on the Cardinals’ second play after a false came 45 seconds into the game.

Then, on the Hornets’ first possession, Speer had two sacks and Hillcrest was forced to punt on fourth-and-17 from their 19-yard line.

The punt went just 22 yards and Webb City took over at the Hillcrest 41. Johnson carried 5, 3 and 25 — the latter on Roderique’s late pitch — to set up Smith’s 8-yard run at 7:49.

Kicker Alex Easley appeared to slip on the extra point for his only miss of the contest.

Caleb Boston kicked a 35-yard field goal for the Hornets at 2:17 in the first period. But the Cardinals’ Johnson answered with a 53-yard scoring run on first down at 2:01 for a 19-3 lead after the first quarter.

Smith’s 40-yard scoring run and holder Mason Williams’ conversion run made it 27-3 early in the second period.

Juwan Johnson’s 4-yard run — capping a six=play, 80-yard drive — rallied the Hornets at 8:24. Jonah Hill’s 60-yard pass to Rush keyed the drive.

But the Cardinals bounced back with a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive — capped by Phoenix Johnson’s 18-yard run — to create the halftime score.

The Cardinals’ second-half TDs were from Smith (3 yards), Johnson (4) and Tyler Davison (4).

Phoenix Johnson finished with 163 yards on 13 carries, Roderique 121 on eight and Smith 62 on seven.

Fourth-ranked Hillcrest, co-champion in the Ozark Conference, finished 10-2 overall under John Beckham,. The Hornets were eliminated by Webb City for the second season in a row.