Cassville was able to walk away as the victors on Friday night against a surprisingly good Lamar team. The Tigers (1-2) looked much better then last year's team, which the Wildcats beat 50-14. The new and improved Tiger team held Cassville to a respectable 24 points and put up 7 of their own.
Lamar chose to receive the ball first and so Cassville kicked off. The kick was a towering one from Aaron Jamieson and landed for a touchback. Lamar would strike at Cassville with a mix of air and option. Lamar threw the ball and used an option running game to mix up play calling.
On the first drive, this strategy proved highly effective. The Tigers drove well into Cassville territory and would have faced a fourth down if not for an untimely face mask on third down.
The Wildcats also lost Jared Bouzek to an ankle injury on this drive, and finally with 7:41 remaining in the first quarter, Lamar punched it into the end zone on a seven-yard pass.
Despite the surprising ease of Lamar's drive and score, the Cassville offense did not seem to lose any of its intensity. Instead they would open a huge hole for tailback Brian Elkins, which allowed him to pick up a 57-yard run that would lead to a Cassville touchdown. This evened the score at 7-7.
Lamar started to put another drive together when Cassville's defense came up big. Elkins, at linebacker, positioned himself perfectly to pick off a pass from Lamar's quarterback. He then proceeded to run the entire rest of the way to Lamar's end zone. Giving Cassville a 14-7 lead.
The first quarter came to an end and yielded to a much less exciting second quarter. Both teams could simply not get the ball rolling. Lamar was intercepted again, this time by Phillip Cooper, but then Cassville could not do anything with it and ended up punting it away.
On Lamar's next drive, they tried to convert a fourth down, but the stingy Wildcat defense held and gained the ball back. However, then it was Lamar's turn to get the interception and so the second quarter ended with the score still at Cassville-14, Lamar 7.
Both teams had trouble out of the gate in the second half. Cassville punted and their first possession and so did Lamar. Then Cassville punted again after another unproductive drive.
Lamar would go back to their passing game, trying to develop some kind of rhythm to their offense, but that rhythm would swing to the Wildcat side, as Jared Bouzek's replacement Jake Nolan would make a nice interception that would lead to another Cassville score.
After Nolan's interception, the Cassville offense finally looked like it was ready to put the game away. Cassville looked very routine in this drive, mostly handing it off to Elkins.
In the final play, Elkins seemed to be running around the right side, but at the last moment instead of charging toward the Lamar defense, he dropped back and passed. The pass was a nice tight spiral, which went 29 yards to a completely open Michael Baker to give the Wildcats a 21-7 advantage.
The fourth quarter brought a new and different experience for the young kicker Aaron Jamieson. Cassville drove the ball down into Lamar territory, largely due to a 49-yard pass from Tim Orrell to Baker, but stalled there.
So from the nine-yard line the sophomore was able to hit his first field goal, a 26-yarder that elevated the Wildcats lead to 24-7.
After this Lamar would make three more drives, two that ended in failed fourth down conversions and one that end ed with a Ryan Rowley interception. The game ended with Cassville on top 24-7.
Overall, the Wildcats looked a bit surprised at the much-improved Tigers of Lamar. However, the Cats were still able to get a win and beat a pretty good opponent.
Helping with the Wildcats victory this week were Brian Elkins, who ran for 147 yards, passed for 29 yards and had six unassisted tackles with an interception giving him part ownership in all three of Cassville's touchdowns.
Orrell had a much better night throwing the ball, completing eight of 15 passes for 89 yards. One of his main receivers was Michael Baker who picked up five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Jamieson got his first field goal and was three-for-three on extra points.
Defensively, Nolan had a good game, coming in for Bouzek in the first quarter. Nolan picking up four solo tackles, one assisted tackle and an interception. Cooper had three solo tackles and an interception, and Dannon Rose had four solo tackles and four assisted tackles.
This Friday the Wildcats will take on a tough St. Louis team in Miller Career Academy.