Pregame hoopla leading up to Week 3’s encounter between longtime North Central Missouri Conference rivals Kirksville and Moberly featured some harsh Twitter messages targeting members of the Spartans football team.

By Chuck Embree
MI Sports Reporter
Pregame hoopla leading up to Week 3’s encounter between longtime North Central Missouri Conference rivals Kirksville and Moberly featured some harsh Twitter messages targeting members of the Spartans football team.
Moberly players chose to respond to that multi-media trash talk with their play on the football field here at Dr. Larry K. Noel Spartans Stadium.
And what a response the Spartans gave the Tigers.
Moberly’s Ricky Webb made the first powerful statement with his leg, kicking a 47-yard field goal on the first ball possession to tie a school record as the Spartans rang up 17 points in the first quarter and a 24-0 halftime lead.
Meanwhile the Spartans defense forced Kirksville into four three-and-outs and two turnovers en route to Moberly earning a convincing 31-0 victory while extending its football winning streak to 8 games against the Tigers.
“Our kids were pretty fired up for this game. Defensively we came out in that first half especially and really played well. The kids quickly fought off their blocks and we had a lot of kids getting to the ball, making some strong hits. Coach Stoneking (Tony, def. coord.) and his assistant coaches really did a nice job coming up with a game plan and working with our defensive unit in getting prepared for Kirksville in practices this week,” said Moberly football coach Jason Ambroson. “There are some things we could have done better, but I give credit to our kids - they did a lot of things right in this football game and I’m proud of them.”
“For the second week in a row, the kids made us coaches look good because they did a lot of things correctly, things we asked them to do. They worked hard and prepared well in practice and they reaped the reward winning two football games in a row against pretty good teams.”
Defense set up the evening’s first score.
On the third snap from scrimmage, Kirksville quarterback Mitch Kriegshauser’s intended pass to Gunner Western was deflected and fell into the hands of Moberly sophomore defensive back Chris Palmer at the Tigers 36.
Moberly (2-1, 1-0 NCMC) would advance the ball only 6 yards facing a fourth-and-4 when coach Ambroson, without hesitation, sent Webb and the special teams field goal unit onto the field for Webb to attempt a 47-yarder with 9:15 remaining. After the game, Ambroson said he made that decision because after an early afternoon rain, the mud-soaked field was in good shape early into the game and there was a decent wind blowing from the north that would also be an ally for the kicker.
The 5’10, 226-pound senior let more than 900 spectators know Ambroson made a wise decision and that he had more than enough leg to get the job done. Webb’s kick tied a Moberly record set by Trey Barrow – who happens to be Missouri Tigers sr. kicker - back in 2007


“I wasn’t thinking that I had the chance to tie a school record with that field goal when I first when on the field. I really did not know how long of a kick I was about to try. I was just concentrating on how important it is for me to execute proper mechanics of kicking and everything I’ve learned these past four years of kicking,” said Webb, who had been kicking FGs in practice of around 42 yards. “I knew I had a little wind at my back and I went out there thinking this was going to be just an ordinary PAT or short kick. I got a good snap from my cousin (long snapper Mickey Sires) and Justin (Connaway, QB) made a perfect hold for me. When I kicked it, I knew it was going through and I had some room to spare. That was such a great feeling and the guys on the team really got pumped up.”


“What was just as exciting for me was when I got to run in the 2-pt. conversion a little later. That was really awesome. I haven’t carried the football since 7th grade.”


Thanks to its defensive effort coupled with some Tigers’ short punts, Moberly’s offense would have some prime field position on their first four possessions which led to three scores and a 17-0 first quarter lead. Connaway sneaked into the end zone from the 1 and senior running back Joe Galaske rumbled through the mud 7 yards for a touchdown with 2:37 left that was set up when Moberly had a fumble recovery inside the 10.


Galaske finished the evening rushing 12 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns. His second score arrived with 1:39 left in the half on a 24-yard TD run.


Sophomore Gregg Bain went 43 yards on 11 carries and had a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:29 left in the fourth quarter. Moberly’s Blake Joiner and Connaway had 31 and 24 rushing yards respectively in the game.


The Spartans were successful moving the football 96 yards in the air by completing 9 of 14 passes. Scott Mason was his target on four occasions as the sophomore receiver advanced the football 45 yards. Blake Joiner had two receptions for 33, and Brandon Elkins caught two passes for 17 yards.


Kirksville (2-1, 0-1 NCMC) would generate only three first downs and had about 80 total yards of offense in the first half. The Tigers threatened late in the half using a trick pass play when Kriegshauser ran a reverse handing the ball to Gunner Western, who would throw a 30-yard pass caught by Parker Osborn reaching the Moberly 16.
 However, the Spartans defense coupled with the game clock winding down the first half ended Kirksville’s scoring threat at the 3-yard line when the Tigers were out of timeouts.


“Defensively, we wanted Kirksville to know we were here ready to play and we meant business with them on the football field. We were getting to their ball carriers pretty well most of the game and we were making some pretty hard hits,” said Webb who also plays inside linebacker. “I thought it was a good effort both offensively and defensively by our team.”


In the second half, the Spartans seemingly played with a bend-but-don’t-break kind of defense mentality on the field and Kirksville was able to move the chains more than they did in the first pair of quarters, but the Tigers never got a taste of the end zone.
Kirksville senior running back Scott Schwend rushed 28 times for 79 yards. Kriegshauser had 28 yards carrying the football and Osborn went 20.
In the passing department, Kriegshauser completed just 3-of-17 for 32 yards, including an interception.


“This was a big rivalry game between the two of us. You just look at Kirksville’s student section and our student section. There were a lot of kids out in the stands cheering and supporting their football team and that was really, really great to see and hear. The enthusiasm expressed by the kids from both schools is a big deal. This is what high school sports is all about; students and friends coming together to support their school and the athletes that are on the field playing,” said Ambroson. “As long as all the cheering stays positive, that is a big deal and it makes for a fun, great atmosphere for everyone attending the game.”


Moberly hits the road this Friday to play conference rival Fulton (0-3). The Hornets suffered a 35-9 loss to next door neighbor North Callaway in Week 2.