Nixa and Carthage clash for COC title


NIXA, Mo. — As John Perry’s second season at Nixa’s helm enters its final regular season week he’s accomplished quite a lot already.

Two dominant seasons? Check.

Undefeated against Ozark? Check.

Beat Webb City for the first time ever? Check.

But two major boxes remain unfilled: conquering Carthage and claiming the Central Ozark Conference title.

This Friday Nixa can do both.

“We want to win the game and compete for championships like Carthage, like Webb, like they’ve done,” Perry said. “That’s what we want to do.”

“We’ve kind of marked it as our biggest game,” Nixa junior wide receiver Kael Combs said. “Especially since they went undefeated. The COC title is on the line.”

Last year they were presented with the same opportunity to end the year – and came up short against the Tigers.

Now they get another shot.

And while some Carthage stars have changed, the zero in their loss column has not.

“They are a great football team,” Perry said. “They have what I think is the best player in the state of Missouri, that being number 14. They have very few weaknesses. So it will be a complete game by us to have a chance.”

But Nixa has its own All Star specials on the roster – just look at their Waffle House Wideout corps.

“Honestly, when I first got here and we broke it down every time we’d be like ‘Waffle House on three! 1-2-3-Waffle House!'” Combs said. “I asked coach what it meant. He was like, “open 24-7′”

“They kind of came up with that nickname a while back just as a ’24-7, we’re always open,'” Perry said. “Then it just kind of stuck. Then we had a kid show up with the flag on his own. We haven’t gotten any checks from Waffle House yet. We probably ought to because we will promote Waffle House when we run out there Friday night in front of 5,000 people.”

And they’re not the only standout on the Eagles’ menu.

The Nixa backfield of junior Jaden Aven and sophomore Spencer Ward have come up big since Ramone Green’s injury and still leaving defenses smothered and diced in signature fashion.

“You have to overcome obstacles,” Perry said. “And that is a big obstacle to overcome, but I think we’ve done a good job of it.”

“We’ve both done a very good job, especially Spencer coming in as a sophomore,” Aven said. “He was playing corner and they just took him from the defense. I think he’s actually done a really good job just being a team player.”

Now Perry’s breakfast brigade battles with Carthage’s flawless foie gras – bringing the kitchen heat the Eagles have been craving all year long.

“We are excited for everything that’s on the line and just where we’re at right now in our season,” Perry said. “We think this will be the biggest game in the state of Missouri and we’re excited and happy to be a part of it.”

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