The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 6, 2013

Joplin Crusaders continue road trip

There’s no substance to the rumor that the Joplin Crusaders are changing their name to the Joplin Traveling Crusaders.

The Crusaders, idle last week because of Easter, resume their non-pro Central Football League schedule tonight with a third straight away game.

Joplin (2-0) visits the Kansas Cougars (1-0) with kickoff scheduled for 7 at Maize High School.

It’s actually a doubleheader — billed the Border Showdown — with Arkansas and Northern Oklahoma scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m.

Joplin head coach Dave Pitts said Friday he didn’t get much pleasure from watching film of the Cougars’ opening contest — a 33-6 win against the Oklahoma Warriors on March 23.

“They (the Cougars) aren’t as big overall as they’ve been in the past,” Pitts said. “But they look very fast as well as physical.

“I was shocked, however, by the size of one of their running backs,” Pitts said. “He’s a big kid who moves well.

“I don’t see the layoff hurting much,” Pitts said. “We had two players dinged up. Now, they should be healthy.”

The Cougars, in their win against the Warriors, received 322 passing yards and 229 rushing. Quarterback Wendell Jones completed just six of 22 passes for a whopping 149 yards. Isaiah Mosley led a balanced rushing attack with 66. Eddie Hartfield intercepted three passes.

Joplin made it 2-0 by winning 19-6 against the Northwest Arkansas Battle at Lincoln High School.

Brenden Gubera, offensive coordinator, said quarterback Matt Thompson was “sharp, something like 12 of 16” in throwing for 198 yards. Danny Knighten nabbed two scoring passes in totaling four for 76. Matt Rice had seven receptions for 101 yards.

Leading the Joplin ground attack, Gubera said, were Ken Sessions (14 carries for 91 yards) and Heath Baker ( 11-76).

The Cougars are playing on the Maize gridiron after several years at Fischer Field Stadium in Newton.

The Crusaders are scheduled to make their home debut at 7 p.m. next Saturday against the Enid Enforcers. Enid beat Joplin 28-21 last season for the CFL postseason championship after the Crusaders had won the regular season.

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