The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 29, 2012

BEST OF 2012: Webb City's three-peat tops year's local sports stories

The Webb City Cardinals were nothing short of perfect.

Again.

The Cardinals encountered little difficulty in marching to their third consecutive 15-0 season and Class 4 state football championship. They also extended their state-record, regular-season winning streak to 90 games.

“There was pressure this year (for us to win),” said John Roderique, the quarterback and head coach’s son. “But you know what they say — no pressure, no diamonds.”

Webb City’s three-peat — a new accomplishment in its highly decorated tradition — is the No. 1 sports story in the area during 2012 as selected by The Globe’s sports staff.

How dominant was Webb City this season?

• The Cardinals trailed only once the entire season — 7-0 after one quarter against Nixa on Sept. 21. The Cardinals, however, recovered to lead 13-7 at halftime, then tallied 36 second-half points for a 49-21 victory.

• The defense limited 10 opponents to seven points or less, including three shutouts.

• After averaging 45.3 points during the regular season, Webb City won its three district games by a combined 148-24 score and then romped in its state playoff games by scores of 35-6 over Sullivan, 47-7 over St. Louis St. Mary’s and 49-14 over Jefferson City Helias Catholic.

The Cardinal offense included two 1,000-yard rushers — Phoenix Johnson (1,478 yards and 24 touchdowns) and Cooper Smith (1,106 yards, 19 TDs and the son of defensive coordinator Mike Smith). Quarterback Roderique passed for 1,670 yards and 20 scores, and Kohl Slaughter led the receivers with 858 yards and 10 TDs.

Defensive leaders included Dalton Humphrey (108 tackles), Logan Williams (85), Jose Speer (83) and Kiante Hardin (seven interceptions).

Webb City became the sixth school to win at least three straight titles but the first one to go unbeaten and untied all three years. This year’s title was No. 11 for the Cardinals, tying them with Ste. Genevieve Valle for the most in the state.

“I realize what a special thing it’s been,” coach John Roderique said. “What’s amazing is how many hundreds of kids have been involved (over the years) in this whole process. (The streaks) say a lot about the players, the quality of the players and their work ethic.”

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