Willard, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Nixa came out ahead in a matchup of undefeated teams with a 35-0 road shutout of the Willard Tigers as quarterback Jacob Karlson had a big night with three touchdowns.
The Eagles started the night with a 12-play, 70-yard opening drive which was capped off by a three-yard option run by the senior quarterback Karlson.
Nixa’s defense kicked in on the ensuing Willard possession and stopped a fourth down conversion attempt to give their offense a short field. Karlson made the most of the opportunity, converting a 3rd down with a 17-yard run and would then plunge in for the score with a 1-yard touchdown.
PHOTOS: WILLARD VS. NIXA
“You always want to get off to a quick start to set the tone of the game and that’s our emphasis every week,” Karlson said.
As a defensive back, Karlson snagged a Kyle Smith pass that ended Willard’s second drive of the night before scoring his third touchdown to begin the second quarter.
Though Karlson began the night with three consecutive completions in the first drive, Nixa’s aerial attack was grounded with the senior connecting twice on the next eight attempts.
“I didn’t necessarily like the way we finished,” said Eagles coach Rich Rehagen, “But getting out ahead early –I’m happy with the way we came out.”
Scoring opportunities for both teams turned out to be scarce in the second half, with Willard’s final three drives stalling in Nixa’s red zone.
“We just didn’t make any plays,” said Tigers head coach Brock Roweton, “We were able to control the ball … but our guys did fine and we just have to learn from this. You have to be able to execute 10-, 12-play drives like Nixa did.”
The Eagles ended their night with a final 12-play drive, with six carries from junior standout Alec Murphy, that culminated in a 5-yard Bryce Rohr touchdown run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Nixa (4-0) will host 3-1 Webb City while Willard (3-1) will travel to 3-1 Ozark.
6:54 1Q: 12 plays 70 yards (J. Karlson 18-yard run; Logan Tyler Extra Point) 7-0 Nixa
3:07 1Q: 5 plays 22 yards (J. Karlson 1-yard run; L. Tyler Extra Point) 14-0 Nixa
11:17 2Q: 7 plays 27 yards (J. Karlson 9-yard run; L. Tyler Extra Point) 21-0 Nixa
6:47 2Q: 5 plays 24 yards (A. Murphy 4-yard run; L. Tyler Extra Point) 28-0 Nixa
2:52 4Q: 12 plays 67 yarsd (B. Rohr 5-yard run; L. Tyler Extra Point) 35-0 Nixa
OFFENSE: A. Murphy 80 yards 22 carries TD, J. Karlson 94 yards 14 carries 3TD; 5-11 35 yards, Tristan Ridenour 5 yards 1 carry; 2 catches 20 yards, Cody Uber 2 carries 35 yards fumble, B. Rohr 2 carries 6 yards TD, Mason Tyndall 2 catches 10 yards, Caleb Garde 1 catch 5 yards.
DEFENSE: Mason Rohr INT, Nicholas Brand INT, J. Karlson INT
Robert Richmond 20 carries 53 yards, Hunter Yeargan 1 carry 1 yard (left with ankle injury), Tanner Moore 8 carries 30 yards; 1 catch 13 yards, ZaKorey Barr 6 carries 26 yards, K. Smith 8 carries 21 yards; 4-11 56 yards 3 INT, Montana Craig 1 catch 14 yards, Jordan Powell 1 catch 39 yards.