The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 18, 2012

Webb City books return trip to St. Louis for title bout

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Webb City High School football coach John Roderique has been saying all year the Cardinals are more multi-dimensional than in past seasons.

Webb City provided ample proof to that assertion on Saturday at the expense of St. Louis St. Mary’s in a semifinal of the MSHSAA Class 4 playoffs.

The two-time defending state champion Cardinals threw for 249 yards — Roderique’s son John connected with eight different receivers — and rushed for 242 as they beat the Dragons 47-7.

Webb City (14-0), which has a 44-game winning streak, returns to St. Louis next Saturday to tackle Jefferson City Helias Catholic (10-4) at 11 a.m. in the Show-Me Bowl at the Edward Jones Dome.

Helias, also winning on the road, defeated Harrisonville 17-7 in the other semifinal.

“That’s a fantastic team,” St. Mary’s coach Jake Parent said. “You can’t have turnovers if you plan on beating them. Those mistakes on our part didn’t allow us a chance. We knew they were capable of passing the ball. Congratulations to them for good execution.”

“So far, this is my best effort,” John (the coach’s son) said. “We came to play. We had a good week of practice. We had our eyes on the prize — a return trip to the Dome. My teammates did a great job.”

Said coach Roderique: “The passing game was predicated on the way they (the Dragons) were playing (defense). They were bringing pressure and blitzes.

“We haven’t had that many opportunities to throw the ball that much this season,” Roderique said. “It’s been fun to see him (the quarterback) progress throughout the year.

“I also thought our guys on both sides of the ball did an outstanding job controlling the line of scrimmage,” Roderique said. “We were able to overcome several penalties.”

The Cardinals quickly had St. Mary’s, which finished 11-3, in a deep hole.

Webb City opened by recovering an onside kick. Phoenix Johnson rushed for seven yards, Roderique hit Kohl Slaughter for a 39-yard scoring pass and Alex Easley, who was 5-for-5, kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 after 45 seconds.

A short punt set up a six-play, 46-yard march that was capped by Cooper Smith’s 3-yard scoring run at 6:47.

Austin White’s interception next set up a four-play, 45-yard drive that was capped by Roderiqaue’s 4-yard toss to Jalen Vaden at 5:14.

White’s fumble recovery inside Cardinal territory preceded a 52-yard drive that was capped by Roderique’s 7-yard pass to Jake Kent that made it 28-0 at 10:09 in the second period.

A St. Mary’s fumble led to the Cardinals’ fifth touchdown of the first half — a 15-yard run by Smith.

The Cardinals added scoring runs of 21 and 3 yards by Smith and Trey Parra in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Quarterback Kevin Hennessy’s 57-yard run for the Dragons broke up the shutout with 7:27 left in the contest.

Roderique, who completed 16-of-20 passes with one interception, hit Slaughter for 71 yards on four receptions and Vaden for 66 on five.

Smith finished with eight carries for 89 yards. Johnson added 50 yards on six carries, Parra 32 on seven and Kyle Baldasarre 35 on seven.

The Dragons, who were shut out through the air, received 186 rushing yards on 36 carries. Brandon Polito had 92 yards on 18 carries and Hennessy 86 on 11.