Joplin, MO – Fans at Joplin’s home opener in Junge Stadium were treated to quite a game Thursday night. The sellout crowd roared when the 2023 Eagles took the field for the first time against the Willard Tigers.

The game was moved to Thursday night due to a referee shortage.

In the first quarter, Joplin quarterback Hobbs Gooch worked quick completions up the field. Gooch utilized his dual threat abilities often, and leaned well on his 6’7 tight end Whit Hafer.

On Joplin’s first scoring drive, Hafer bulldozed his way through a tough Willard defense to put the Eagles on the board 7-0.

Eagles coach Curtis Jasper’s offense kept rolling. Toryn Jones plowed his way into the end zone after a few impressive runs for the Eagles. Joplin then took a 14-0 lead.

Tigers quarterback Russell Roweton faced some pressure early on, as he was intercepted by cornerback Collis Jones off a deep ball.

The Eagles would go on to win 28-14.