By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Webb City, beating Neosho 55-0 to spice homecoming festivities at Cardinal Stadium on Friday night, set up in the process a Central Ozark Conference Large Division showdown with Ozark.
Unbeaten Ozark, which visits Webb City next week, did its part by handling Nixa 41-21.
Webb City, ranked No. 1 in Class 4 and two-time defending state champion, hiked its record to 7-0 and 5-0 in the conference, The Cardinals’ winning streaks climbed to 37-0 overall and 88 during the regular season.
Neosho, which entertains Republic next Friday night, fell to 0-7, 0-5.
Webb City, exploiting excellent field position several times, led Neosho 48-0 at the half.
Said Cardinal coach John Roderique: “We had much better execution this week than last. We were able to use a lot of different weapons.
“We had great focus,” Roderique said. “Our preparation was good. We had a great week of practice which is a credit to our coaches as well as the players.”
Neosho coach Jared Schoonover appreciated the Wildcats’ effort.
“You won’t ever see them quit,” he said. “They have heart. They keep working.
“We have to continue to focus on assignment-football as a team whatever that may be,” Schoonover said. “I saw progression tonight in some of our individuals.
“I thought our fullbacks — Christian Lopez and Chris Goodwin — played well,” Schoonover said.
Webb City started at the Neosho 12-yard line, the Wildcats’ 37 and the Cardinals’ 44 in scoring three touchdowns in the first period. The Wildcats, meanwhile, started at their 28 and 20 three times in the first quarter.
It took the Cardinals just two minutes to score their first touchdown and it came after the Wildcats’ 3-and-out. Phoenix Johnson returned the punt 37 yards to the Neosho 12 and Cooper Smith rushed for the touchdown on first down.
The second touchdown came at 6:59 on a 1-yard run by Smith to cap a four-play, 37-yard drive that included a 24-yard carry by Smith.
The third TD came at 4:14 on John Roderique’s 49-yard pass to Kohl Slaughter on second-and-3 after a 7-yard carry by Johnson.
Johnson, who finished with 147 yards on seven carries, scored in the second period on runs of 6, 56 and 3 yards.
Kyle Baldasarre scored on a 50-yard run for the Cardinals to close out the first half — set up by outside linebacker Kyler Crane’s diving fumble recovery in the air — and Tyler Davison tacked on a 31-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter.
An interception by Austin Thomas thwarted the best Neosho drive and set up Davison’s TD at 1:01.
Baldasarre supported Johnson with 64 yards on five carries. Roderique was 4-for-4 in passing with Slaughter catching three passes for 100 yards.
The Cardinals finished with 327 rushing yards and 113 passing to the Wildcats’ total of 138.