WEBB CITY, Mo. — In the days leading up to Saturday’s Class 4 semifinal, a painful memory provided extra motivation for the Webb City Cardinals.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Ladue Rams on their home turf in last year’s semifinal, the Cardinals made sure history did not repeat itself.
With a strong performance on both sides of the ball, Webb City avenged last year’s season-ending setback and advanced to the Show-Me Bowl by earning a convincing 35-0 win over Ladue at a packed Cardinal Stadium.
Webb City coach John Roderique noted his team took the field with plenty of incentive.
“I think our kids had a chip on their shoulders,” Roderique said. “This week it was pretty apparent listening to our kids talk about how heartbreaking it was last year at this field. You have to have something to drive you, and I’d say our kids were highly motivated this week.”
“The feeling that we had last year was our motivation going into this game,” Webb City senior defensive end Brayden Bond said. “We took that and ran with it.”
In pursuit of the program’s 15th championship, Webb City (13-1) will meet Platte County (11-3), a 15-14 winner over St. Mary’s, at 7 p.m. on Friday at Faurot Field in Columbia.
In a role reversal from 2018, the Cardinals ended Ladue’s hopes for a repeat.
“We fell short last year and we re-paid them this year,” Webb City senior quarterback Kade Hicks said. “It’s extremely satisfying. We all want to put No. 15 up there on the board and now we get a shot to do that. We’re all super excited.”
Top-ranked Webb City recorded 378 yards of offense, with 305 rushing and 73 passing.
“We knew it would be tough to stop their offense, but to our kids’ credit, I thought we made them earn it except for a couple times when we gave them a short field,” Ladue coach Mike Tarpey said. “They did to us what we’ve been doing to everyone.”
Webb City’s Terrell Kabala ran 15 times for 103 yards, while Devrin Weathers contributed 82 rushing yards on 15 attempts with two touchdowns.
Third-ranked Ladue (12-2) was scoring 40 points per game and was shut out for the first time since the 2017 title game. The Cardinals limited the Rams to 106 yards of offense, 55 on the ground and 51 through the air. The Rams averaged just 2.8 yards per play.
Ladue quarterback Henry McIntosh was picked off four times, with Treghan Parker grabbing three interceptions and Kabala adding one. The Cardinals had 28 first downs and Ladue had just five.
“What an incredible day,” Roderique said. “Offensively, we scored 14 points against those guys each of the last two years, so we were highly motivated to put some scores in. Defensively, what a great job by our coaches and players. That’s a team that can score some points and they have tremendous athletes. To get a shutout against that team is just incredible. That was a great performance by all of our guys.”
On the opening drive of the game, Webb City marched 80 yards on 16 plays, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Weathers. The series ran nearly eight minutes off the clock. An interception from Parker set up Webb City’s second score, a five-yard run by Weathers that came with three seconds left in the first quarter. Ladue ran only three plays in the first period.
“They were able to keep our playmakers off the field,” Tarpey said. “That was huge. It’s hard to get anything going when you only run three plays in a quarter.”
The Webb City defense forced a turnover on downs and a punt in the second quarter. The Cardinals extended their lead when Eli Goddard came in at quarterback and fired a 31-yard touchdown pass to Cohl Vaden with 16 seconds left in the first half.
The teams traded turnovers in a scoreless third period, with Kabala picking off a McIntosh pass after the hosts lost a fumble.
Webb City took a four-score lead with eight minutes left in the game when Hicks scampered into the end zone on a 15-yard QB keeper. An interception by Parker set up the score. Dillon Harlen’s 12-yard touchdown run with 3:59 remaining accounted for the final score.
Webb City is in the championship game for the 18th time in program history.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Bond said. “Our motto all year has been ‘Chasing History.’ Now we get a chance to do it.”