A spot in the Class 4 District 6 championship game will be on the line when top-seeded Webb City (9-1) hosts fourth-seeded Willard (5-5) at 7 tonight at Cardinal Stadium.
The winner advances to next week’s district championship game against either No. 2 West Plains (9-1) or No. 3 Bolivar (10-0).
The Cardinals handled eighth-seeded McDonald County 49-14 last Friday, while Willard advanced with a 41-14 win over fifth-seeded Carl Junction.
“They can do some really good things,” Webb City coach John Roderique said of the Tigers. “They’ve got size, speed and a talented group of guys. They’ve got a power run game and a spread passing game. You have to be able to defend everything.”
These two teams met a month ago, with the Cardinals winning the Central Ozark Conference clash 49-21.
“It was a game where we played pretty well at times,” Roderique recalled. “We hit some big plays and led 28-0. But Willard played really well in the second half.”
The Tigers own the distinction of having recorded the most yards of offense against the Cardinals this season with 372.
In last week’s win over the Bulldogs, Willard’s running back duo of Marshall Swadley and Garrett Rice combined for 240 rushing yards. Rice scored four touchdowns. The Tigers, who ran for more than 330 yards last week, are led by quarterback Reece Dawson and also possess size up front.
Winners of eight straight and ranked first in Class 4 by the Missouri Media, Webb City has outscored its opponents 416-89 this season. The Cardinal offense averages 289 rushing and 97 passing yards per game.
Junior quarterback Eli Goddard has passed for 564 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Senior Kade Hicks, who is available to play this week after missing the last two contests with an ankle injury, has passed for 400 yards and ran for 498.
Junior Devrin Weathers (943 yards, 15 TD) and senior Terrell Kabala (544, 12 TD) lead Webb City’s ground attack, while leading receivers are Cale McCallister (281 yards) and Mekhi Garrard (236 yards).
Webb City’s defense is surrendering just nine points per game. Leaders of the defense include Sergio Perez (75 tackles), Treghan Parker (58), Trenten Thompson (57) and Ruben Lenker (55). Brayden Bond and Matt McDaniel have four sacks apiece.
Roderique said this week’s keys to success are simple.
“This time of the year, you have to take care of the football,” Roderique said. “It’s the same things as every week. We’ll have to be disciplined and play well on both sides of the ball. I think our guys are ready.”
Notes: District foe Bolivar will join the Ozark Conference next fall in football only. The Liberators will take the place of Springfield Central, who will compete as an independent.