By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Webb City High School football coach John Roderique had an obvious message for his players this week.
“We need to come out focused and ready to play,” Roderique said Thursday before the start of the Cardinals’ practice.
And, apparently, it isn’t just homecoming that has Roderique concerned.
“We had a rough first quarter last week (at Willard),” Roderique said. “We didn’t do a good job of that (being focused and mentally ready to face the Tigers).”
Webb City wound up winning 45-0 last week to hike winning streaks to 36 overall and 87 during the regular season.
Neosho visits Webb City for today’s 7 p.m. homecoming contest at Cardinal Stadium. Homecoming festivities will start at about 6:30, Roderique said.
The Class 4 top-ranked, two-time defending state champion Cardinals are 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Central Ozark Conference Large Division. Jared Schoonover’s Wildcats are 0-6, 0-4.
“Neosho is a team that has gone to a new offense — the ‘flexbone.’ It causes some concern,” Roderique said.
Schoonover couldn’t be contacted to ask about the different look on offense.
“We thought,” Roderique added, “they (the Wildcats) did a good job with it last week considering it was relatively new.
“We defensively have to be very disciplined and physical,” Roderique said. “We have to really play well on first and second downs. The flexbone gives you triple-option opportunities.”
Nixa handed the Wildcats a 41-0 setback last week.
“The Neosho quarterback (165-pound junior Justin McKee) does a pretty good job,” Roderique said. “(Christian) Lopez (220 senior) is a real pounder at fullback.”
Notes: Cardinal junior running back Trey Parra remains sidelined for tonight’s contest, Roderique said. But senior Landon Baker is expected to resume punting duty. ... Former Neosho coach Shawn Flannigan has a big game in Arkansas with his Rogers Mounties entertaining Bentonville in a clash of 5-0 Class 7A teams. Bentonville is No. 1, Springdale Har-Ber (2-3) No. 4 and Rogers 10th in Hootens.com Rankings