Cardinals Take 4-0 Record to Springfield Tonight
By Laurie Shaffer
It took a last-second field goal from senior Eric Smith for Webb City to beat Monett last Friday night and keep their No. 2 ranking in Missouri class 4A. Tonight the Cardinals will ou their 4-0 record on the line as they travel to Springfield Central.
Smith's 28 yard field goal with two seconds on the clock gave the Cardinals the 24-22 win. The senior kicker began last year as the teams student trainer before moving to his playing position.
“He went from being a trainer and carrying tape to winning football games,” Coach Jerry Kill said.
He compared the game to last year's game against Nixa, when the Cards had to travel 80 yards to win late in the game. “As I said then, now I know we have a good football team. It takes special character to drive down and score when you're behind in a game with only a few minutes on the clock.”
“We dominated for three and a half Quarters,” Kill said, “Then through miss-tackles, fumbles, and penalties we let Monett right back in.”
The Cardinals 21-6 lead looked solid going into the fourth quarter. Monett scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to take a 22-21 with less than 2 minutes on the clock.
The Cards' scored once each quarter in the game. Senior running back Matt Berry had 21 carries for 199 yards, two of them touchdown runs of 56 and 24 yards. Mark Smith cored the cards other touchdown on a 25 yard run and Eric Smith kicked three extra points, as well as the field goal.
The end of the game was a new experience to a team used to winning and not having last-minute pressure.
“We showed excellent character and tremendous composure,” Kill said, “That's what it takes to be a good team. I think our football team learned a lot from last weeks game, for example, its never over until its over.”
Kill also hopes the Cards learned they need to keep in the game mentally.
“For us to be the type of team we want to be we have to cut down on the silly mistakes.” Kill says the mistakes are not the players fault but his own.
“We made a lot of mental errors- that is Coach kills fault,” he said, “But I guarantee this week I have coached hard.”
In preparation for tonight's game, the team work on the little things that plagued them last wee, such as four or five false starts.”
Kill expects a “highly, highly motivated” team in Springfield Central tonight. They are coached by Webb City alum Alan Spencer, who is still has family ties to WCHS.
“Every week we play is going to be tough,” Kill said, “When you are No2 everybody will play their best. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We have to be ready for that challenge.”
Kill credits Cardinal fans with a large part in the teams successes.
“We appreciate the tremendous amount of support the Webb City community and the Bleacher Creatures gave us,” Kill said, He said he also appreciates the hard work and support of his coaching staff and managers.