Savannah, MO--Savannah Athletic Director Bruce Humphrey recalls bittersweet memories of Webb City. Sweet memories as the starting QB for the Cards, sour memories as the coach for Nevada, Carthage, and Benton. He never beat the Webb City juggernaut as a coach and that conversation's come up a time or two.
"Being here four years and working with him on a daily basis, we have those conversations all the time," Mark Cole, Savannah Head Coach, said.
Humphrey's pain is Savannah's gain. He took over the Savages athletic operation in 2004, changing the culture of the football program by borrowing the blueprint from Webb City.
"It comes down to one thing: the weightroom," Humphrey's said. "I thought everybody did that and they don't. The biggest change in wins for us is what we're doing in the weightroom, in the offseason and summer conditioning."
Simple and effective. Savannah's become a force.
We're doing arm-workouts like pushups and running and stairs," Blake Deal, Savannah Wide Receiver, said. "It's adding a little extra. Now, on-the-field we'll be in better shape."
They're really physical, they're going to come hit you in the mouth every single play," Wyatt Johnson, Webb City Linebacker, said.
"They play hard, John Roderique, Webb City head coach, said. "Probably the best compliment you can give them is how hard the kids play."
2011's semifinal won't be the first meeting of Cards and Savages. 1997 saw them meet in the semi's, Webb City true-to-form, sent Savannah home. This season's version of Savannah isn't old enough to remember that, and that's a good thing for them.
"That team gave them a game and we're going to do the same thing," Blake McFadden, Savannah QB said. "We're going to come out with a victory."