Brayden Ackerman intercepts a Carthage pass as Webb City’s defense sets the tone for a near shutout Friday in the district final at Cardinal Stadium.

Omari Jackson races into the end zone for the Cardinals’ first touchdown.

Webb City hosts quarterfinal Friday against Grain Valley

Bob Foos

The Webb City Cardinals are back in the playoffs after a decisive 42-7 win over Carthage last Friday to claim the Class 5 District 7 championship.

This Friday, they will host the Grain Valley Eagles at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Stadium in the state tournament quarterfinals.

The 10-1 Eagles won the District 8 championship with a 27-25 victory over Platte County.

Although the 9-2 Cardinals were the No. 1 seed in districts, the 7-5 Carthage Tigers had defeated the Cardinals 20-13 on Oct. 6.

An early mishap by the Cardinals turned out to be a statement that the defense was determined not to let the Tigers’ have extended possessions on the ground again.

Andrew Young disrupts at Carthage pass.

Ryan Reid knocks the ball loose on a Carthage kickoff return that ended up with Webb City recovering the fumble.

The Cardinals received the opening kickoff and had 3rd-and-1 from their 28 when Tiger Cooper Lilienkamp intercepted Gabe Johnson’s pass and returned it to the Webb City 16-yard-line.

Webb City’s defense took the field to allow Carthage’s offense only 1 yard on the ground and a 4-yard pass. Combined with a 5-yard false-start penalty, the Tigers were still at the 16 at 4th-and-10 when Webb City’s Brayden Ackerman intercepted Brody Carlton’s pass at the 1-yard line and returned it to the 5.

The Cardinals took five and a half minutes and 12 plays to drive 95 yards for their first touchdown. Omari Jackson finished the drive with a 6-yard rush.

Webb City got the ball back again after the defense allowed Carthage one first down. Landyn Collins needed only 1 yard for a second first down when he was tackled on fourth down by Rowdy Webb at the Carthage 44.

Jackson had a 37-yard run for Webb City’s second touchdown (13-0).

On 3rd-and-5, Tucker Liberatore tackled Carlton for no gain, forcing a punt.

Andrew Elwell ran 64 yards to get the Cardinals 8 yards from the end zone – and then he carried it twice more for the touchdown (20-0).

Carthage had to punt again after Brody Eggleston and Jordan Howard combined to keep Carlton from converting on third down.

Webb City answered with Gabe Johnson as quarterback running 76 yards for a touchdown (27-0).

Webb City got another chance to score before the half when Andrew Young intercepted a pass. But the drive ended with a failed field goal attempt.

On the second-half kickoff to Carthage, Ryan Reid forced a fumble that was recovered by Conner Gayman at the Carthage 18.

Joseph DeGraffenreid carried for 16 yards. Elwell scored the touchdown and the 2-point conversion (35-0) to start the fast clock.

Carthage, held on 3rd-and-7, again had to punt.

Webb City added a fast-clock-insurance touchdown on a drive highlighted by Braden McKee’s 37-yard quarterback keeper and Drew Vonder Haar’s 19-yard pass reception. McKee took it home with a 6-yard carry (42-0).

Carthage finished the scoring with a nine-play drive (42-7).

The Cardinals, had 172 yards rushing and 158 total yards the first time they played Carthage. This time they had 418 yards rushing and 480 total yards.

Carthage gained an 18-9 first-down advantage on Oct. 6. In the district final, the Cardinals limited the Tigers to five first downs, while Webb City’s offense made 15 first downs.

Braden McKee on a quarterback keeper for a 37-yard gain.

Players drench coach Ryan McFarland to celebrate his first district championship as Webb City’s head coach.

Plus, it was the coach’s birthday.

Coach Ryan McFarland stresses the importance continuing hard work to prepare for this Friday’s quarterfinal.

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