McRoberts steps up for Wildcats in EMO win

By John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 9/20/23

Down their starting quarterback, Wright City turned to Duan McRoberts to lead the Wright City offense in a conference clash against South Callaway.

McRoberts responded with over 200 total …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

McRoberts steps up for Wildcats in EMO win


Down their starting quarterback, Wright City turned to Duan McRoberts to lead the Wright City offense in a conference clash against South Callaway.

McRoberts responded with over 200 total offensive yards and three total touchdowns in Wright City’s 41-26 Friday night’s home win over South Callaway. 

After playing the first three games of the season at running back and wide receiver, McRoberts started his first game this season from the quarterback position. He had multiple starts at quarterback last season. 

“I’m used to it. In middle school, I pretty much did the exact same thing,” McRoberts said. “So I’m fairly comfortable with it, It’s still different.  I’m not used to it, especially at the varsity level. I’ve done it before but it’s still a different experience. But you got to do what you got to do.”

With starting quarterback Joey Gendron unavailable to play in Friday’s game, Wright City turned to their running game to pace their offensive attack. The running game, led by McRoberts, Denzel Dowdy and Carle’on Jones, tallied over 300 yards on the ground in the win. 

Head Coach Tyler Rickard stressed all three runners bring something different to the table for the Wright City rushing attack. 

“You put those three in the backfield and you just don’t know who’s going to carry the football,” Rickard said. “And so it makes us dynamic in that any one of them can touch the ball. And if they do, there’s a chance it’s going to the house. They’re just that good. Or they’re going to put their shoulders down and they’re going to get five, six, 10 yards at a time. And so they each have a unique running style and together in the backfield, they’re very deadly.”

McRoberts and Dowdy each rushed for two touchdowns. McRoberts rushed for 183 yards, while Dowdy added 99 yards on the ground. Jones rushed for 41 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats. 

Wright City scored the first two touchdowns to take an early 13-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game. After a defensive stop, Wright City drove 61 yards for a touchdown. The drive was capped off by Dowdy’s 2-yard touchdown run. McRoberts erased a pair of holding penalties on his 61-yard touchdown run to put Wright City up 13-0. 

Rickard stressed with South Callaway running a triple option offense, getting an early lead was important for the Wildcats. 

“Their offense is so predicated on ball possession and running the football,” Rickard said. “And so any time that you can put them behind to where they maybe feel like they have to press a little bit more and throw the ball a little bit more, we like that match up defensively.”

South Callaway responded on their next drive to cut Wright City’s lead to 13-6. The one possession deficit for the Bulldogs was short lived, as McRoberts picked up a bouncing kickoff at the sideline and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown to put Wright City up 20-6. 

“It didn’t look like it was gonna bounce or fall out of bounds or go back,” McRoberts said. “So I went up, picked it up and my first thing I knew they were going to think I was going to run back in the middle. So that’s what I did. I kind of took a few steps in the middle, bounced it outside. I had a few good blocks for me. I just kept running and I ran and scored.”

South Callaway once again pulled within one score on their first drive of the third quarter to trim Wright City’s lead to 20-12. With the Wildcats facing a 4th and 1 from their own 38-yard line, McRoberts made a big play to once again shift the momentum back to the Wright City sideline. 

“It wasn’t designed for a running back to lead for me because we have a lead block,” McRoberts said. “But I told him I was like, just run up the middle, I’ll follow your block and that’s what I did. I ran there, safety came down. I just dropped my shoulder, spun off the tackle and ran for a touchdown.”

The Wildcats added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter on Jones’ 3-yard touchdown run after Wright City got 12 yards on 4th and 11. They scored their final touchdown of the game on Dowdy’s 30-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes remaining. 

The Wright City defense limited South Callaway to three touchdowns prior to the Bulldogs’ touchdown on the final play of the game. 

“I was just really pleased with them,” Rickard said. “I felt like we really made them earn it. You know, we didn’t give up big plays necessarily over and over. We made them just move the ball down the field, down the field. Eat clock, which was good for us since we had the lead.”

Wright City is slated to continue their conference slate with a road game at Van-Far. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday.