The Class 4 high school football programs across the state of Missouri could be letting out a collective cheer when the new classifications and district assignments are released on Friday.
Why? The Webb City Cardinals could be on the move.
There’s a possibility Webb City could bump up to Class 5 as a result of increased enrollment numbers.
“Our enrollment numbers went up last year, and they’re going up again this year,” Webb City coach John Roderique said last week. “Our high school has grown by probably at least a 100 students in the last two years.”
MSHSAA reclassifies each fall based on the previous year’s enrollment numbers for grades 9-11.
Of course, the Cardinals have been competing in Class 4 for years. All 14 of Webb City’s state football championships have come in Class 4.
Last year, Webb City competed in Class 4 District 6 with Bolivar, Carl Junction, Hillcrest, Marshfield, McDonald County, Monett and Neosho.
In case you were wondering, there were two Class 5 districts situated in this region this past fall. Class 5 District 5 featured Springfield Central, Glendale, Lebanon, Waynesville and Willard, while District 6 consisted of Branson, Carthage, Nixa, Parkview and Republic.
Webb City would most likely be placed in one of those districts if it bumps up. And yes, a move to Class 5 for Webb City would mean the Cardinals and their rival Carthage Tigers could meet in the regular season and in the playoffs.
So will the Cardinals stay in Class 4 or move to Class 5? We’ll find out at the end of this week.
“I think it’s still up in the air, but we may have had enough growth last year to bump us up,” Roderique said.
Webb City has 27 seniors on this year’s roster, including key returning performers Terrell Kabala, Kade Hicks, Ruben Lenker, Trent Thompson, Cale McCallister, Brayden Bond, Gavin Surber, Sergio Perez, Sam Thomas, Tanner Rogers, Brayden Wilson, Colton McKee and Ethan Vowiell.
As always, Roderique expects his seniors to lead the way on and off the field.
“Last year, they had a role, but they weren’t the guys leading the program,” Roderique said. “Every year, you have a new group of seniors who have been leading the guys in the summer, and it’s enjoyable to see those guys develop and grow into leaders.”
Among the new prep football rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations is a 40-second play clock. A 25-second play clock was previously used.
“It will be interesting to see how it goes,” Roderique said. “There will be a learning curve for everybody.”
Other new rules of note: A horse-collar tackle is now an illegal contact penalty, and intentionally tripping a ball-carrier is prohibited.
MaxPreps recently named Webb City the most dominant high school football program of the past decade in the state of Missouri.
Jenks was the top pick in Oklahoma, while Bishop Miege was the choice in Kansas and Fayetteville was picked in Arkansas.
Webb City will host a four-team jamboree with Joplin, Lamar and Seneca at 7 p.m. on Friday at Cardinal Stadium. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students.
Carthage and Carl Junction are at Monett’s jamboree with Nevada, while Neosho is at Mount Vernon with McDonald County and Bolivar.
Of course, the regular season begins one week after the jamborees, on Aug. 30.