By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Webb City High School opens its home football schedule tonight with a whopper of a test.
Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber is the visitor with kickoff set for 7 p.m. in Cardinal Stadium.
Maybe, just maybe, the Cardinals can put some points on the scoreboard early in the contest and the remnants of Hurricane Isaac will serve as an ally.
Hootens.com Rankings has Har-Ber, which is launching its season, No. 4 in Class 7A behind defending champion Fayetteville, North Little Rock and 2010 champion Bentonville. Har-Ber reigned in 2009. Hootens also has Har-Ber a 14-point favorite.
The Cardinals, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 4, put an 82-game regular-season winning streak on the line. They won 44-3 last Friday night at Carl Junction.
Webb City coach John Roderique didn’t mince words on Friday about Har-Ber.
“Har-Ber has tremendous talent,” Roderique said. “They’re really good.
“It will take a monumental effort on our part to be able to compete with them,” Roderique said. “Definitely, we’re looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully, it’s to our advantage that we’ve played a game.
“The important thing for us is to go out, compete and play well,” Roderique said.
“Har-Ber will be bigger. Defensively, they’re physical and chase after the ball very well,” Roderique said. “They don’t get caught out of position.
“Offensively, they do a good job of pounding, pounding the ball inside,” Roderique said. “That will open play-action passes. They will throw the ball and throw it deep. They will utilize ‘gadget’ plays. I’ve used the wrong word, though. Those plays aren’t trick plays at all for them. They may use them frequently and execute them very well.”
Chris Wood, a graduate of Atkins (Ark.) High School and Arkansas Tech, has been the Wildcats’ coach since they began varsity play in 2006. He previously had been offensive coordinator for Gus Malzahn at Springdale.
Wood said the Wildcats return two starters on offense and seven on defense from an 8-4 edition that lost in the second round of the playoffs.
Wood said Josh Frazier, the Wildcats’ 6-foot-5, 330-pound junior nose guard, already has been offered scholarships by Arkansas, Arkansas State and Alabama.
Said Wood: “We’re probably stronger on defense (because of experience). I like our ‘skilled position’ guys. We have the makings of a pretty good team.”
The Wildcats’ probable quarterback is 5-11, 151 junior Kyle Pianalto.
Owasso (Okla.) coach Bill Patterson said his 6A Rams lost 24-21 to Har-Ber last Friday night in a 24-minute scrimmage in the Union Gridiron Classic.
“Har-Ber is very good,” Patterson, 1973 Jasper graduate who played center for Jim Frazier at Missouri Southern, said. “They have good size — headed by the big nose guard. They will throw the ball deep. They always seem to have a good quarterback.”
Roderique hopes two Cardinals will see defensive line duty after missing last week’s opener. They are senior David Dotson and sophomore Evan Slaughter.