While Carthage's defense played far better on Friday than in the season's first two weeks, the Tigers offense was limited to its lowest output of the year in a 42-7 loss at Webb City.
Carthage limited Webb City to 332 total yards, with 229 coming on the ground. Compare that to 464 yards against Carl Junction last week, and 403 against Seneca.
The Tigers forced Webb City to punt on its first possession Friday, with Anthony Turk coming up with a big sack on third down in Carthage territory.
But, after a Carthage punt, Webb City returned the ball to the Carthage 4-yard-line, setting up a 1-yard scoring run with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
"I'm really happy with our effort defensively tonight," Carthage head coach Jon Guidie said. We put them in a bad situation there at the start of the game, giving up the long punt return, but they came out the first possession and got a stop. We just couldn't get anything going offensively. We allowed them to play too many snaps over there."
Carthage punted on its second possession, giving the Cardinals the ball at their own 42, and Webb City took a 14-0 lead on a 2-yard run with 1:21 left in the quarter.
The Tigers punted again on their third possession, and Webb City scored on a 4-yard run to take a 21-0 lead, and Carthage couldn't convert on a fourth down at the Webb City 45 late in the first half.
All in all, the Tigers ran 22 offensive plays in the first half, and eight went for negative yards or no gain.
"We thought maybe we'd come out and run the football, but give them credit," Guidie said. "They stayed in their four-man front most of the night. Those guys up front are pretty good. We couldn't get any rhythm established offensively. Those guys are big and they're athletic over there and they do a good job."
After a three-and-out series to start the second half for the Tigers, Webb City marched 69 yards and scored on a 24-yard run to go up 28-0 with 6:57 left in the third, and the Cardinals made it 35-0 on a 9-yard run with 50 seconds remaining after forcing Carthage to punt again.
The Tigers cut the lead to 35-7 when Gabe Franklin connected with EJ Morgan on a 23-yard touchdown pass at the 8:25 mark in the fourth. Morgan went up and over a Webb City defender, making a spectacular catch in the north end zone.
But Webb City answered with a 44-yard touchdown run barely two minutes later.
"EJ had a great game," Guidie said. "He's a playmaker and you have to use him. To be honest we probably didn't use him enough the first half. We were trying to run the ball and control some clock. He's a guy who can bail us out in some situations and you saw him tonight do that several times."
Page 2 of 2 - Franklin completed eight of 19 passes for 127 yards, and Morgan caught five of them for 112. Cameron Priester led the rushing attack with 52 yards on 11 carries.