The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

September 13, 2013

Webb City, Carthage set to renew rivalry

— Carthage and Webb City obviously have at least one thing in common entering tonight’s renewal of the ancient prep football rivalry.

Their goals include bouncing back from road losses last Friday night. It’s the Central Ozark Conference Large Division opener for both 1-1 teams with kickoff set for 7 p.m. in Webb City at Cardinal Stadium.

Springdale Har-Ber scored the last four touchdowns to overtake Webb City 42-35 and snap the Cardinals’ winning streaks of 91 in the regular season and 46 overall. Carl Junction was ahead 42-20 by halftime in jolting Carthage 63-32.

Chris Mazzocco, who staffs Cardinal football for the Webb City Sentinel, said tonight’s combatants began playing in at least 1909 with Webb City, thanks to recent domination, leading the series 57-47-3.

Head coaches Jon Guidie of Carthage and John Roderique of Webb City mentioned tackling by their defenses when asked on Thursday what did they emphasize in practice this week.

Said Guidie: “We emphasized ball security. We’ve had six turnovers in our two games. We worked more than usual on tackling, too. We were pretty much live all week.”

Said Roderique: “It’s been a normal work week. We’ve been preparing for Carthage, of course. We are trying to tackle better and simply make plays — normal stuff. The main focus this time of the season is to improve each week.

“Carthage has a multiple threat at quarterback in Gabe Franklin,” Roderique said. “He’s similar to whom we saw last week (at Har-Ber). The offense can be confusing to a defense. Mentally, we have to be in each play. Carthage also has a solid running back in (Cameron) Priester and an outstanding receiver in (E.J.) Morgan.”

Guidie said one strength of the Cardinals has become a staple over the years.

“They’re very good up front on offense,” Guidie said. “We thought the Webb City offensive line controlled the Har-Ber defensive line.”

Injury report

Guidie said the Tigers lost middle linebacker/tight end Tyler Ralston for the season with a knee injury sustained in the opener against Seneca.

“Tyler was our only two-way starter,” Guidie said of the 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore. “He already has had major surgery and the injury included an ACL.”

Jesse Martini, a junior, has replaced Ralston at tight end and classmate Alex Kennedy has replaced him at middle linebacker from outside backer, Guidie said.

Roderique said senior outside linebacker Hunter Rhea suffered an ankle injury against Har-Ber but is expected to play.

Jerry Walker honored

Walker, who held several coaching positions during 30 years in education at Webb City, was presented a plaque on Aug. 30 for contributions to the athletic program such as being the “voice” at Cardinal Stadium for some 15 years.

Walker was a coach briefly in girls track before settling on football (12 years) and wrestling (14 years with six as the head coach).

The “retiree” has returned to teach fifth-grade special education through December.

Walker, who’s been replaced by Bruce VonderHaar as the “voice” at Cardinal Stadium, said he plans to attend as many games as possible. He’s begun 2-for-2.

Walker, a 1977 graduate of Carl Junction High School, has taught only at Webb City. He secured his undergraduate degree from Missouri Southern — playing football for a year — and has a master’s degree and specialist from Pittsburg State.

Nicely done, coach Walker. Or, is that “Easley” done?

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