By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Visiting Webb City handled Republic 48-7 in Week 4 of the regular prep football season.
Webb City coach John Roderique believes the Tigers have improved since Sept. 14. Republic coach Kurt Thompson naturally hopes Roderique’s assessment is accurate.
The Tigers (5-5) visit Webb City (10-0) at 7 tonight in a semifinal of the Class 4 District 4 Tournament.
Third-seeded Carthage is at No. 2 Springfield Hillcrest tonight in the other semifinal.
No, 1 seed Webb City, two-time defending Class 4 state champion, is seeking a 41st consecutive victory.
Said Roderique of the fourth-seeded Tigers: “They appear (on film) to be an improved team. Obviously, they’re coached very well. I believe they had some injured players that have returned.
“We’re looking forward to playing someone (Thompson) who had a previous impact on our program,” Roderique said. “Our coaches — the entire community — have respect for coach Thompson.”
Thompson, a fellow linebacker with Roderique at Pittsburg State, said he wasn’t 100 percent sure of the injury situation at the time.
“But a goal is to make sure we’ve improved since that earlier meeting,” Thompson said.
Webb City scored on its first four possessions in the previous meeting and finished with seven rushing touchdowns. Also, quarterback John Roderique, who rushed for three TDs, completed 10 of 13 passes for 152 yards.
Said Thompson: “Webb City is phenomenal. It will take a great performance on our behalf.”
Added coach Roderique: “Republic’s No. 5 (senior Garrett Metscher) is an outstanding outside linebacker/secondary type of player.”
Thompson said Metscher had a strong game as a receiver in the Tigers’ 27-19 win in the first round against visiting McDonald County.
“Chris Gwartney’s guys played our tails off,” Thompson said of the Mustangs. “I thought they played a tremendous game. They were physical. We had them with 77 snaps.”
Thompson also said junior quarterbacks James Desjardins, who missed four games recently with an injury, and Zach Hall likely will share playing time against Webb City.
Webb City notes: Senior tackle Jake Hedrick had five tackles for the Cardinals in their 45-7 first-round win against West Plains. Logging four apiece were junior linebacker Carson Johnson and sophomore free safety Maquel Harbin. ... Senior running back Phoenix Johnson needs two rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Cooper Smith, another senior, has rushed for 698 yards. Johnson has rushed for 17 TDs, quarterback Roderique 10 and Smith 9. Roderique has completed 58 of 92 passes for 1,160 yards and 13 scores. Leading receivers are seniors Kohl Slaughter (24 receptions, 581 yards, six TDs) and Jalen Vaden (20-377-3). Senior kicker Alex Easley has notched 69 points (trailing Johnson’s 114) on 54 extra points and 5-for-5 field goals.