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Perry expecting better from Nixa and Joplin their second time around


Nixa and Joplin will meet in the playoffs for the second time in three years while battling Friday for the Class 6 District 5 championship. And, of course, they have also faced each other during COC play.

Over the four-year span covering coach John Perry's tenure at Nixa, Nixa leads the series 3-2.

“We've had super games in the four years I've been here,” Perry said.

Perry anticipates this week’s rematch to be higher in quality than the teams’ Week Five matchup back at Joplin in September.

Nixa (10-0) won 35-27 on its way to a COC championship. It was a turnover-filled contest on both sides. Joplin lost two fumbles and threw an interception.

“I don't feel like we played our best the last time we played them and I don't know if they played their best,” Perry said. “Hopefully, we'll both show up and play our best and it will be a heck of a game.

“That's a great football team which is well coached,” he added. “We’ve had great games with them. It will be an exciting night. I can't wait.” 

Nixa beat Joplin by rushing for 279 yards. Running back Dylan Rebura turned 27 carries into 166 yards rushing.

Rebura enters the title tilt with 1,056 yards rushing while Malachi Rider has 1,039.

Joplin (7-3) has endured more than its share of injuries and has had skill-position players miss multiple games.

Running back Quin Renfro returned to play against Nixa, after missing three weeks with a back injury. He had 19 carries for 179 yards and had a 77-yard touchdown run called back due to a penalty.

A bye week in the first round of the playoffs was no doubt welcomed by Joplin coach Curtis Jasper. After a week of rest, Joplin stormed to a 35-7 halftime lead en route to a 45-29 victory at Kickapoo in a District semifinal last week.

Quarterback Hobbs Gooch ran for three touchdowns and passed for another and Renfro added a 44-yard touchdown run.

Perry is hoping Joplin is at full strength.

“We want the best they've got,” he said. “We want to be the best we can and they will bring out the best in us.”

Nixa, Joplin and fellow COC members Webb City (8-2), Republic (9-2), Carthage (7-4) and Carl Junction will all play for District championships this week.

The COC is assured of at least two District champions.

In addition to Nixa and Joplin meeting, Webb City and Carthage will play each other.

“The more we can win, the better,” Perry said of the COC. “I’m proud of the ones who are winning. It's a tough conference and we're glad we're in it. It makes us better.”