BY JASON PEAKE
After suffering a disappointing loss in Week 2, the Webb City Cardinals needed to get well.
It's safe to say they did just that.
In control from the start and solid in all phases of the game, Webb City rolled to a 34-6 victory over Neosho on Friday night in Central Ozark Conference action at Bob Anderson Stadium.
"Overall, we feel pleased," Webb City coach John Roderique said. "It was a good Week 3 game. It was a night where we just took care of business. I thought our kids did a nice job."
For the Cardinals, the victory helped alleviate the pain of last week's 35-28 setback to Joplin.
"We all needed a positive reaction to last week's loss," Webb City starting quarterback Kade Hicks said. "I think this win should boost our confidence."
Simply put, Webb City was able to sustain offensive drives throughout the contest, while the Wildcats were not.
"They're the kind of team we thought they were," Neosho coach Leon Miller said. "They've got a pretty good football team. They've got some size up front, and they've got speed at the linebacker position."
Webb City compiled 323 yards of offense, with 254 on the ground and 69 through the air.
Four different players recorded rushing touchdowns for the Cardinals — Devrin Weathers, Terrell Kabala, Dillon Harlen and Hicks. Harlen ran for 97 yards on 10 carries, while Weathers and Kabala finished with 69 rushing yards apiece. Back in a starting role after a Week 1 injury, Hicks ran for 69 yards and completed 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards.
Webb City's defense limited Neosho to 135 yards — 87 rushing and 48 passing.
"I thought our defense played pretty solid all night," Roderique said. "I thought our guys up front did a good job."
Talon Mitchell ran for 40 yards on 15 carries to lead the Wildcats, while Gage Kelley contributed 26 rushing yards on 13 attempts while also passing for 48 yards on four completions.
In an efficient first half saw the visitors punt only once, Webb City led 21-0 at the break.
The Cardinals marched 59 yards on five plays on their first series, with Weathers capping the drive with a 30-yard burst. They took a two-score lead when Hicks scampered 38 yards to the end zone on a QB keeper at the 4:36 mark of the opening frame.
Webb City went up 21-0 after Hicks completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Cohl Vaden on the second play of the second quarter.
The Cardinals compiled 201 yards in the first half while limiting the Wildcats to 14 yards.
Webb City methodically marched 65 yards on eight plays to begin the second half, with Kabala's 3-yard touchdown run making it 27-0.
After the Cardinals lost a fumble, the Wildcats had their best field position of the night inside the 25. But a Kelley pass was intercepted by Treghan Parker two plays later, giving the Cardinals the ball right back.
Harlen's 1-yard touchdown plunge gave the Cardinals a 34-0 cushion early in the fourth quarter.
Neosho got on the board with 1:41 remaining when Kelley connected on a 20yard touchdown strike to Brady Franklin for a 20yard touchdown strike.
Miller noted he was proud of his team's effort.
"Overall, we did some good things here and there," Miller said. "We're growing as a unit. I was real pleased with how our kids fought. They played hard for four quarters. They didn't lay down, so I'm proud of them."
Ranked third in Class 4 by the Missouri Media, Webb City (2-1) hosts Branson (1-2) next Friday. Neosho (1-2) is at Class 5 No. 2 Carthage (2-1) in Week 4.
Joplin Globe 09/14/2019 (Used by permission)