The Republic Tigers can breathe a sigh of relief they’ll never have to face Joplin running back Nathan Glades again. Glades gashed the Republic defense for 170 yards rushing and 108 yards receiving, scoring two touchdowns in a 41-14 Eagles victory. It wasn’t the first time Glades had given Republic fits. Two years ago at Joplin, as a sophomore, Glades came out of nowhere to rush for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Last year, he had 72 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in just nine plays.
And as usual, Joplin had plenty of other offensive weapons to go along with Glades. Always Wright, the quarterback, completed 24 of 26 passes for 277 yards and five touchdowns. In addition to completing five passes to Glades, he completed ten to Keaton Renfro for 85 yards and two TDs. Trayshawn Thomas caught six passes for 57 yards.
“Glades is a heck of a player and he’s not even 100 percent. He’s still hurting,” said Republic coach Dustin Baldwin. “He doesn’t quite have the burst he normally does.”
Republic stayed with Joplin in the first half before the Eagles took over. The Eagles scored on their first drive and Republic followed that with an 11-play, 73 yard drive to even the score. A 21-yard touchdown pass into the back corner of the end zone from Gavyn Beckner to Landon Porter capped the drive.
After Joplin on its next drive, but missed the extra point, the Eagles defense forced a punt and set up another score, putting Joplin on top 20-7. The Tigers forced a punt on Joplin’s next drive, and Avery Moody led Republic down the field on their most impressive drive of the night. The Tigers took 13 plays and nearly six minutes to move the ball 78 yards, scoring on a two-yard touchdown run by Moody to cut the lead to 20-14 with 2:15 remaining in the half.
“It was a downer, for sure,” Baldwin said of the Eagles pre-halftime scoring drive. “We took a lot of time off the clock there in the second quarter. Avery had a great drive. Josh (Sterling) and Easy (Meads)… and the line (were) blocking.”
Republic was due to get the ball first in the second half within a touchdown of the lead, but Joplin had other ideas. They sprinted up the field in a hurry-up offense, going 65 yards in less than two minutes to take a 27-14 lead at the break.
After moving the ball well at times in the first two quarters, the second half was an entirely different story for the Tigers. Republic got the ball seven times in the final 24 minutes and managed just one first down. After the Tigers fumbled on the opening drive of the third quarter, Joplin scored again to take a 34-14 lead. That limited Republic’s offensive options.
“We wanted to go back to (the run). We just really didn’t have the opportunity after we got down three or four scores,” Baldwin said.
Another Joplin TD late in the fourth quarter accounted for the final margin.
Joplin out-gained Republic 460 yards to 184. Beckner completed eight of 14 passes for 62 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Moody led the Tigers in rushing with 55 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Josh Sterling gained 31 yards on eight carries.