Oct. 5—One of the most anticipated matchups of the prep football season has arrived.
Carthage and Webb City headlines Week 7's action-packed slate. The Cardinals play host to the Tigers in a matchup of Central Ozark Conference and Class 5 powerhouses.
Kickoff is on tap for 7 p.m. Friday night at Cardinal Stadium.
Winners of three straight, Carthage (5-1) is the top-ranked team in Class 5. Webb City (4-2), which has won two straight, checked in at No. 4 in the latest state rankings released on Monday night.
The Tigers enter Friday night having outscored their opponents 144-26 over the last three weeks since a 22-21 setback to league-leading Nixa in Week 3. The Cardinals have also been on a scoring rampage, averaging 52 ppg over the previous two weeks.
Defense should play a big factor on Friday night. Carthage has that edge, allowing only 12.3 ppg while Webb City has yielded 25.8.
One of the best two-way players in southwest Missouri, Luke Gall leads Carthage with 1,175 yards on the ground in just 121 carries (9.7 ypc). The Division I Air Force commit has logged a whopping 27 touchdowns (25 rushing) and registered a team-high 53 tackles.
Cooper Jadwin has run the ball 74 times for 651 yards with six TDs on the ground. The senior quarterback has completed 31 of 60 passes for 586 yards with three TDs.
Senior wide receiver Hudson Moore has hauled in 15 passes for 218 yards and one score. Also on defense, Micah Lindsey has 35 tackles, eight of which for loss.
With a number of players out due to injury, the Cardinals have embraced the next-man-up mentality this season. Junior Breckin Galardo is the perfect example as he's emerged as Webb City's featured back, running the ball 81 times for a team-high 669 yards with eight TDs.
Senior QB Landon Johnson and senior rusher Aidan Alberty have netted nearly 300 yards on the ground. The duo has combined for seven rushing TDs.
Sophomore Omari Jackson and senior Max Stovern, who have missed time due to injuries, have appeared in four games this season. Jackson has 39 carries for 266 yards and three scores, while Stovern has 22 attempts for 178 yards and three TDs.
Senior Lucas Ott leads Webb City's defense with 42 tackles. Junior Christian Brock has 40 tackles, while senior Kaylor Darnell has tallied 37.
CARL JUNCTION AT JOPLIN
The Eagles (5-1) host the Bulldogs (2-4) at Junge Field on Homecoming night.
Ranked sixth in Class 6, Joplin bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 42-28 triumph over Republic last week. The Eagles look to improve to 4-0 at home this fall.
The Bulldogs, who are the smallest school in the COC, suffered a 56-8 loss to Nixa at home last week. Carl Junction has dropped four of its last five contests with its only win coming against Branson 32-7 during that stretch.
For Joplin, junior QB Hobbs Gooch has completed 68 of 106 passes for 1,148 yards with 14 TDs and four interceptions. Wide receivers Terrance Gibson (senior) and Davin Thomas (sophomore) lead the receiving corps with 20 catches apiece for a combined 817 yards through the air for 10 TDs.
Junior rusher Quin Renfro has run the ball 97 times for 623 yards and eight scores, while senior Drew VanGilder has 47 carries for 351 yards and five TDs.
Senior linebacker Draven VanGilder is the state's leading tackler, according to MaxPreps. He averages nearly 16 stops per game and has tallied a whopping 95 tackles.
Ninety-five tackles is tied for 37th nationally.
For Carl Junction, junior QB Dexter Merrell has completed 53 of 97 passes for 741 yards and three TDs. Merrell has run the ball 45 times for 268 yards with four scores.
Merrell's top targets, seniors Malakhi Moore and Ayden Bard, have over 10 catches each. Moore leads the team with 292 yards through the air.
Sophomore Tony Stewart has netted 279 yards on the ground in 49 attempts. He has two rushing TDs. Freshman Marcus Lopez-Durman and junior Johnny Starks have added over 150 yards rushing with a combined three TDs.
Starks leads the Bulldog defense with 28 tackles on the season.
NEOSHO AT OZARK
The Wildcats (3-3) visit the Tigers (1-5) on Friday night.
Neosho has claimed all three of its games inside its friendly confines at Bob Anderson Stadium, but is winless on the road this season. Despite its record, Ozark played Joplin and Webb City close at home.
The Tigers fell 29-22 to Joplin in Week 3 and 55-40 to Webb City in Week 5.
It certainly could be a shootout against Neosho's explosive offense. Junior QB Quenton Hughes has completed 159 of 221 passes for a state-leading 1,796 yards with 19 TDs and four picks.
Senior receiver Isaiah Green is having a dynamic season, accumulating 900 yards receiving with 67 catches and 10 scores. Another name having a monster year, senior rusher Jared Siler, has a state-leading 1,284 yards on the ground in 185 carries with 16 TDs.
Senior Aidan Howell ranks third in Missouri with 88 tackles.
COLLEGE HEIGHTS at LOCKWOOD
The Cougars (1-5) travel to play at Lockwood (4-2).
Lockwood, which co-ops with Golden City, averages 55.2 ppg and allows 39.7 on defense. College Heights yields 62.5 ppg and scores at a 48.7 clip.
In their final home of the regular season last week, the Cougars suffered a 52-46 setback to Norborne. College Heights held a two-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, but the Pirates responded with the lone score in the fourth quarter and held the Cougars scoreless in the final minutes to earn the win.