The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 23, 2012

Webb City offensive line healthy for championship game

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Drew Gollhofer is very pleased with the performance of his players in his first season as offensive line coach for the Webb City High School football team.

But Gollhofer, who’s assisted by Dennis Kimzey, is asking for one more strong effort from the linemen.

“They’ve worked very hard,” Gollhofer said on Thursday. “They’ve done whatever we’ve asked them to do. They’re doing a great job. We want them to have another outstanding game against a very good opponent.”

The Cardinals (14-0) and Jefferson City Helias Catholic (10-4) are scheduled to clash at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Edward Jones Dome at St. Louis to decide the Class 4 championship in the Show-Me Bowl.

“They (the Crusaders) have a very good defensive line,” Gollhofer said. “They also have an outstanding group of linebackers. Those guys really fly around and get to the ball very fast. Helias is a good team. It will be ready.”

Gollhofer, 27, is a former center for the Cardinals and a 2002 graduate. He said the current starting offensive linemen all have been able to practice this week.

“We have a good group of linemen who have been doing it for a long time,” Gollhofer said. “I know we — the coaches — are excited about the kids getting another opportunity to play in the Dome. We’ve been fortunate this season in regard to injuries.”

Seth Watkins, a 5-foot-11, 245-pound senior, is expected to start at center against Helias, Gollhofer said.

The likely guards are strongside senior Mason Kent (5-11, 255) and quickside junior Tony Carranco (5-11, 240). Tackles are junior James Fowler (6-0, 195, quickside) and junior Jordan Green (6-2, 275, strongside). Tight ends are senior Kohl Slaughter (6-3, 215) and junior Cooper Strasser (6-2, 210).

Kent missed the last two games with an ankle injury, Gollhofer said, but will be ready on Saturday. Watkins, injured early, missed the rest of the district final against Springfield Hillcrest.

Fowler was shuffled to guard to replace Kent and 6-2, 270 senior Brent Wilson replaced Fowler at quick tackle. Defensive starter Tayler Arterburn, a 6-0, 225 sophomore, stepped in for Watkins.

Green, Slaughter and Watkins returned this season with starting experience, Gollhofer said.

Gollhofer and Kimzey, a football standout at Fort Scott Community College, first knew each other at Pittsburg State.

“Obviously, Coach Kimzey, who also works with tight ends, has been a big help,” Gollhofer said. “I helped (retiring) Richard Correll last season and had the tight ends.”

Correll was Gollhofer’s coach in junior high and ironically subbed for him last Friday.

Steve Gollhofer, Drew’s dad, is a volunteer for John Roderique and helps Aaron Davied with the defensive line.