Football

Can Nixa halt their 0-14 drought against Webb City?

Nixa has never beaten Webb City at football.

Nixa senior Nicos Oropeza (32) rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries in a 2015 game against Webb City.

Nixa senior Nicos Oropeza (32) rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries in a 2015 game against Webb City.

The Eagles’ 15th attempt to defeat the vaunted 16-time state champions will happen Friday at Eagle Stadium in the Springfield News-Leader Game of the Week presented by Murney Associates, Realtors. Nixa (5-0) enters the game ranked No. 6 in the Class 5 Missouri Media Rankings, while Webb City (3-2) enters ranked No. 7 in Class 4.

Nixa coach Richard Rehagen served as an assistant for 13 years prior to accepting a promotion to head coach in 2008, which coincided with Webb City joining the Central Ozark Conference. Webb City has since won all eight meetings between the teams and holds an all-time record of 14-0 against the Eagles.

News-Leader Game of the Week brought to you by Murney Associates, Realtors

News-Leader Game of the Week brought to you by Murney Associates, Realtors

Past clashes

1988: One of Nixa’s best chances to beat Webb City occurred in the very first meeting between the schools on the gridiron. Coach Jerry Kill had just been lured from Pittsburg State University to Webb City High School in 1988. Kill’s Cardinals prevailed 18-12 and went on to win a state championship in 1989. Kill went on to coach three NCAA Division I teams (Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Minnesota) and retired in 2015 due to health concerns. Kill is now an associate athletic director at Kansas State.

2013: Only 18, maybe 24 inches separated the Eagles from beating Webb City in 2013. Nixa opted to try to score a go-ahead touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter with the score tied 21-21, but Webb City stuffed the run to force overtime. Logan Tyler kicked a field goal to put Nixa in the lead, but Webb City answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Tyson Roderique to Kiante Hardin for the win.

2015: At first glance, a 31-16 win for Webb City doesn’t look like an impressive showing by the Eagles, but Nixa had some bright spots in its most recent attempt at beating the Cardinals. Nicos Oropeza, now a starting senior running back, gained 130 yards on 30 carries. Quarterback Andrew Rivera, then the backup, came into the game and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Chase Allen. Apart from the overtime game in 2013, the game marked the closest margin of victory for Webb City over Nixa since the Cardinals joined the COC.

Game of the Week: Undefeated versus traditional powerhouse

Where are they now?

Both Nixa and Webb City have traditions of sending players on to college football. Webb City has held the reputation of producing college players for decades, while Nixa popped onto the big stage more recently.

Nixa celebrated sending its first football player to an NCAA Division I program two years ago, when running back Alec Murphy signed with Mississippi State. Murphy redshirted his first year and is paying his dues on the Mississippi State bench, but did see action in the Bulldogs’ spring game and rushed for a touchdown.

FSU’s Logan Tyler punts the ball during a game against Ole Miss at Camping World Stadium on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

FSU’s Logan Tyler punts the ball during a game against Ole Miss at Camping World Stadium on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

This spring, Nixa celebrated two more Division I signings: kicker/punter Logan Tyler to Florida State and tight end Chase Allen to Iowa State.

Tyler has played in three games for Florida State as a true freshman. He has kicked off 26 times for 16 touchbacks, and his yards-per-punt average of 45.54 leads the ACC through three games.

Allen chose Iowa State over 15 other Division I football programs including Michigan and Nebraska, but his family connections to the Cyclones and a desire to study mechanical engineering landed him in Ames. He is presently the No. 3 tight end on the Iowa State depth chart.

How Nixa turned into a college football factory

Webb City’s most notable football graduate is likely Grant Wistrom, a defensive end who went on to University of Nebraska and then nine seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks.

Wistrom was selected as the Rams’ defensive rookie of the year in 1998 and played for a Super Bowl winner in 2000. Wistrom presently lives in Springfield with his family and owns two CrossFit facilities.

Kiante Hardin, the man who caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Nixa in 2013, went on the University of Minnesota to play for Kill. He played in all 13 of the Gophers’ games last season and has logged six tackles and two pass breakups as a defensive back this season.

Finally, offensive guard Trystan Castillo left Webb City as the No. 9 overall football recruit from Missouri. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive guard is second on the Missouri Tigers depth chart at left guard. Castillo was the first member to commit to Mizzou’s 2016 recruiting class.

Webb City vs. Nixa football over the past decade

2015: Webb City 31, Nixa 16

2014: Webb City 47, Nixa 7

2013: Webb City 27, Nixa 24 (OT)

2012: Webb City 49, Nixa 21

2011: Webb City 41, Nixa 7

2010: Webb City 35, Nixa 14

2009: Webb City 42, Nixa 21

2008: Webb City 28, Nixa 7

2007: Webb City 26, Nixa 0

2006: Webb City 35, Nixa 7

Springfield News-Leader Game of the Week

Presented by Murney Associates, Realtors

Webb City (3-2) at Nixa (5-0)

Friday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.
Eagle Stadium,  514 South Nicholas Road, Nixa

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