Southwest Missouri knows football.
On Saturday, Joplin continued its undefeated season (now 13-0) with a 41-20 win over Fort Zumwalt West. The Eagles Play this Saturday in Columbia for the state championship. The city is playing for the championship for the first time since 1984, when Parkwood High School lost to Jefferson City Helias in a game played at Arrowhead Stadium, and for the first time since Parkwood and Memorial High School merged.
That followed victories on Friday by Webb City, when the No. 1 Cardinals knocked off No. 2 Camdenton, and the Carthage Tigers beat Glendale, with both local teams advancing to the semifinals. On Saturday, Webb City plays Ladue (at home), and Carthage plays at Fort Zumwalt North.
That means that three teams from the Central Ozarks Conference — and three teams from Jasper County — are still in play this late in the season, still contenders, with Joplin playing for the Class 6 championship and Carthage and Webb City in the semifinals in Class 5 and Class 4, respectively.
Not to be overlooked is the success of other area teams.
Cassville on Saturday also advanced, beating No. 1 ranked Blair Oaks and ending that team’s 27-game winning streak. The Wildcats also play this weekend in the Class 3 semifinals at home.
Unfortunately, Lamar lost in the Class 2 quarterfinals to Ava, but the Tigers should feel nothing but pride, having gone 10-3 this year. Lamar fields one of the toughest teams in the state year after year, having won seven consecutive state championships from 2011-2017. No one doubts that will be a team to reckon with again next season.
And while we’re at it, how about a shoutout to the Neosho soccer team? It took fourth at state this past weekend, finishing the year 18-10.
We congratulate all the area teams on their seasons and wish the best for all those still in the running.