By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Crusaders, needing to win by at least 13 points, delivered in the second half in a big way on Saturday night.
Joplin, tied 13-13 at the half with unbeaten Enid, wound up winning 41-26 in the non-pro Central Football League showdown in Fred G. Hughes Stadium at Missouri Southern State University.
Joplin coach Dave Pitts said there was excitement at the finish with Enid and Joplin scoring touchdowns with big plays.
The Enforcers had rolled up a 7-0 overall record and 4-0 in the league.
Joplin, winning its fourth game in a row, improved to 6-3 overall, 4-1 in the CFL and earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs.
The No. 1 seeding secured a bye in the first round and the Crusaders debut with a home game at 6:30 p.m. on May 19 at Missouri Southern against the Arkansas Warriors or Stillwater Outlaws.
“I can’t say enough about the effort of our guys,” Pitts said. “Enid would score and our guys would answer.
“The last 3-4 weeks you could see the team getting better and better,” Pitts said.
“The defense may have scored three or four touchdowns,” Pitts said. “Defensively, we kept attacking. We had a lot of return yardage off interceptions.
“Our offense put up points in the fourth quarter,” Pitts said. “The offense came up with some big plays when needed.”
The Enforcers had defeated their CFL opponents by scores of 62-0, 48-20, 31-0 and 28-14. The 28-14 victory was on the road against the two-time defending CFL champions Kansas Cougars.
“Enid is a good ballclub,” Pitts said. “They had good speed. They were larger than our guys.”