The Neosho Wildcats seek to end their four-game losing streak when they travel to Carl Junction to face their conference and district rival.
In last week’s 56-21 loss to unbeaten Joplin, Neosho matched its highest point total of the season, highlighted by touchdown passes from Gage Kelley to Sam Cook and Quincey Willis in the second quarter. Joplin dominated Neosho in the first quarter, scoring on their first four possessions en route to a 28-0 lead after one quarter.
Playing the three best teams (Joplin, Carthage, Webb City) in the Central Ozark Conference among their last four opponents, the Wildcats have been outscored 165-33 during their losing streak. The positive sign for the Wildcats last week was their play after falling behind 28-0.
The Wildcats have scored 61 points all season and the question Friday night will be how long do the Wildcats stick to their guns and run the football. Joplin and Webb City had scored at least 28 points before Neosho opened up the offense and got on the scoreboard.
The Carl Junction Bulldogs have definitely been a Jekyll and Hyde team during their 2-4 start: 55.5 points per game in their wins and a grand total of 27 points in their four losses, including 14 in last week’s 21-14 loss against Nixa.
Carl Junction and Nixa scored every point before halftime.
The Bulldogs scored 55 points in their win against Republic and 56 in their win against Ozark, both individual point totals which approach Neosho’s for the entirety of the season.
Carl Junction and Republic generated a combined 103 points and nearly 1,100 yards of total offense, with huge games by Republic quarterback Lucas Hayes (253 yards and two TDs passing, 246 yards and four TDs rushing), Carl Junction quarterback Drew Patterson (301 yards and six TDs passing), and Carl Junction running back Brady Sims (179 yards and three TDs rushing).
Patterson enjoyed another huge night in the 56-20 win against Ozark: 215 yards and three TDs passing and 58 yards and two TDs rushing.
Carl Junction scored a combined 63 points in the first half in the wins, and the Wildcats have predominantly struggled in the first half this season with last week marking the first time since their win against Branson that they scored in the first half. Neosho’s lone touchdowns against both Webb City and Nixa came in the second half.
Carl Junction and Neosho currently stand fifth and sixth in Class 4, District 6, and the Wildcats need a win to possibly avoid playing one of the top three seeds Webb City, Bolivar, and West Plains, who have a combined 16-2 record while the other five teams in the district are 8-22 so far this season. If Carl Junction and Neosho finished fifth and sixth in the standings but the Wildcats had won against the Bulldogs in the regular season, Neosho and Carl Junction would then flip spots.
— The Seneca Indians’ predominantly brutal schedule for the first seven weeks culminates in Week 7 with a home game for the 4-2 Indians against unbeaten Mount Vernon.
Both Seneca losses — 41-26 Springfield Catholic and 35-28 last week against Monett — came at home not too sweet home Earl Campbell Stadium.
Mount Vernon’s defense has stiffened the last three weeks with a combined seven points allowed against Reeds Spring (30-0), Aurora (46-0), and Logan-Rogersville (32-7).
The Mountaineers are currently the top seed in Class 3, District 6 and Seneca fell to fifth after last week’s loss.
The Mountaineers have won 11 straight regular season contests, including a 37-14 win last season against Seneca.
— The East Newton Patriots (1-5) make a Week 7 trip down Highway 60 to Monett to face the 4-2 Cubs at Burl Fowler Stadium.
Monett has won three straight games with two of the wins against state-ranked Lamar (28-7) and then state-ranked Seneca (35-28).
The Cubs, like the Patriots early this season, took both their losses in heartbreaking fashion, especially a 22-21 loss in the season opener against unbeaten Mount Vernon.
Like most teams in the Big 8, Monett has dominated East Newton in recent seasons, but the Patriots have been much improved this season under former Monett assistant Kyle Wood.
— The McDonald County Mustangs (2-4) play their second game in a four-game gauntlet to finish the regular season that runs through Cassville, Lamar, Monett, and Seneca.
The Mustangs travel to Lamar in Week 7, not traditionally a place (or team) that’s been too hospitable toward their guests from Anderson and surrounding communities in McDonald County. Lamar rolled 50-8 over McDonald County, for example, last time they played in Lamar.
McDonald County stands eighth in Class 4, District 6.
— Aside from a 28-13 win over Jasper in Week 3, the Diamond Wildcats have been outscored 225-38 in their losses against Ash Grove (44-12), Pierce City (44-0), Miller (50-13), Marionville (42-13), and Adrian (45-0).
Fortunately, for the Wildcats in Week 7, they should get some relief when winless Pleasant Hope comes to town.
See, it has been unpleasant for the Pirates all this season, as no opponent has scored fewer than 48 points on Pleasant Hope. Opponents have outscored the Pirates 261-28.
The Pirates are currently on a 26-game losing streak, their last victory coming in Week 9 of the 2016 season against Osceola (20-18).
WEEK 7 GAMES
Aurora at Hollister
Branson at Nixa
Carthage at Willard
East Newton at Monett
Joplin at Ozark
Lockwood at Miller
Logan-Rogersville at Springfield Catholic
Marionville at Sarcoxie
McDonald County at Lamar
Mount Vernon at Seneca
Neosho at Carl Junction
Nevada at Cassville
Pleasant Hope at Diamond
Reeds Spring at Marshfield
St. Michael the Archangel at Pierce City
Webb City at Republic