Thurs. Sept. 9, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
Enigma – noun - 1) a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
2) something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
3) a difficult problem
4) 2010 Branson Pirates football team
Okay, I made up definition 4! But you must admit as you look at the Pirates after two weeks the word enigma does come to mind quickly. Will the real Pirates please stand up?
Branson’s offense scored 22 points in the first half of the season opener against COC foe Carthage, yet they have only scored 13 points in the six quarters of football since. It was an offensive shootout week one and the Pirates were no match for the Tigers high octane offense, falling 60-28.
After being gouged for 60 points, the Pirates defense played tough against Cassville, the top ranked team in class 3A. The Wildcats managed only a pair of touchdowns, but as mentioned above the offense failed to perform at a high level. The Pirates lost their second game of the 2010 campaign 14-7.
So, we beg the answer to the questions, is Branson the offensive machine that put 22 points on the scoreboard against Carthage in just 24 minutes of play, or are they really the offense that failed to score after four straight running plays from the opponents two yard-line? Are the Pirates the defensive stalwarts that made the top class 3A team earn every yard and surrender just 14 points, or are they really a defense that purges yards and points to the tune of 37 points per week?
My guess is like most great mysteries in life; the truth about Branson is somewhere in the middle. I guess we will all find out a little more when the Pirates and Cardinals go to battle Friday night at 7:00pm at Cardinal Stadium.
There are a lot of great things about watching Webb City football, but as I write this I can’t help but think about the fact; we as fans are privileged to not have to experience many wild and dramatic swings in the team’s performance. Sure, every season has it share ups and downs but one thing the Webb City football program can hang its hat on is consistency.
Have an opinion on what Branson will bring to the table Friday night? How about why the football program has been so consistent over the years? We would love to hear from you on our message board. Check it out under the Cardinal Forums tab.
Sat. Sept. 11, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
Throughout the week there had been much discussion around the watercooler, in the forums, and even this website as to which Branson Pirate team would show up at Cardinal Stadium on Friday night. Branson came into the game winless after suffering two very different losses to Cassville and Carthage, repectively. Webb City was looking to remain undefeated, while toting the number 2 ranking in Missouri Class 4, as well as continue to prove a point as the "underdogs" of the COC in their third straight conference game.
Branson began the game with a sense of toughness and determination not equally matched by the Cardinals, though the Pirates were unable to put any points on the board. Then, after exchanging a couple of punts and Webb City snagging an interception, Maddy Johnson took the handoff to run the ball 36 yards inside the 10. This set up a Jamison Cady touchdown run, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 first quarter lead.
After another big Cardinal interception, Slade Byford was able to find the endzone to make the score, giving Webb a 14-0 lead with just under 10:00 in the second quarter. The remainder of the half would see another huge interception by the Webb City defense as well as two more Maddy Johnson touchdown runs to give the Cardinals a 28-0 lead at the half.
Nearly midway through the third quarter, Webb City found themselves in the Red Zone with an opportunity to put even more distance between themselves and the Pirates. Austin Daniel lined up in the left slot, where a Branson linebacker was forced to slide out to cover him. This created an obvious mismatch which QB Scott Roderique was able to exploit by throwing a quick slant to Daniel for the touchdown. This made it 35-0 in favor of Webb City and put the Pirates in an even more desperate situation as the clock was now working against them as it continued to run.
In the fourth, Branson was finally able to get on the board after a great run to get their offense into the endzone, though the extra point try failed. Webb City, now playing mostly substitutes, would continue to play on as Christian Hoffman would lead a late-game rushing attack to set up a Breckin Williams touchdown with 4:32 left on the clock. Branson would score again on a very long catch and run, but the game was already in hand. Webb City would go on to win the game by the score of 42-13.
In the first half, the Webb City defense was able to take the ball away 3 times and stuff the Pirates on a big fourth and one play.
Wed. Sept. 15, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
It will be an old fashioned rivalry game Friday night when long time rivals and former Southwest Conference foes Webb City and Neosho meet in Neosho. Two consecutive home games have drawn near capacity crowds, so expect Neosho’s Bob Anderson Stadium to be rocking for the seven o’clock kickoff in this Central Ozarks Conference showdown.
The Wildcats enter action with a 2-1 record overall. First year Head Coach Jared Schoonover describes the 2010 football season as ‘not getting off to the best start’ against Bolivar in week one. The Wildcats turned the ball over five times in defeat to the Liberators. But two weeks of playing in the friendly confines of Anderson stadium has the Wildcats feeling things are on the right track after defeating Rogers (Ark) and fellow C.O.C. member Republic, respectively.
Schoonover says he is pleased with his team’s progression this season, but admits they have a ways to go still yet. Next step on Neosho’s progression is Webb City and the Wildcats are focused on the task at hand.
Priority one for the Wildcats is to slow down Webb City’s triple option attack, according to Schoonover. And for good reason, the Cardinals have produced impressive numbers early on this season. Starting tailback Maddy Johnson has amassed 372 yards rushing on only 25 attempts for a 14.88 yards per carry average. Quarterback Scott Roderique follows closely in averaging over 13 yards per carry. Defending the Cardinals potent running game starts up front but Schoonover has been pleased with the play from his defensive line this season.
On offense Neosho will try to find some holes in a stout Cardinals defense. “When I watch film I look for flaws in the defense we can exploit” Schoonover, who runs the Wildcat offense explains. “There are no real weak links and very few missed assignments” when watching film.
Although Schoonover feel his offensive line and running game is one of the strengths of his team, he believes balance is the key to moving the ball Friday night.
To be successful the Wildcats will also need to avoid a slow start and turnovers. Not only did this greatly contribute in the loss to Bolivar but even in victory last week against Republic the Wildcats were plagued by miscues before taking control of the game. Cleaning these things up combined with a solid, physical effort should lead to a close football game in the end. Staying close till the end and giving yourself an opportunity to win is all Schoonover can ask for.
Sat. Sept. 18, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
It was a full house at Bob Anderson Stadium in Neosho Friday night. This comes as no suprise as it was the site of the highly anticipated matchup between the Webb City Cardinals and Neosho Wildcats.
Neosho was coming off two big wins, however, Coach Schoonover has not been pleased with his squad's early turnovers and slow starts. He strongly emphasized to his team this week the need to correct these if they were to have a shot at beating a 'legitamate contender to win a state championship.'
Although getting the season off to a quick 3-0 start, Coach Roderique is not content with the Cardinals performance so far. With lopsided wins over Ozark, Willard and Branson, he has emphasized to his team that they 'have not played the top teams in the conference' yet, and for them to not be content with their performance. "I believe that as coaches... to be successful you've got to correct when you're doing well," said Coach Roderique regarding his teams progress this season.
Webb City won the coin toss but deferred. The Wildcats began their first possesion at their own 20 yard line following the opening kickoff, which was the first of many Chase Capron kicks that would land in the endzone Friday night. The Wildcats wanted to start fast and move the ball. Their first down play would bring a 9 yard run with the next run picking up a quick first down against the Cardinals defense. However, only 2 plays later Hunter Luna would recover a fumble to give Webb City increadible field position for their opening drive at the Neosho 21. After a 4 yard run by Maddy Johnson and a 10 yard penalty for an illegal helmet contact against the Wildcats, Webb City would now have a 1st and Goal at the 8. Johnson would get the Cardinals closer to the endzone with a 7 yard run. After Johnson was stood up on 2nd down, Christian Hoffman got the call to take the 1 yard carry for the first touchdown of the evening. With 8:11 in the first, Webb City had a 7-0 lead off of an early Neosho turnover.
The Next Wildcat possesion would only move backwards as the Cards D forced a 3-and-out giving the ball back to Webb City near midfield. After a Neosho penalty gave Webb City a first down Scott Roderique and Austin Daniel connected on a 40 yard pass play setting up the Cardinals offense at Neosho's 6 yard line. Slade Byford would score on a 6 yard run on the next play giving the Cards a 14-0 advantage with 5:02 left to play in the opening quarter.
Wanting to close the gap in the score, Neosho was able to put together a nice drive that would go 59 yards in 8 plays. With a 4th and 1 at the 21 yard line Neosho tried to pass for a first down. The Webb City defense prevented the pass forcing a QB scramble which would end short of the first down, giving the ball back to Webb City.
Early in the Second quarter Scott Roderique and Austin Daniel would connect again; this time for a 52 yard completion and a touchdown. Maddy Johnson would later carry the ball for a 64 yard score to give the Cardinals a 28-0 halftime lead.
With the Cardinals getting the ball first in the second half they wasted no time in getting Maddy Johnson the ball, which he again took to the endzone for another touchdown. With Alex Easley's PAT blocked by Neosho the score remained 34-0 in favor of Webb City.
But before the quarter would end Maddy Johnson would get to watch his little brother, Sophomore RB Phoenix Johnson take the ball down the field for a long touchdown run.
Neosho would put together a late 4th quarter drive to get in the endzone off of a 5 yard run, but missed the extra point. But, Byford would drive in the final nail with a late WC touchdown as 48-6 would be the final score and a Webb City Cardinal Victory.
Following the game Coach Schoonover was disappointed with the way his team turned the ball over and failed to move the ball. "We turned the ball over and got behind early, and that's just something you can't do against a team like Webb City," he lamented. He also thought it was "pretty evident" that the Cardinals played more physical and won the line of scrimmage. Coach John Roderique was pleased with the physicality and toughness that his team showed. He likes the improvement that the team has made, but there is still more than half a season left to go. One thing is for sure; 4-0 is a great way to start it.
Sat. Sept. 25, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
The Webb City Cardinals returned to their home stadium on Friday night with a 4-0 record after beating COC rival Neosho last week and looking to continue the trend. The Nixa Eagles, coming into the game at 3-1 after being defeated by Carthage the previous week. This game had been eagerly anticipated by Cardinal fans this week as Nixa, a playoff caliber Class 5 team in Missouri, would be expected to be Webb City's strongest test to this point in the season.
This point could be clearly seen by Webb City's first drive. With Nixa's opening kickoff resulting in a touchback, Webb City began at their own 20 yard line. Nixa's defense would prove strong early on, allowing the Cardinals to gain only one yard, forcing a three-and-out. “If we can stop them more times than they can stop us, I think we'll have a lot better chance,” said Coach Roderique just the night before. Surely, he was not liking what he was seeing on his team's first possession and was now expecting a stop from his defense.
The Eagles would begin their first drive on their own 29 yard line following the Cardinals punt. Nixa would show a steady passing attack gaining 5 yards on each of their first two plays and earning a first down. The next play, a reverse, made a nice gain but was called back on a holding penalty putting them in a first and 20. 3 plays later and 5 yards short of the first down, Nixa would punt the ball back to Webb City.
Webb City's next possession would see a gain of 20 total yards and a first down. But again, Webb City's punting team would take the field to give the ball back to Nixa.
With a defensive struggle early in the works, Nixa would again gain only 14 yards on 7 plays before being forced to punt. After getting the ball back, Webb City's offense would finally start to find a rhythm on a 7 play drive led by Slade Byford's 26 yards on 2 carries. But the Cardinals would find themselves staring at a fourth and 1 at the Nixa 32 yard line. Maddy Johnson would get the call and pick up the one yard as well as 31 extra yards as he took the ball for the ballgame's first score with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
Webb City's defense would hold Nixa to another three-and-out. On first down, Slade Byford would take the ball 42 yards, setting up a 26 yard scoring run by Maddy Johnson. With now only :57 in the first quarter, Webb took a 14-0 advantage.
Coach Roderique spoke highly of the Nixa team saying, “They're a team that... they make you earn everything you get.” While Webb City has thrived on the “big play” so far this season, Roderique didn't believe they would have that many opportunities for big plays against Nixa as he continued, “We're gonna have to learn to sustain a drive.”
Perhaps the Cardinals learned the 'sustained drive' technique on their first drive of the second quarter. After forcing Nixa to punt, Webb began on their own 44 with 9:40 left in the half. The Cardinals would take the ball 56 yards, taking 4:41 off the clock and capping it off with a 14 yard touchdown pass to Senior TE Nathan Price. With 4:49 left in the half Webb would go up 21-0.
Austin Daniel would get the interception on Nixa's next drive setting up Webb near midfield at their own 42. With Webb City choosing to go for it on a fourth and 5 around the 37 yardline, Maddy Johnson would get stood up in the backfield forcing a turnover on downs. Now, Nixa getting the ball at their 37 with 1:05 was hoping to get a quick score in before the half. They quickly and effectively moved the ball through the air until they found themselves in a fourth and 5 at Webb City's 23 with only 12 seconds left. The pass play would fail as Trey Tripp got the sack and gave the ball back to Webb with 5.2 seconds in the first half. Webb City would close out the half with a deep pass attempt to Jarvis Jones which fell incomplete. Webb would lead at the half 21-0
Nixa needed a spark at halftime. Special teams can create just such as spark. Who knows if they discussed that in the locker room at halftime, but surely Coach Roderique was thinking about it. He said earlier in the week regarding Nixa's special teams, “Their kickoff return is as good as anything, certainly, that we've seen so far.”
Nixa returned to the field in strong form as they returned the second half kickoff to the their 49 yardline. This could have been the spark needed as Webb was unable to stop their power running game as they used 4:21 of the third quarter on 9 plays resulting in a Nixa touchdown. (kick failed) The Eagles were now on the board with the score of 21-6.
Webb City would respond next by taking the ball 80 yards in 8 plays ending with a Slade Byford 2 yard touchdown run with 3:56 left in the third. Linebacker Christian Hoffman would end the third quarter with a huge sack for a loss of 10. This stopped the momentum that Nixa had built up on the drive as it helped bury them in a fourth and 20.
Webb City took over on downs with about eleven and a half minutes left in the game. The drive went 13 plays in nearly 5 and a half minutes and was capped off with a 7 yard TD run by QB Scott Roderique. During the drive Maddy Johnson went down on the field but was able to walk away under his own power. He did not return at RB and was replaced by Christian Hoffman.
In an attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of Nixa's dangerous return man, Alex Easley kicked the ball high and short giving the ball to the Eagles at their 46. They were able to turn this good field position into points 7 plays later. After the successful conversion the score was then 35-14 in favor of the Cardinals with 2:13 left in the game. This would be the final score as Webb would go on to win and earn a record of 5-0 overall as well as in the COC. Nixa falls to 3-2.
A twenty-one point margin of victory is something any team should be happy with, right? Webb City clearly dominated every aspect of this game... right?... Well, after the game, in the stands, on the field, on the net and where ever else Cardinal fans may have been the word to describe their play on Friday night was, “flat.” There were certainly a lot of good things to be proud of. There were also some glaring issues to be concerned about. What happened to the strong, dominant physical play like in Neosho last week? Is the pass defense in trouble? They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, but there were a lot of receivers left wide open in the secondary; something a team like Carthage may be able to exploit a little better. I saw a lot of “sure tackles” missed. They didn't seem to be wrapping up like they should. Can Webb City's starters last 48 minutes in a big game?
So, their play may not be perfect. But their record is. The regular season is half over and its about time for some of these things to start getting corrected in a hurry. But I look forward to seeing how this team improves under Coach Roderique and the rest of the Coaching staff. They have the proven experience and the know-how to get things done. The most we can do is just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Thurs. Sept. 30, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
Homecoming is an annual event where alumni return to their high school to socialize and catch up with fellow alumni. It's Homecoming in Webb City this week, and many former Webb City students will flock to Cardinal Stadium to celebrate Homecoming and watch the second ranked class 4 football team in action against Republic.
Although Republic Head Coach Kurt Thompson is not a graduate of WCHS, it's still a homecoming of sorts. Thompson patrolled the sideline as the Cardinal Head Coach in the early nineties, guiding the Cardinals to their second and third state titles in 1992 and 1993.
Coach Thompson and Coach Roderique also share a long past together that dated back to the mid-eighty’s. Both were All American linebackers at Pittsburg State University. Their careers overlapped in 1986 and 1987 forming one of the best linebacker tandems in Gorilla history. In 1987 each received All Conference honors.
Similar backgrounds brings a lot of similarity to Friday nights football game between Roderique's undefeated Cardinals and Thompson's 1-4 Tigers. “We have a lot in common as far as what we expect from out players and programs,” says Thompson.
Thompson's squad will also share a similar schemes as the Cardinals. After evaluating his current talent the decision was made to return to split back veer. “Were going to be running stuff very similar to what I ran when I first came to Webb City (as Head Coach)” Thompson said. He added, “We're very similar to what Webb City does now, except they run it a little faster than we do. From the outside looking in I see more overall team speed than in the past from watching film.”
The main concern for Thompson in defending the Cardinals is the above mentioned speed. “We have to limit the big plays.” Thompson adds, “When your running back (Maddie Johnson) is averaging over 11 yards per carry you have to be concerned with the big play capabilities.”
The Tigers disappointing 1-4 start hasn’t made Thompson lose sight of the overall picture. “We have three games at the end of the season we feel we can be competitive in,” referring to district competition that starts in a few weeks.
“We struggled from time to time to move the ball, and we have struggled to stop people on defense from time to time; that's not a good combination,” Thompson recalls. The tigers will use all opportunities to improve consistency as the season continues.
“We tell our kids every time we step out onto the practice field, 'lets go do something today to get better before walking back off.”
Sat. October 2, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
"Atmosphere, Aura, Magic...” These are words some might use to describe Cardinal Stadium. Friday night Cardinal Stadium surely lived up to that description. With the air getting cooler as Autumn settles in, it felt like a Homecoming evening. The stands were full as graduates from years past came back to relive the time they shared with former classmates, while the majority were simply there to root on their Football Cardinals. The evening began as Hailey Roderique, daughter of (Coach) John and Heather Roderique, was crowned as Homecoming Queen for the fall of 2010. She was escorted by Maddy Johnson; as it turns out, he can walk slowly when asked to do so. Former team-mates, long-time friends, fellow coaches and Legends of Webb City football looked on from opposite sidelines. Then the pre-game festivities came to a climactic conclusion as the trio of Screaming Eagles came parachuting onto the field!
While all of this could have been a full show in itself, there was more in store for these attendees. The next act began with Webb City's Chase Capron putting the ball in the endzone on the opening kickoff. Republic, starting at their own 20, would go three and out on their first drive with the exclamation point for Webb's defense being a third down sack by Hunter Luna. Republic would punt giving Webb the ball at the 50 following Maddy Johnson's return.
Webb began their first offensive drive by calling a reverse pass on the first play. Breckin Williams lined up on the far side, took the pitch as Roderique baited the defense to the left and Williams just overthrew Jarvis Jones deep over the middle. While the play was unsuccessful in gaining big yards it did set the tone for the Republic Defense for the evening. They now knew they had to keep on their toes against this Webb City offense. But Webb City soon had them back on their heels as they were facing a first and goal at the 2. Surprisingly, foregoing the run on first down, Scott Roderique dropped back and threw a perfect ball to Austin Daniel on a fade route for the first score of the night (8:41.)
Republic's next drive would then start at the Cardinal 13, but would again go three and out with yet another Hunter Luna third down sack. Webb City, starting at the Tiger 42, would again pass on first down; this time for 31 yards to Austin Daniel, setting up the Cardinals at the 11. On second down Slade Byford gets the call, but fumbles the ball into the endzone which was recovered by the Tigers for a touchback.
The Webb City defense would force the Tigers into another three and out to get the ball back at their own 38 yard line. On first and ten from the Tiger 49, Maddy Johnson took the ball and refused to be taken down, but finally broke free and then used his speed to get in for six.
Republic's next drive would consist of only 2 plays and would end in a Breckin Williams interception at the Republic 43. This drive for Webb City would also only consist of 2 plays. However, rather than ending in a turnover, this drive would end with a 34 yard touchdown run by Maddy Johnson.
Faced with a fourth and one on Republics next drive, the Webb City defense came up big forcing a turnover on downs and giving the ball back to their offense at the Republic 29 to begin the second quarter. With Slade Byford pulled from the game, possibly suffering a slight concussion, Christian Hoffman would join Maddy Johnson in the backfield. Together they took the ball the rest of the way down the field with Hoffman capping the drive with his 6 yard touchdown. The extra point kick bounced off the right upright making the score 27-0 with 10:12 left in the half.
Webb City would get the ball back, following another Republic three and out, at midfield where Maddy would now be joined in the backfield by his kid-brother, Phoenix who took the first play for 7 yards. Then older brother, Maddy, would take the ball 44 yards for the score.
As Webb City began to pull starters from the game and let the second string and underclassmen gain valuable game time experience, Repbulic was able to put together a very respectable drive as they would take the ball 80 yards in 13 plays over 5 minutes for a score. The 2 point conversion try failed. The Tigers were now on the board, but still trailing the Cardinals 34-6 with 2:08 left in the first half. Breckin Williams and Cooper Smith would keep the ball on the ground to run out the half.
Republic started the second half kicking off to Webb City with a high short kick returned by Christian Hoffman to the Cardinal 37. Another drive of big plays; this one was capped off by another 40 yard touchdown run by Maddy Johnson which also ended the scoring for the game. The remainder of the third and the fourth quarter ran out quickly leaving the final score 41-6 in favor of Webb City.
Webb City looked to be playing Friday night with much more intensity and physicality than they had in previous games. Defensively they had several hard hits and always seemed to be in the right spots. Maddy Johnson showed a toughness that had not been seen before as many of his long touchdown runs came off of broken, not missed, tackles and terrific moves to get out of the defenders' grasp, as well as impressive acrobatic moves to stay on his feet when he looked sure to go down. “I've showed everybody my speed,” Johnson said. “They called the plays up the middle... and I just followed the linemen.”
Coach Roderique seemed pleased overall with the performance and was especially proud of the team for showing such strong character and selflessness throughout the game.
I was also able to catch up with Coach Thompson after the game and here's what he had to say about being back at Cardinal Stadium again:
“It's a great place to play, great atmosphere, there's nothing like it. People show up early... There's an aura about coming and playing here, and... a magic that comes here that you don't realize when you're here, what all that's about. But, you better be pretty darn good if you're coming here to play in order to get a win. You know, they always say home field advantage is huge here. Well, they have a good football team which causes a lot of that, but it's a whole different deal when you come here.”
Sat. Oct. 9, 1020
WC Football Onlilne Staff
Forgive the 7&0 Webb City Cardinals if they savor this victory just a little longer than some this season. It was a hard fought battle against a very formidable opponent and after all, it is nearly a 2 ½ hour bus ride from Overland Park back home.
Seldom do games live up to the hype and expectations but this one was a back and forth, real nail-biter to the end. An old-fashioned, smash-mouth contest played on natural grass in front of an overflowing crowd and punctuated by homecoming activities. Two high-powered offenses were on display and it would be up to the defenses to see which could make the plays to swing the game in their favor.
Webb City would win the toss and defer to the second half. After the opening kick-off is sent deep into the end zone for a touchback, the Saints get things started from their own 20. Dagan Reed showed why he is a premier back as he gets the first three touches of the game including the initial 20 yard rush and an 18 yard pass reception from Richard Davila. On this drive, after converting on a 4th and 2 with a 4 yard QB keeper down to the 28 yard line, the Saints continue and move the ball quickly down to the Webb City 8. Looking poised to take the ball into the end zone, the Webb City defense stiffens and forces a 4th and 6 from the 9 when Coach Mike Thomas sends in the field goal unit to get the early 3 to 0 lead.
Phoenix Johnson would receive the kick and return it to the 24. The Webb City offensive line flexes its muscle on their first drive, opening holes for Phoenix and Maddy Johnson as they take turns running directly into the face of the Saint’s defense for chunks of yardage. After Scott Roderique hit Nathan Price for a 12 yard gain to the 28, it is Phoenix that scoots through the line and hurls himself into the secondary carrying tacklers to the 2 yard line. From there Maddy goes in standing up. Alex Easley coverts the PAT and Webb City takes a 7 to 3 lead.
Following another touchback, Davila shows his passing accuracy as he threads the needle to his receiver on the sideline, just out of the reach of a nearly perfectly positioned Webb City defender. He also has a big gain on a QB keeper and has his offense moving down the field once again. Unfortunately for the Saints, the drive stalls and more concerning for them is an apparent injury to Dagan Reed that will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the first half. The punt rolls to the Cardinal 11 where Webb City takes over.
After allowing a seemingly easy score their first time on the field, the Saints defense smells blood with the visiting team backed up near their own goal line. After holding the elder Johnson to a 3 yard gain and forcing an incomplete pass, the Aquinas defense gets the first turn over as they pounce on a fumbled ball at the Webb City 15. The Cardinal defense takes the field with determination and holds the Saints to a Pyle field goal while maintaining a slim lead of 7 to 6.
On the Cardinals next possession, the offense finds its stride again going 80 yard to pay dirt. The drive is highlighted by a 55 yard QB keeper on the option by Scott Roderique, a recovered fumble at the 10 of the Saints and a 10 yard touchdown run by the younger Johnson, improving the lead to 14 to 6.
The next Saint possession ends with a punt that rolls past the goal line and the Cardinal once again take over on their own 20. The final scoring drive for Webb City in the first half goes 80 yards. It is aided when the pitch to Maddy Johnson bounces off the ground and he is able to maintain control of the ball. Although this drive is primarily a ground attack, the final two plays are hook-ups from Roderique to Daniels. First on a pass to the 28 of the Saints and then Austin grabs the ball at the 4, breaks through a tackle and charges in for the 6. Easley’s PAT puts the Cardinals up 21 to 6.
Starting at their own 19, the Saints put their two-minute offense in motion. Using their spread formation, they work their way out to the 45 in just 6 plays. After an incomplete pass, a breakdown in the cardinal defense allows the speedy Shane Nackbar to get behind the D-backs and he races 55 yards for the Saints first touchdown of the night. The 2 point pass from Davila is good. The Saints pull within 7, going in at half with momentum and making the statement that they will be in this game to the end.
At half, the defensive coaches for both teams make their adjustments. Each team’s first two possessions are met by the defenses and held without a first down. Aquinas however, wins the field position battle and on 4th and 2 from Webb City’s 32, Coach Thomas once again sends in the field goal unit and Pyle puts his leg in a 49 yarder. It is long and straight pulls the Saints within four.
The Saints defense holds Webb City to yet another 3 and out and Nackbar returns the punt to the Cardinal 35. The Saints use 7 plays to move the ball to the 10. Pyle comes in and booms another FG and the Cardinal lead is a mere 21 to 20.
The ensuing kick return is taken by Jarvis Jones and returned to the 22. The offense gets an initial first down but then sputters and sets up a 3rd and 12. A key completion to Daniels for 17 yards keeps the drive alive. Phoenix sticks a couple of physical runs of 8 and 10 yards up the middle, then Maddy bounces a run outside where he jukes a would-be tackler into a heap, leaving him untouched at that point for a big gain down to the 2 yard line. Maddy scores on the next play and the lead is 8.
As Aquinas is attempting to match that score, Austin Daniel makes the most spectacular defensive play of the Cardinal’s season as he plays the receiver perfectly, goes up in the air and snatches the ball from his opponents grasp for the interception at the Cardinal 22 yard line. Aquinas is then set to show the tenacity that brought them into this game undefeated and ranked 5th in Kansas Class 5A. The Saints defense forces a 3 and out and a Cardinal punt. Aquinas moves the ball down the field and when faced with a 4th and 2 from the 12 yard line, Davila drops back to pass and is met with heavy pressure. The QB tucks the ball and slips 3 tackles, refusing to be stopped until he has placed the ball within one foot of the goal line. Davila sneaks it in on the next play. The Saint’s attempt to tie the game is thwarted as the Cardinal defense stops the 2 point pass play. With 3:47 left in the game the quick-strike Aquinas Saints are only down 28 to 26.
With 10 of the “Hands” players protecting against the on-side, Aquinas elects to bounce the Kick down field. Jarvis Jones is able to return the ball to his own 35. The Cardinals go back to work, showing why they came into the game sporting an undefeated record and ranked 2nd in Missouri Class 4. The offense, after having limited second half success, puts together a string of 4 to 8 yard runs by Phoenix and Maddy Johnson that takes them down to the Aquinas 26 yard line. From there, on a second and 6 play, Christian Hoffman bulls up the middle, veers to his right and takes it the distance. Needing only the PAT to effectively put this one away, the Saints block the attempt and stay within one score for their talented offense and 48 ticks remaining on the game clock.
Chase Capron helps the Cardinal’s cause by booming a Kick into the end zone for a touchback. The Saint’s take the field thinking of getting this game into OT. Those thoughts are vanquished when Breckin Williams seals the deal with an interception and returns it to the 6. Scott Roderick and the offense take the field one last time for a snap in the “Victory” formation.
The Webb City Cardinals road does not get any easier as they travel to Carthage next week, starting district play, to take on the undefeated Tigers.
Sat. Oct. 16, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
A solid, well coached line; a high powered offense; a tough, physical and disciplined defense; a smart athletic quarterback; a dangerous running back; in general, a really good football team.
Now the question is, are we talking about the Webb City Cardinals or the Carthage Tigers. It seems that description would fit both teams very well.
Friday night, October 15, was a date that no doubt was circled on many calendars as the Webb City Cardinals were scheduled to visit their long time rival and Conference foe Carthage Tigers. This game is anticipated every year, even before the schedules come out, and this year was certainly no different. In fact, anticipation only grew each week as each team added another convincing win to their respective record. Week 8 rolls around with both teams entering District play at 7-0 and a conference title on the line.
While much of the focus had been on the high powered offenses that this game would bring, it would become clear early on that the key to this game would be defense. Carthage forced Webb City to punt on their opening possession. Carthage moved backwards on their first possession after penalties and a huge third down sack by Sophomore Dalton Humphrey. This set up a major special teams play as Webb City would block the ensuing punt and get on the board first as Collin Sigars would recover and run it in for the score. (7:22) The point after attempt was blocked by Carthage.
A big special teams play can be just the thing to create a spark for the whole team. While Webb City usually feels confident in the return game, Coach Roderique did add, “We’ve tried to be a little more aggressive on the punt block this year. That’s the first one we’ve blocked this season. We work at it every week… and we were able to convert it into a score.”
The Tiger’s already stiff defense showed they came to play early in the 2nd quarter when facing a Webb City 4th and Goal at the 4. Maddy Johnson got the call, but was stopped for no gain and Carthage took over. Webb and Carthage would trade huge defensive stands throughout the 2nd quarter including a third and short, and a fourth and 1 foot for the Webb City defense and a fourth and 4 and a fourth and 1 foot for the Carthage defense. “We had a couple big stops; even a fourth and short once or twice… we stopped them,” said Coach Roderique. He went on to say, “It’s kind of a chess match. They do a phenomenal job coaching their kids. I’ve always felt our coaches do a very good job. We were fortunate to get some stops.”
In all, the 2nd quarter saw a total of four 4th down attempts with the first successful conversion being a 1 yard dive by Cardinal Quarterback Scott Roderique. This set up a first down toss to Jarvis Jones who would take the ball 32 yards for the touchdown. Adding Scott Roderique’s 2 point conversion run made the score 14-0 with 3:38 in the first half.
The following drive for Carthage would also lead them to a 4th and inches, which was picked up by Poston. Two plays later, this would lead to a 25 yard pass in the endzone for the first Carthage score of the night just before the half.
No, that last part wasn’t from last week’s story, but it sure does sound familiar. Coach Roderique also thought it was all too familiar.
“It really felt a lot like last week. We were up two scores, we gave up and easy one; not as easy as (Aquinas,) that (tonight) was a phenomenal throw and catch. But it was the same kind of feeling.
“We kinda hung our heads, and sometimes you gotta remind those guys, ‘Hey, we’re still winning the ballgame here. We’re still up by 7, and if we can win the second half we win the ballgame,’” said Roderique.
With only 1:18 in the half, Webb City would take the kickoff and try to get a score going into halftime. They drove down the field into Carthage territory only to throw an interception with 10 seconds left. The Cardinals would go into the locker room with a 14-7 halftime lead.
The second half started with Carthage taking the kickoff and driving into Cardinal territory. But the drive was thwarted by a Brian Poston fumble recovered by Webb City.
The Cardinals took the ball deep into Carthage territory and looked poised to score until the pitch between Roderique and Johnson fell to the ground and then later a sack on Roderique put the Cardinals in a 4th and 20 situation. The pass to Austin Daniel fell short and Carthage got the ball back at their own 25.
There would be no scoring in the 3rd quarter, but Carthage was taking advantage of a Cardinal fumble, moving the ball down the field to open the 4th quarter at Webb City’s 20 yard line. Webb City’s defense held on 4th and 11 when Scott Roderique blitzed out of his ROLB position to get the sack and the turnover on downs. Again likening the game to a chess match Coach Roderique said, “You make the right call at the right time, you know, you blitz the guy and he gets the quarterback.”
Webb would take the ball 69 yards in nearly 4 ½ minutes for a Jamison Cady score from 2nd and goal at the 1 with 6:43 left in the game.
Carthage responded by returning the kickoff to the Webb City 23 yard line and scoring 6 plays later on a 3rd and goal from the 2. (kick failed)
Now comes the difficult decision for Carthage: onside or kick it deep? They chose to trust in their defense to get the ball back. And why not? The Tiger defense had played stellar all night. But the Cardinal offense was now determined to run the clock. The final drive saw Maddy and Phoenix Johnson, Roderique and Cady keep the ball moving on the ground until Roderique took a knee to end the game. Webb City wins it 21-13.
With all the talk about the high powered offenses this game would feature, it was really the defenses that flexed their muscles. And with all the talk of each teams leading rushers, Johnson and Poston, they both were kept relatively quiet. Oh, sure they both had their moments of brilliance, but both defenses really kept things in check most of the night.
After the game, Webb’s players looked a little down for having just beat the #4 ranked team in the state and winning a conference championship. Coach Roderique commented, “Seems we’re a little too… think we have to be perfect all the time, and maybe we can’t appreciate some of the things… But I feel very fortunate to beat a great football team, because they are a great team. It’s like I told our kids, I said, you know it looked like they were hanging their heads after the game, ‘Don’t apologize guys. I mean, that’s the way those games go when you’ve got good teams playing each other.’”
One thing Webb can really be proud of though is their defensive performance. They were able to hold a Carthage offense that normally scores over 40 points a game to 13 points and held the team to 212 total yards. Coach Roderique had this to say about his defense, “You know, 13 points, that offense is pretty special… Can’t say enough about our defense and how they played.”
Sat. Oct. 23, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
After two straight weeks of very challenging road games Webb City finally returned home, with season record remaining unblemished, to host McDonald County Friday night in District action. The steadily improving Mustangs came into the game with two consecutive victories, including a district win over Carl Junction last week. The Cardinals, still riding the momentum of a huge win against Carthage last week as well as winning the COC crown, look to take another step toward clinching the district and home field advantage in the playoffs.
If there has ever been any question about Webb City’s depth at running back, Friday night surely gave a satisfying answer. Of the 6 players taking handoffs, 5 made it to the end zone. Add to that Austin Daniel’s 2 touchdown receptions and a pick-6 and you’ve got a ballgame overflowing with action.
Slade Byford was the first to get into the end zone with his 31 yard TD run with 9:52 in the first quarter. Still in the first quarter, Scott Roderique and Austin Daniel would connect twice for scores. The first was a quick hitch route to Daniel who then shook off a couple of would-be tacklers to take the ball the rest of the 38 yards for the score. (8:10) The second was a 20 yard strike after Daniel beat the one on one coverage and pulled in Roderique’s pass in the end zone. (2:31) At the end of one quarter Webb led 21-0.
Going back to the ground in the second quarter, Jamison Cady found the endzone on a 28 yard run with 6:33 left in the half. Later, with 2:51 remaining in the half, Phoenix Johnson would outrun the Mac County defense on a 41 yard touchdown run.
Coming into the second half with a 35-0 lead, Webb City wasted absolutely no time putting more distance between themselves and their opponent when Maddy Johnson took the first play from scrimmage 79 yards for a Cardinal touchdown. (11:25) Less than two minutes later the Mustangs were trying to make something happen with their passing game when Austin Daniel grabbed the interception and took it the distance for his third score of the night. (9:57)
A third quarter lead of 48-0 meant more substitutes coming in for Webb City which was good news for McDonald County. They took advantage by putting together a drive that spanned 8:03 of the third and fourth quarters and went 86 yards for their only score of the game on a 13 yard touchdown run. This made it 48-7 Webb with 9:37 left in the game.
The final score came with 2:45 left in the game as junior Marcus Kyle ran the ball 53 yards for the score. Webb City would go on to win it by the final score of 55-7.
With Victories over Carthage and McDonald County, both of whom have defeated Carl Junction, Webb City clinched the district and look forward to more home games during the early part of the post-season.
The Cardinal Defense once again made an impressive showing, allowing a total of 127 yards, 86 of which came on one drive against the second team defense. Coach Roderique commented on the defense after the game, “Our first (defensive) unit’s really playing with a lot of confidence, seems like more recently… We’ve got a lot of personnel we can play with on defense.”
To add to it all, it was also senior night. Coach Roderique recalls seeing these kids playing in youth football and has now watched them grow into young men. “Senior night… It’s kind of an emotional night, you know... You walk down there and see all those seniors, and… I tried to shake all the parents’ hands and tell them thanks. But, it was a good night. The kids came out and played hard and did a good job,” said Coach Roderique.
Fri. Oct. 29, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
Coming into Thursday night’s game at Carl Junction the 9-0 Cardinals had the district championship locked up. Win or lose, the Cardinals are playing at home next Wednesday night. This may cause some teams to come out flat and lack intensity needed for a victory. It would be clearly seen early on that this was not the case for this Webb City team.
No matter how seemingly unimportant a game may be, Coach Roderique and the coaching staff always do a great job in preparing the kids to play their best.
Said Coach Roderique after the game, “I felt like our guys were really focused and really came out and played well. You can tell a lot about the maturity level of your players... how they handle a situation.”
Coach Roderique was impressed overall with the performance of his team noting that they played hard and were getting off the ball very well. He continued, “We had a really good week of practice… really good focus tonight and really came out with some emotion and enthusiasm and really excited about playing.”
The Cardinals did not waste much time in showing that they showed up to play. Webb City’s first possession went 40 yards in less than a minute as Phoenix Johnson was the first of the night to get into the endzone on a 13 yard run to give Webb City the first quarter lead. (10:06)
Austin Daniel would make it 13-0 with a 15 yard catch and run from Scott Roderique. (4:51) The conversion pass was intercepted after the extra point snap was fumbled.
Webb City’s third drive belonged to QB Scott Roderique as he would throw for 25 yards to Austin Daniel and Jarvis Jones and then a 15 yard option keep for a touchdown. (1:18) The first quarter ended with Webb on top 20-0.
The second play of the second quarter had Carl Junction facing a 4th and 3. The 4th down pass was intercepted by Andrew Pisechko who then ran it all the way back for the score making it 27-0. (10:57)
Scott Roderique would score again on a 5 yard run (6:18) while Christian Hoffman would dominate the final drive of the half before taking it in 6 yards as time expired. At the halfway point, Webb City led 41-0.
The Cardinal defense allowed only 35 yards in the first half, while the Cardinal offense was able to rack up 204 rushing yards in the two quarters. The passing game was also quite impressive early on as Scott Roderique went 7 of 7 for 99 yards in the first half. While Austin Daniel distinguished himself as the primary receiver with 4 receptions, passes were also completed to Nathan Price (TE), Jarvis Jones and Breckin Williams.
Coach Roderique was pleased with the passing game since it has been an aspect that he has felt has been lacking throughout the season. “We’re not going to throw the ball 60 times a game but when we do we’ve got to have a high percentage… You gotta keep sharp on all those things,” Coach Roderique said.
With the subs in and the mercy clock rolling, the second half moved very quickly. It seemed that the Bulldogs were putting a drive together until it was abruptly ended by an interception by Junior Brent Greek. The Cardinals would turn it into points 7 plays later when Phoenix Johnson took the ball 22 yards for the score with 55 ticks left in the third quarter.
The 4th quarter began much the same way the 3rd quarter ended; with an interception by Brent Greek and then a touchdown run. This time it was Cooper Smith who ran it in from 1 yard out to make it 55-0
Webb City went on to win by the final score of 55-0.
While it is clear that Webb City has quality starters, this game also showcased the depth that Webb City has in all positions. 8 running backs carried the ball Thursday, including Freshman Trey Parra who made his debut on the varsity squad. One has to be impressed with the play of the younger kids and look to the future of Webb City football with bright optimism.
Besides achieving a perfect 10-0 regular season record, Thursday night’s win also tied the state record for consecutive regular season wins with 71. But it looks like we’ll have to wait ‘till 2011 to break it.
Another game of interest was the district 12 match-up Jefferson City Helias and Bolivar. The winner, Helias will host Carthage while the runner-up, Bolivar will come to Webb City Wednesday night.
As many of you are already aware, the Webb City players and coaches, as well as the community, lost a family member this past week. Darrell Hicks SR, Cardinal football stat keeper and friend, passed away Friday afternoon. Coach Roderique commented on the loss, “Darrell Hicks was one of those guys that if you knew him you liked him. He never complained about anything… was just happy to be around kids… He was one of those guys that always picked you up… Always positive and really made you feel good.”
Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
As good as the Webb City Cardinals have looked in the closing weeks of the 2010 football season it’s hard to imagine that they could look any better in the opening round of playoff action. But on Wednesday night, they did just that. The Cardinals came home this week with their perfect 10-0 regular season record and a #2 Class 4 state ranking to host the #3 ranked, 9-1, Bolivar Liberators coming off their only loss to Jefferson City Helias last week.
With the wind gusting out of the North, Webb City chose to defer their winning coin toss and elected to go with the wind to start the ball game.
Maddy Johnson drew first blood early in the opening quarter with a 24 yard touchdown run capping a 33 second, 44 yard opening offensive drive for the Cardinals. (9:43)
With Webb City getting the ball in good field position on the next drive Scott Roderique would take it himself on a 29 yard run setting up the Cardinals with a first down inside the 10. It would take all 4 downs, but eventually Maddy Johnson would take it in for the score on a 1 yard 4th down dive doubling the Cardinals lead over Bolivar 14-0. (5:48)
Bolivar’s next drive was a long drive, starting at their own 20, getting deep into Cardinal territory. But it was a 4th and 5 play from the 15 that set up the play of the game as Austin Daniel stepped in front of the the receiver to make the interception and then took it 92 yards for a touchdown. (1:36) Perhaps even more spectacular than Daniel’s play was the block made downfield by Phoenix Johnson. Coach Roderique told Austin Daniel, “You should probably take Phoenix out for an ice cream cone.” Indeed, it was a very heads-up play and good hustle by the younger Johnson to turn what would have been a very long return into 6 points.
Early in the second quarter the Cardinals drove the ball to the Liberator 9 yard line. Scott Roderique tossed it to TE Phillip Donna who came down with the ball in spite of a pass interference to give the Cardinals a 27-0 lead after the extra point try was blocked by Bolivar. (9:29)
Once again the Webb defense held, forcing a three and out giving them good field position at their own 44. A few plays later, Austin Daniel made one of his best plays of the year. Trying to contain Daniel, Liberator defenders hanging all over him drew flags. With a terrific effort, Austin was able to make the catch and break free from the Liberators’ grasp and run the rest of the 39 yards for his second score of the night. (6:04)
Austin Daniel would continue his dominance on defense with the next Bolivar drive with a second interception of the night setting up the Cardinal offense at the Liberator 49. Scott Roderique would now take over as he took the first play 47 yards setting up a 1st and 2. Maddy Johnson took it in on the next play (4:47) to make it 41-0 at the half.
Maddy Johnson would score again in the opening drive of the 3rd quarter on a 63 yard run. Bolivar would go on to score twice in the second half including a TD run on the final play of the game as time expired. (The extra point try was not attempted since the game was over.)
Coach Roderique was pleased with the teams overall performance on Wednesday night. He commented after the game, “It was probably a lot more than what I expected certainly. We looked up at that scoreboard… 41 points at halftime… I didn’t expect that at all. But we were fortunate with turnovers, field position, that wind was a factor early; so all those things helped us.
“For a half, we’re not 41 points better than Bolivar, it’s just… everything kinda went our way in that first half.”
The entire team seems to be getting progressively better with each passing game. Some players are standing out more than others. The beginning of the season seemed like not much more than the Maddy Johnson show, and for good reason as he was usually getting over 15 yards per carry. As the season goes on we are able to see other players really emerge to form a complete team. Maddy shows no signs of letting up as he quietly scored 4 touchdowns Wednesday night but one has to be impressed with the depth of the running back position. Defenders are making huge plays. Austin Daniel has achieved Superstar status in the last several weeks on both sides of the ball. And who has made bigger strides this season than the Quarterback? Scott Roderique started out the season running the option much to the satisfaction of his coach. And his skill at the position has only become greater leaving Coach Roderique with only great things to say about him. After Wednesday night’s game Coach Roderique said about his quarterback, “Scott’s a tremendous competitor. He does most everything right. I got on him one time (tonight.) I got on him for throwing a touchdown pass because I thought he should have gone the other way with it. He’s he guy… you want the ball in his hands every snap as the QB… And also a tremendous kid, great character.”
Webb City travels to Jefferson City Monday night to take on Helias in the State Sectional playoffs.
Sun. Nov. 7, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
Four loss teams are rarely considered as serious championship contenders. Helias Head Coach Chris Hentges sees things differently, and for good reason. After playing a tough schedule which includes three class 6 teams and two class 4 teams currently participating in the MSHSAA playoffs, Coach Hentges sees the losses as a strength to prepare his team for the play-offs.
“We wanted to toughen it (the 2010 schedule) up and we did, and some people thought we were crazy” Hentges recalls. “We thought we had a good team and the right kind of kids to take on a challenge like this. Coming into districts we felt really good about how we had had tested ourselves and prepared ourselves and felt we were ready for the challenges the play-offs were going to take.”
Ready they were as the Crusaders ran through district play including a home victory over Boliver who was then undefeated and ranked third in Class 4.
The regular season gauntlet Helias played will no doubt help them retain focus and intensity. “Its been a challenging schedule each and every week, with no breathers on our schedule.” Hentges comments. “We have a group of resilient kids that are very focused and determined.”
Focus and determination was evident Wednesday night as Helias disposed of Cardinal rival Carthage 34-13 in the opening round of the MSHSAA play-offs to earn the right to host Webb City in Monday night's scheduled 7:00 kickoff at Jefferson City’s newly renovated Atkins Stadium.
The Webb City program is no stranger to Helias even thought Helias formerly participated on the east bracket of the MSHSAA play-off format. The Cardinals last state championship in 2008 came at the expense of Hentges' Crusaders.
Helias is looking to return to the Dome in St. Louis for the third straight season, after falling to Kearney last year. A state championship is most defiantly a goal for the two time defending state runners-up.
“Thats a goal for each and every program is to earn the opportunity to play for a state championship and ultimately win a state championship.” Hentges says. “ We’ve been close!”
With a loaded west half of the play-off bracket Hentges is aware of the challenges that lay ahead for his team to reach the goal of a state title. “We know its a huge challenge for us to reach the pinnacle, which we want to do here, it goes through Webb City, it goes through Kearney. Hentges says. “We have won a lot of respect for the Helias program over the past two years but we know to win the ultimate respect we have to beat both those programs."
Sun. Nov. 14, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
The 11-1 Union Wildcats came into town, bringing a very respectable crowd with them, to face the 12-0 Webb City Cardinals at Cardinal Stadium Saturday afternoon in State Quarterfinal playoff action.
A typical script for a Webb City football game usually begins with a 3-and-out by the defense forcing a punt to set up the offense to march down the field and score to take an early first quarter lead. This week’s story would play out just as written.
Webb City began their first possession at their own 21 after a Union punt. With 5 plays, including a 37 yard reception by Austin Daniel, the Cardinals would go up 7-0 following a 33 yard run by Maddy Johnson. (8:52)
Webb City wasted no time on their second drive as Breckin Williams would again find Austin Daniel on first down, this time for 45 yards and a second Cardinal score. (7:37)
Union next put together a 12 play, 55 yard drive down to the Cardinal 25 yard line. Webb City held on fourth down to get the ball back. 10 plays and 75 yards later Maddy Johnson was going in for his second touchdown of the day on a 9 yard run to make it 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After another 3-and-out by the Wildcats, Webb City took the ball backed up at their own 10. On first down Breckin Williams tossed the ball to Jarvis Jones along the sideline. The defender was able to makeup ground to get his hands on the ball, but the tip drill paid off as Jones was able to haul it in and run before being taken down for a 55 yard gain. After a couple of solid runs by Jamison Cady, Webb City was in a first and goal situation at the 8. It would take all four downs before Breckin Williams would cross the goal line on a 3 yard keep to go up 28-0. (7:11)
Another punt by the Wildcats would pin the Cardinals deep in their own territory, this time at their own 2. Mixing up a good balance of run and pass, the Cardinals would take the ball the 98 yards on 9 plays taking up nearly 4 minutes. Maddy Johnson scored with a run of 26 yards to end the drive. (2:19)
Webb City’s first half performance was impressive on both sides of the ball. However, there were some glaring mistakes which Coach Roderique was not happy about. In the first half the Cardinals’ offense committed 5 penalties for 30 yards.
“We talked about that at halftime,” said Coach Roderique. “We played pretty well, but the negative things were the penalties. You gotta be able to clean those up. That puts us in a bind; starting out second 2nd and 16 or 2nd and 20… That’s a tough hole to dig out of.”
To start the second half, Union tried to get some momentum going with the special teams unit by recovering an onside kick. The wildcats started the half inside Cardinal territory near midfield. The drive would be thwarted however, by Austin Daniel’s second pick of the afternoon. Coach Roderique commented on Austin Daniel’s play, “He’s really been on the terror here the last few weeks… stepping in front of those passes and making plays. He’s come a long way as a defensive back. He’s been a good receiver for us for 3 years. Certainly, we’re gonna miss him when he’s gone.”
The very next play after the interception, Breckin Williams found Austin Daniel who was able to dodge defenders and eventually win a footrace to the endzone for a 64 yard touchdown catch and run ending the scoring for the Cardinals at 42-0 early in the third quarter. (9:45)
Union’s next drive was able to find some holes in the Webb City defense driving 75 yards. At this point the Webb D stiffened to stop a fourth down attempt at the 1 yard line.
Early in the fourth quarter Union’s quarterback Chris Slaughter was able to find Bryan Schaefer for 23 yards to score the Wildcats only touchdown of the day. (11:25)
With the mercy clock running, the rest of the fourth quarter ran out quickly. Webb City went on to win by the final score of 42-7.
Webb City had a total 507 yards, 278 rushing and 229 passing while the defense held Union to 69 rushing yards and 226 passing. Maddy Johnson had 12 carries for 122 yards and 2 TDs. Austin Daniel had 4 catches for 162 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. Quarterback Breckin Williams was 6 of 9 for 229 yards with 2 TDs and also rushed for 69 yards on 10 carries and 1 TD.
Union Head Coach Brent Eckley ends the season very proud of the job his kids have done this season. Although the Wildcats had suffered a loss during the season, “This was the first loss all season we got handled,” Eckley said. He continued, “We were out-coached as well. Their players executed on the field.” But he holds no ill will towards the Cardinals as they continue their season competing for a state title adding, “We’ll be rooting for Webb the whole way.”
Tues. Nov. 9, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
If you were a Cardinal fan walking into Adkins Stadium or tuning in your radio for the Webb City/Helias game on Monday night you may have had feelings of anticipation and an anxious uneasiness. If so, you were not alone. While most Webb City fans had great confidence in the Cardinal team coming into Monday’s showdown, they also realized the immense task that lay ahead of them.
Helias came into the game with a 7-4 record. But no one was laughing at that record considering the brutal schedule they played. Of the four losses, two came from Missouri Class 6 teams, Francis Howell and Columbia Hickman, as well as Class 4 District 13 Champion Hannibal. The Crusaders also fell to the Notre Dame Quincy Raiders who are currently advancing through the Illinois Playoff brackets. Noteworthy also were the Crusaders’ victories including wins over Class 4 playoff qualifying and state ranked teams Harrisonville, Bolivar and Carthage as well as a victory over Class 6 Columbia Rock Bridge.
Part of what makes Helias so scary is their ability to shut down a running game and a Spread Offense with the ability, and tendency, to strike big at a moments notice, thus controlling the momentum of a game. Coach Hentges acknowledged that the road to the Dome ‘goes through Webb City.’ Likewise, Webb City understands that the road for them goes through Jefferson City Helias.
A respectable Webb City crowd was on hand Monday night in Jefferson City as Webb City’s Chase Capron put the opening kickoff in the endzone making Helias start at their 20 yard line. Webb City forced a 3 and out, although Helias first attempted a fake punt which was called back on a holding penalty.
Webb City started their first drive at the Crusader 42 and gave the Helias defense a steady dose of Scott Roderique and the Johnson brothers as they kept all 9 plays on the ground until Maddy Johnson took it in from 1 yard out to put the Cardinals up 7-0. (5:34)
The next Helias drive took them to their own 48 brining up a 3rd and 7 when Sophomore Dalton Humphrey reached Helias quarterback Zack Rockers for the sack forcing a punt.
The Cardinals next score came early in the second quarter when Maddy Johnson broke free for a 60 yard sprint to put Webb up by 14. (8:21)
If the Crusaders were going to keep Webb from getting out of reach, now would be the time for their big play offense to go to work. It wouldn’t be easy as Chase Capron would again pin them at their 20 with another touchback. Led by Senior quarterback Zack Rockers, with a 22 yard reception by TE Zack Steck and a 40 yard pass from RB Greg Lorang to Andrew Stiles, the Crusaders would pull within 7 after a 3 yard scoring run from Lorang. (8:21)
On the ensuing kickoff returned by Jarvis Jones, Helias’ coverage team was able to force the ball from Jones’ grasp and recover it at Webb City’s 29 yard line setting them up for a great opportunity to tie the game before the half. However, the Crusaders were unable to capitalize as the Webb defense stiffened not allowing any yardage. The Cardinals would get the ball back on downs after 4 unsuccessful passing attempts including 2 deflections by Scott Roderique and another 4th down sack by Phillp Donna and Dalton Humphrey.
The Cardinals next put together a drive that lasted 13 plays and took 6:45 off the clock. Then on 4th and goal at the 3 Scott Roderique kept the ball but was stopped 1 foot short of the goal line giving Helias the ball with a very long field and very little time. Webb City forced Helias to punt as time expired with Webb City up 14-7 at the half.
Webb City received the ball to start the second half and would be looking to create some separation. However, on the first play from scrimmage Roderique fumbled the exchange with Maddy Johnson and the Crusaders defense jumped on it at the Webb City 31, again putting them in great position to tie the game. The Cardinal defense would again deny the Crusaders of a score forcing Helias to turn the ball over on downs at the 5 yard line.
Webb City turned the ball over twice in the game, giving Helias great field position. But the Crusaders were unable to turn those Cardinal turnovers into points. Commenting on how his defense was able to avoid disaster, Coach Roderique stated, “Sometimes you just get lucky.” But giving credit to the coaching staff and players he went on to add, “It’s just coaches doing a great job having the kids prepared and kids stepping up and overcoming those mistakes.”
Webb City would start their next drive at the 20 after the Helias punt went for a touchback with Breckin Williams under center. It was reported that Scott Roderique had suffered a sprained ankle near the end of the Cardinals previous drive. Coach Roderique would show his confidence in the Junior Quarterback with the first play being a pass attempt to Jarvis Jones that fell incomplete. Again going to the air on the next play Williams would find Austin Daniel who then outran the defense for an 80 yard touchdown catch and run putting the Cardinals up 21-7 in the 3rd quarter. (3:08)
“This is a strength for him”, said Coach Roderique of Breckin Williams. “He’s a good passer.
“Honestly we probably waited too long to air it out a little bit,” he continued. “That was a great play; Austin Daniel catching the ball on our sideline and just to get the ball into the endzone. That was a tremendous play.”
The Helias special teams would go to work on the ensuing kickoff as Brendan Roberts returned the kickoff to mid-field. Helias would go the 50 yards in a 3 minute scoring drive ending with a touchdown dive by Lorang on 3rd and inches. (0.4 seconds) Helias pulled to within a score of the Cardinals at the end of the quarter with the score 21-14.
Maddy Johnson opened the 4th quarter with a 35 yard run setting up the Cardinals at the Crusader 27 yard line. On a 4th and 6 from the 23 Coach Roderique chose to go for it rather than attempting a long field goal. Sophomore Phoenix Johnson got the call and took it 9 yards to the 14, earning the Cards a first down. On the next play, Williams would again connect with Austin Daniel for his second touchdown making it 28-14. (10:38)
Helias was unable to gain yardage on the next drive and was forced to punt. Webb City would then take 4:15 off the clock as they took the ball 71 yards in 10 plays with Maddy Johnson capping it with a 2 yard scoring run making it 35-14 with 4:43 left in the ballgame.
Helias’ onside kick attempt would fail when it was touched by a Crusader player before going 10 yards. Webb took the ball near mid-field where they began to run down the clock. Helias would get the ball once more, but again turning it over on downs.
With Breckin Williams being temporarily sidelined after a vicious collision with Helias receiver Brandon Erwin, Scott Roderique stepped back into the lineup. Williams returned to run out the clock as Webb City took the victory by the final score of 35-21.
When asked about the offensive success that the Cardinals had Monday night he gave the credit to the line saying, “We talk to the offensive line all the time about putting the ball game in their hands” Roderique says. “Certainly tonight they were the difference in the ball game.”
The Cardinals return home to host Union in Quarterfinal action Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 in the afternoon at Cardinal Stadium.
Sun. Nov. 21, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
The 2010 Football Cardinals have done it again. They have earned the right to travel to St. Louis and play in the Edward Jones Dome for a chance to bring home another State Title. First, they had to stop in Harrisonville on Saturday they to face a Wildcats team who was also looking to win another championship.
One of the story lines coming into the contest was the defensive play of both teams. This story line would continue on through the end of the first half.
On the first play from scrimmage, Webb City’s Breckin Williams threw a pass that was intercepted by Harrisonville’s Senior Linebacker Kyle Livingston which was returned to the Webb City 13. But the Wildcats were only able to gain 4 yards until the effort was halted on a third down fade pass which was intercepted by Austin Daniel for a touchback.
Webb City regained possession at the 20 yard line. 8 plays later the Cardinals were faced with a 4th and 6 on Harrisonville’s 36 when Breckin Williams threw the ball deep along the sideline which was caught by Austin Daniel. Held up by the defender who only had a hold of one shoe, Daniel fought to break free but was hit from behind by two more Wildcat defenders forcing a fumble where the Wildcats recovered at their own 6.
Defenses would continue to hold for the remainder of the first quarter and into the second quarter as both teams traded punts and turned the ball over on downs.
Into the second quarter, after holding the Wildcats on a fourth down deep in Cardinal territory, Webb City took over at their own 15. Powered by a consistent running attack led by Jamison Cady and two receptions by Austin Daniel of 34 and 26 yards, Maddy Johnson was able to get into the endzone from 11 yards out to get the first score of the game. Alex Easley’s kick gave Webb City the 7-0 lead with 5:24 remaining in the half.
Not only did that scoring drive give Webb City valuable points, but it was also a historic drive in Webb City history as Austin Daniel became the first player to ever gain 1,000 yards receiving for Webb City.
The teams went into the locker room at halftime with Webb City up by only 7 points. The Harrisonville Defense was able to hold the Cardinals explosive ground attack to 69 yards, including Maddy Johnson’s 7 carries for 26 yards. The Cardinals were able to gain 113 yards through the air in the first half for a total of 182 yards offensively. Webb City held the Wildcats to only 59 yards through the first half.
Harrisonville received the kickoff to start the second half. After gaining a couple of first downs they were forced to punt the ball back to Webb City. Webb City then took it 66 yards in only 4 plays when Maddy Johnson took the pitch to get outside and score from 48 yards out putting the Cardinals up by 2 scores midway through the third. (5:50)
Webb City got the ball next at midfield after a favorable bounce on the punt. Maddy Johnson accounted for all of Webb City’s yards on this drive, with a little help form the aggressive Harrisonville defense drawing two offsides penalties. Maddy capped the drive with a 12 yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left in the third to put the Cardinals up 21-0.
The Harrisonville offense still was unable to get anything going as they began the fourth quarter with a three-and-out and punted the ball back to Webb City.
Webb City took over near midfield where they began a very slow and methodical drive which went 53 yards in 11 plays and lasted nearly 5 minutes. Maddy Johnson took it in from the 2 yard line to increase the Cardinals lead to 28-0. (6:51)
With a big fourth quarter lead, Webb City began to sub some players on defense, and Harrisonville took advantage. Starting from their own 7, the Wildcats drove the ball 93 yards in 12 plays with a mix of aggressive pass and run plays. The drive was capped by a 1 yard dive into the endzone to put Harrisonville on the board for the first time. Senior quarterback Landon Teal added the 2 points with his conversion run narrowing the gap 28-8 with 2:33 still left to play.
Harrisonville would then attempt an onside kick only to have the ball one-hop right into Phoenix Johnson’s hands along the sideline and there was nothing blocking his path to the endzone as he ran it in for the final score of the game. Webb City went on to win the game 35-8.
The Cardinals amassed 198 yards on the ground and 145 yards in the air against the stingy Wildcat defense. Maddy Johnson ran for 131 yards on 17 carries as well as one catch for 9 yards. Austin Daniel led the receiving with 118 yards on 5 receptions. Breckin Williams accounted for all the yards through the air as he went 8 of 14 for 145 yards and an interception. The cardinal defense held the Wildcats to 183 total yards, most of which were gained on their late scoring drive.
Webb City is scheduled to play Warrenton (11-3) at 3:15 next Saturday afternoon in the comfortable confines of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Mon. Nov. 29, 2010
WC Football Online Staff
The Webb City Cardinals returned to the state finals for the eleventh time in school history to compete for a ninth championship title. The State Championship game was held in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, which is familiar territory for the Cardinals as they had already played there 6 times with 5 championship trophies to show for it. (The State Championship was first held at the Dome in 1996) The Cardinals came rolling into the contest like an unstoppable freight train with a perfect 14-0 record on the season. The Cardinals had also made marked improvements in their play as the season wore on, especially during the post-season. It wasn’t going to be pretty for anyone who was standing in their way.
That just happened to be the Warrenton Warriors, who were playing for their first ever state title in any sport. The Warriors brought along with them their 11-3 record, as well as a multitude of supportive fans to cheer them on at the Dome.
The Edward Jones Dome was a sea of red and white on both sides; the Webb City side being distinguishable only by the highlights of Columbia Blue.
Within the rules of the game of football, there are several different ways to score touchdowns. In the first half of Saturday’s Championship game Webb City used nearly all of them. They scored through the air, on the ground, on defense and on special teams. The Cardinals scored early and often, taking advantage of every opportunity to separate themselves from the Warriors and leave no room for doubt that they are the best in the state.
The Warriors received the ball first, but were unable to get past the Cardinals’ proud and tough defense. The Warriors punted and Webb City took over at their own 45 yard line. The Webb City offense, including senior quarterback, Scott Roderique, who had been sidelined with an injury since the quarter-final game in Jefferson City, took the field much to the delight of the Webb City faithful. The fans got what they wanted. Senior running back Maddy Johnson led the ground attack taking big chunks of yardage at a time. Then Roderique completed a 29 yard pass to senior wide-receiver Austin Daniel for the touchdown. (7:46)
Warrenton started their next drive at the 20 looking to even the score. Senior quarterback Scott Lathrop took to the outside on the option and pitched. Webb City sophomore Phoenix Johnson read the play perfectly, picked the pitch and ran it back 35 yards to the endzone to put the Cardinals up 14-0. (6:33)
As the Cardinals, with senior kick-off specialist Chase Capron, were setting up for the kick-off everyone, including the Warriors, was expecting a third consecutive touchback kick. What they got, however, was a perfectly executed onside kick which was recovered by the Cardinals at the Warrenton 46. On the very next play, Maddy Johnson breaks free from a tackle and sprints for the endzone. The touchdown was called back, however, by a penalty netting Johnson only a 24 yard gain on the run. He would get his chance again, this time from 12 yards out as he breaks it up the middle for his first score making it 21-0 for the Cardinals. ((5:02)
Webb City would score again after a 59 yard drive on a 23 yard touchdown pass from Scott Roderique to Austin Daniel. With 1:32 left in the first quarter, Webb City already has a commanding 28-0 lead.
Nearing the end of the quarter the Webb City defense again backed up the Warriors offense, forcing a punt. Warriors’ senior running back Nick Reese was handling the punting duties inside the 5 yard line when the Cardinals bull-rush, led by senior line-backer Collin Sigars, collapsed the protection and smothered the punter resulting in a turnover on downs at the Warrenton 4 yard line with 0:03 seconds left in the quarter. With one play Scott Roderique was able to take it up the middle for the final first quarter score as the period expired. With a 35-0 first quarter lead Webb City set a new Show-Me-Bowl record for most point scored in a single quarter. In the quarter, Webb City was able to gain 93 yards on the ground as well as an additional 62 through the air while possessing the ball for only 4:53.
Warrenton began the second quarter receiving the ball, but went 3 and out on the drive and were forced to punt. Webb City took over at their own 36. Webb City would now begin to slow things down, as was evident by this drive which went 64 yards in ten plays, all on the ground, and taking 5:31 off the clock. Capping the drive was Maddy Johnson with a 2 yard burst into the endzone. Along with sophomore place-kicker Alex Easley’s extra point kick, Johnson’s second quarter run made the score 42-0. (4:55)
The Warriors again went 3 and out and were forced to punt. Waiting near midfield was Maddy Johnson. He returned it to the far side where he was met with a wall of defenders. Johnson then reversed course and took to the nearside where he found daylight. Relying on his speed, Johnson turned the corner and raced down the sideline until he reached the goal line where he made a final diving effort to break the plane. Johnson returned the punt 50 yards for the touchdown. (3:39) Webb City now leads it 49-0, which would also be the halftime score. Besides the first quarter setting a new record, the Cardinals also tied a Show-Me-Bowl record by scoring 49 points in a half, also the most points scored in a half by any Class 4 team.
Everything was working for Webb City in the first half. “Obviously, we’re not 49 points better in a half than they are,” said Webb City head coach John Roderique, “But we had a lot of things go our way in that first half. I think it’s the approach that our guys take.”
Webb City received that ball to start the second half, but was not looking to break any more records. After the first play QB Scott Roderique took his place on the sideline as the Webb City crowd gave him a standing ovation. Following nearly each play after that, another starter would leave the game one-by-one, and each received applause and cheers from their fans.
Even though the Webb City starters were leaving the game, there was still a half game of football to be played. The Cardinals kept their ground attack going with an 8 play opening drive to start the half. The Cardinals drove 71 yards on the ground in 8 plays utilizing junior quarterback Breckin Williams and running backs Jamison Cady, Keaton Teal, and Slade Byford who broke free for a 39 yard scoring run. Chase Capron was called on to kick the extra point which made the score 56-0. (6:59)
The Warrenton Warriors still had fight left in them and were not ready to go home without something to show for their efforts. On their next drive the Warriors would take the ball 80 yards in 6 plays catalyzed by a 52 yard hook-up from Scott Lathop to junior receiver Jason Bunge. Lathrop would again find Bunge on a 12 yard toss for the Warrior’s first and only touchdown of the day. Darren Hackmann added the extra point kick to make the score 56-7. (3:38)
As the third quarter came to a close, Webb City continued to get more people involved including junior quarterback Richie Peoples and Sophomore running back Cooper Smith. Near the end of the third quarter, Peoples connected with senior tight end Jeffery Hickam for what would have been a 77 yard touchdown catch and run, but was called back for an illegal block in the back. Hickam’s catch would still be good for 50 yards to take the Cardinals to the Warriors’ 37. Later in the drive Warrenton freshman Austin Stroer jarred the ball free from Peoples which was recovered by the Warrior’s senior Austin Black.
The fourth quarter went rather quickly. As the clock ran, Webb City continued to put more subs in, almost rotating every player in and out between each play. Webb City sophomore Jose Speer forced the ball back from Scott Lathrop which was recovered by sophomore Todd Fowler. Back on offense, more underclassmen were able to get involved for the Cardinals including sophomore quarterback John Roderique and freshman running back Trey Parra. The clock finally expired with Webb City on top 56-7, earning the Cardinals a 9th state title.
Webb City rushed for a total of 240 yards and passed for 112. The defense allowed a total of 231 yards including 133 through the air and 98 on the ground. Maddy Johnson scored 2 rushing touchdowns and had 66 yards on 8 carries. Jamison Cady led the rushing attack with 10 carries for 73 yards. Austin Daniel received 2 catches for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns. Maddy Johnson was the only Cardinal to have over 100 yards with 116 all purpose yards including the 50 yard punt return. Breckin Williams led the team with 7 tackles. Nate Brown and Jose Speer were each credited with a sack.
The 2010 Webb City Football Cardinals finished the season with a perfect 15-0 record to bring home another state championship trophy.
We’ve enjoyed the ride, but now that it’s come to a successful finish we thank the team, the coaches, the parents and the community for all the hard work that we have been able to enjoy.