Officials: Exciting game’s aftermath, not that unusual, blown out of proportion by social media
Word spread quickly after the big football game here Friday against Joplin – not just about the outcome – but about fights, an assault and vandalism.
DON’T BELIEVE 90% of it.
Other than an actual assault after the game on private property across from the high school, Webb City Superintendent Tony Rossetti reports that after reviewing complaints received by police and meeting with the school’s security staff and administrators there “is no evidence” requiring punishment of any Webb City students.
He said a majority of complaints were about parking and that one fight was a boyfriend/girlfriend issue, “not an eruption about the game.”
There was one damaged sink in the women’s restroom on the home side of the field, which Rossetti said was discovered before the half. And those sinks can be damaged just by leaning on them so vandalism is likely not the cause.
Neither was there damage to the turf caused by players planting the Eagles’ flag on the Cardinal head.
Social media accounts about vandalism in women’s restroom on the visitors side are not true, according to Rossetti.
Overall, Rossetti said it comes as no surprise that the crowd of 6,000 was “emotionally charged” after a tight game. “Our security staff and administrators did a good job” of keeping fans from opposing sides separated.
The after-game episode at Dennis Grissom’s house on the west side of Madison Street added to the tension as an ambulance and two ambulances responded. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office also had a presence at the game.
Webb City Police Chief Don Melton said an initial report of Grissom being run over turned out to be false. Grissom was transported by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated and released.
Melton added that the incident is still under investigation, with officers waiting to take statements from Grissom and two possible witnesses. The dispute may have been about parking on Grissom’s property, which is adjacent to a school-owned parking lot.
Otherwise, Melton said there were “very few minor altercations on the parking lot that our officers were able to handle on scene.
“That’s why we work the games.”
The Webb City-Joplin rivalry has been hit and miss.
After Webb City left Ozark Conference, the two teams didn’t play again until after Webb City’s first state championship, which was in 1990. The anticipated game was at Missouri Southern State University, starting quarterback Mark Smith was injured, and Joplin won 36-7.
The schools didn’t face each other again until they both had gaps to fill in their schedules and agreed to play two years, in 1996 and 1997. Webb City won both games: 41-6 at Webb City, during Kurt Thompson’s final year as the Cardinals coach, and 33-7 at Joplin during John Roderique’s first year.
Former Superintendent Ron Lankford said that two-year agreement wasn’t extended because Joplin “wanted to move our game (the next in the series in 1998) to MSSU. “We didn’t want to give up our home game.”
The rivalry resumed in 2018 when Joplin joined Webb City as a member of the Central Ozark Conference. Webb City won the 2018 game at Joplin 47-27 but has lost the next three, 35-28 (’19), 41-40 (’20) and 41-40 (’21).