Andrew Elwell barges through Joplin’s defense for a chunk of the 124 yards he gained in the game.

Brayden McKee

Jordan Mason keeps Joplin quarterback Hobbs Gooch from making a first down.

Cardinals pull away from Joplin in the 4th quarter to claim 38-21 win

Bob Foos

Alex Dunne makes his first field goal of the season to give the Cardinals a 17-14 lead.

The Cardinals are on a roll coming into their homecoming game Friday against Ozark.

They won their third game in a row last Friday in Cardinal Stadium by taking control of Joplin in the second half for a 38-21 win.

It stopped a four-game skid against the Eagles. The Cardinals won the two teams’ first meeting in the Central Ozark Conference 47-27 in 2018 but had lost ever since (narrowly, 41-40 in ’20 and ’21).

“I was very proud of the way our players prepared for and played in the game against Joplin,” says coach Ryan McFarland. “I was also proud of the way we handled our emotions during the game and played without getting too emotional.

“Two big staples in our program are that we get better each week as a team, and that we have a “next man up” mentality.

“I feel that this is possible due to our players showing up every day with a mindset to improve. I also believe our coaches deserve some credit. They put in endless hours each week preparing themselves to put their position group in a position to have success, and this leads to our team’s success.

“I thought, for the second straight week, our players did a good job of finishing the game in the second half.  We went into halftime tied at 14-14, and we were a little frustrated and felt the score should have been 21-7. Our defense got a big stop to start the second half and that gave us a chance to take a lead.”

There was a collective sigh of relief by Webb City fans when Brayden Ackerman broke up this would-be touchdown.

Joseph DeGraffenreid catches a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Korth returns his interception. The ensuing Webb City possession resulted in a touchdown to start the fourth quarter.

McFarland says he saw some improvement in the offense’s ability to score in the red zone during the second half.

“Alex Dunne had a big field goal for us in the third quarter. Then we were able to find the end zone three times in the fourth quarter.”

McFarland cites Andrew Elwell and Noah Durman for doing “a great job replacing our two injured senior running backs,” Breckin Galardo and Omari Jackson.

He also gives overdue credit to the offensive line. “Our offensive line and tight ends don’t get a lot of publicity, but they have played well each week. He lists Brady Belcher, Drew Vonder Haar, Eric Lathan, Hunter Shull, Jonah Spieker, Kole Carr, Nate Miller and Shaun Hunt.

McFarland adds that, “We have put a lot of emphasis on our kicking special teams this summer and into the season. Our special teams continued to win the kicking game this week. We had a kickoff return for another touchdown, our punt team forced another turnover, and we kicked a 37-yard field goal. These are all three huge reasons why we were able to win the football game on Friday night.

“Brody Eggleston led our team with 13 tackles. He continues to improve each week, and we are excited that he is a junior and we get him back next year.”

Looking ahead to the homecoming game Friday against Ozark, McFarland says, “The COC might be as balanced as it’s ever been from top to bottom. There are close games each week all across the conference.

“We need to continue to improve and play as a team to have a chance to win this homecoming game for our seniors.”

Gabe Johnson gives the Cardinals a 31-21 lead with this completion of a 22-yard touchdown run.

Cardinals ‘win’ fourth quarter 21-7

Webb City’s three-touchdown fourth quarter, a defensive stand at the 1-yard line, and the scoreboard displaying 38-21 made Cardinal Stadium a happy place Friday night.

The Cardinals received the ball to start the game and made three first downs but were stopped at Joplin’s 34-yard line.

It took Joplin just two plays to get on the scoreboard as tight end Whit Hafer ran with a Hobbs Gooch throw 58 yards for a touchdown.

Faster than that, though, Webb City’s Gabe Johnson returned Joplin’s kickoff 97 yards for a 7-7 tie.

Braden McKee’s 14-yard pass to Johnson gave Webb City a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

And Joplin tied it at 14-14 with a 29-yard pass caught by Jett Beal.

Returning after halftime, the Webb City defense stopped Joplin on three downs.

But the Cardinals couldn’t complete a drive either. Alex Dunne’s 37-yard field goal was the only score of the third quarter, giving Webb City a 17-14 lead.

The teams traded touchdowns to start the fourth quarter. Andrew Elwell put Webb City further ahead, 24-14, with a 5-yard run. While Eagle Davin Thomas threw to Aidan Sampson for a 7-yard touchdown. (24-21)

On a quarterback keeper, Johnson ran 28 yards to extend Webb City’s lead to 31-21.

The Cardinals defense forced the Eagles to punt again after three downs.

Joseph DeGraffenreid caught a McKee pass for 22 yards to put the game away 38-21.

The Eagles weren’t through, though. They drove 62 yards on nine plays when Webb City’s Brody Eggleston stopped Kaden Gilmore for no gain one yard out of the end zone.

Brody Eggleston (16) is the hero after stopping Joplin 1 yard away from a touchdown.

Powered By EmbedPress

Coach Ryan McFarland closes his post-game talk with a big smile.