The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 21, 2013

Crusaders beat Northwest Arkansas

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Brenden Gubera likes what he’s been seeing recently in his role as offensive coordinator for the Joplin Crusaders.

The Crusaders hiked their non-pro Central Football League record to 5-0 by beating the visiting Northwest Arkansas Battle 42-0 on Saturday night in Fred G. Hughes Stadium at Missouri Southern State University.

“We had our best offensive output of the season,” Gubera said Sunday of 227 yards passing and 183 rushing. “That’s the kind of balance you want.”

Dave Pitts’ Crusaders had scored 68 points in their previous two games.

Added Gubera: “The offensive line is improving each week. Those linemen have done a nice job in pass protection. They’re communicating very well.”

Northwest Arkansas, which lost 19-6 to Joplin on March 23, trailed 21-0 at the half.

The Crusaders scored in the first period on Matt Thompson’s 21-yard pass to Matt Rice. Jason Bromley followed with his first of six conversion kicks.

Matt Thompson found Scott Thompson, a cousin, for a 12-yard scoring pass in the second quarter to make it 14-0. Robert Lockett and Scott Thompson then hooked up for an 18-yard scoring pass in the closing seconds before halftime.

Joplin added two touchdowns in the third quarter on Matt Thompson’s 14-yard pass to Rice and a 10-yard by Daniel Thompson. Daniel and Matt are brothers.

Quarterback Lockett broke loose for a 16-yard scoring run in the fourth period.

Matt Thompson finished 11 of 16 passing for 175 yards and added five carries for 36 yards.

Joplin rushing leaders were Kenny Ray Session Jr. (eight carries for 65 yards) and Heath Baker (9-55).

Leading receivers were Rice (three for 51 yards) and Daniel Thompson (2-50).

The Joplin defense, coordinated by Pitts, came up with four interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Cornerback Tay Love, linebackers Jordan Highley and David Lipscomb and safety Cleavon Williams had the interceptions. Defensive end Jonathan Nash recovered the Battle fumble.

The Joplin staff wasn’t happy with its two interceptions and one fumble on offense.

“We can’t continue doing that,” Gubera said. “We have to shore up ball security.”

The Crusaders, idle this week, resume on May 4 at 7 p.m. by visiting the Oklahoma Warriors at Okemah.