By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Crusaders have a bye this week in the opening round of the Central Football League playoffs.
Joplin, 8-0 and seeded No. 1, will open in the playoffs with a home game at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Its opponent will be the winner of tonight's game between the visiting Benton County (Ark.) Saints and the Ada (Okla.) Outlaws.
Joplin has defeated the Outlaws 41-28 - the game was played at Wynnewood High School - and the Saints 35-16.
Two other playoff games will be held tonight: The Coffeyville-based Kansas Roughriders visit the Oklahoma City Gunners and the Tulsa Knights call on the Benton County (Ark.) Warriors.
The Northern Oklahoma Rampage, primarily because of injuries, forfeited to the Poteau (Okla.)-based River Valley Buccaneers.
The defending champion Lawton (Okla.) Rebels are seeded No. 2 in the playoffs.
Brenden Gubera, the Crusaders' offensive coordinator, said the team plans to work out for about two hours on Sunday.
Gubera said the Crusaders came out of last week's game with the Rebels in fairly good physical shape.
"We came out of it, however, with bumps and bruises," Gubera said. "It was a physical game. I didn't think it would be that physical, either. Definitely, the Rebels came to play."
The Crusaders, erasing a 7-0 deficit, scored two touchdowns in the final period to prevail 13-7.
The Rebels totaled 180 yards on offense after picking up 140 in the first half.
"The Rebels had speed and were able to effectively spread the field," Gubera said. "Our defense (directed by David Pitts) may have played its best game of the season. It yielded zero running yards in the second half."
By Anvil Welch