WEBB CITY — Playing COC heavyweights Joplin and Webb City back-to-back weeks no doubt took a toll on Ozark as the Tigers fell to the Cardinals 65-0 Friday.
The 65 points are the most Ozark has allowed since the Tigers yielded 85 points to Glendale in 2016.
Ozark has given up an average of 55 points the last four weeks.
“We played a really good opponent tonight and you’ve got be firing on all cylinders to compete against them,” Depee said. “Hats off to coach (John) Roderique and company. That’s a really good football team. We didn’t rise to the occasion.”
The last time Ozark traveled to Webb City the Tigers won 17-12 in 2016.
Ozark (4-4) entered Friday's contest already hindered by injuries. Most prominent, quarterback Chance Strickler was suited up, but didn’t play.
“He’s a little dinged up and we’re a lot dinged up all around,” Depee said.
Cannon Cox took the majority of snaps at QB and at times showed off his elusiveness.
“There were a couple times he escaped their pressure and picked up some good yards,” Depee said.
For the third time in four weeks, Ozark's punting game broke down. A mishandled snap led to a blocked punt and a safety, as the ball bounced out of the end zone. The Tigers have been burned for a pair of safeties and a touchdown as a result of mistakes during an attempted punt over their last four games.
“You can’t have mistakes,” Depee said. “They cost you points.”
As Depee inferred, his team has been hit hard by injuries at a variety of positions.
“We’ve definitely had our share (of injuries). But that’s not an excuse. Everyone is dealing with it,” he said. “We’re going into Week Nine and that’s part of it. We’re hoping as the regular-season comes to a close next week we can go full strength. Either way, it’s the next guy that has got to stand up. Our guys will rebound from this, work hard and get our minds set on playing Carthage.”
The much-welcomed news for Ozark on the night was Republic (2-6) falling 54-34 to Carthage (6-2). That clinched at least a top-three seed for Ozark and the first-round bye that comes with it.
“That will be a big deal, to get a little rest,” Depee said.
Ozark concludes its regular-season slate at home in Week Nine versus Carthage.