Landon Porter caught five catches for a career-high 174 yards. (Photo by Steve Rackley / Flat Top Photos)

Cardinals Ride Fast Start to Win

Republic traded punches with Webb City for the first few minutes of the game, but it didn’t take long for the Cardinals to deliver a flurry of punches that put the game away in a 49-28 win at Republic. The Cardinals scored on their first six possessions and never looked back.

“We’ve got to figure out what went wrong and put it to bed,” said coach Dustin Baldwin. “They’re really good, especially offensively.”

Webb City scored on its opening possession, going 55 yards in five plays. They scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Cole Gayman to Cohl Vaden, one play after the Tigers had missed an opportunity to stop Webb City on downs. Vaden got behind the defense for an easy catch and score.

“We had them stopped if we make a tackle. All we had to do is tackle the quarterback,” Baldwin said. “We already had the pitch taken care of and we missed that.”

Republic didn’t take long to tie the game. On the Tigers’ first possession, a 58-yard pass from Gavyn Beckner to Landon Porter but the ball on the one yard line. From there, Avery Moody pushed his way across the goal line to tie it.

Webb City scored again quickly on an 82-yard kickoff return by Shane Noel, making the score 14-7. Republic immediately tied the game again when Beckner slipped away from pressure and found Porter for another long pass. This one one 85 yards to the end zone to make it 14-14.

From that point on, though, Webb City took over. The Cardinals scored two more touchdowns in the first quarter and two more to start the second quarter, and the lead had soon ballooned to 42-14. Baldwin said the defense struggled with uncharacteristic mistakes.

“We did stuff we hadn’t been doing in games one and two, and we gave up some cheap ones that way,” he said. “There were some bright spots. I think they kept their varsity guys in the third quarter, and we did too, and I thought our defense played better and more fundamentally sound.”

The Tigers got back on the board with a couple of good plays by Avery Moody. Moody ran for 45 yards, then threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Chase Buford to cut the lead to 42-21.

Webb City scored again with 56 seconds left in the half to stretch its lead to 49-21 at halftime.

Republic scored the only touchdown of the second half when Memphis Maples got loose for a 57-yard run down the right sideline.

Beckner was 5-for-10 for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Moody was 2-for-3 for 34 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for 53 yards on six carries. Maples was Republic’s leading rusher with seven carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. Porter had a career game, with five catches for 174 yards and a touchdown. Buford had one catch for 35 yards and touchdown.

Despite solid numbers, Baldwin said the offense will need to be more consistent. “We threw some punches early … we’re just not quite consistent enough to keep up with them. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’re 2-1, and we’ve got to play a team (Nixa) that’s 3-0.”

Devrin Weathers led Webb City with 124 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.

Republic finished with 328 total yards. Webb City had 413 total yards. Both teams are now 2-1. The Tigers will travel to Nixa next week.

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