Wildcats turn Houn' Dawgs into pups

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Last Friday night the Wildcats took on the Aurora Houn' Dawgs in a homecoming game. The Houn's were 1-3 on the season coming in but had beaten a state-ranked team in Strafford, so they could still challenge. The Wildcats came into the game unbeaten, and they would make sure that they stayed that way.

Cassville chose to kick off, giving Aurora the ball first. Aurora would get nowhere on their first drive and were forced to punt. The Wildcats looked like they would start the night off right as they drove all the way down to Aurora's 19-yard line where a good defensive play for the Houn' Dawgs would pop the ball loose from Brian Elkins' hands and give it back to Aurora.

This would put a little spark in Aurora and allowed them to do a little more on their next drive, but ultimately not enough, as they would again punt.

Cassville would waste no time on their next drive. The Wildcats pushed the ball deep into Aurora territory before they would hand it off to the always dangerous Michael Baker, who would juke his way 16 yards into the end zone. Aaron Jamieson made the extra point to give Cassville a 7-0 lead with 3:46 left in the first.

The Houn's would again punt on their next possession. Cassville would again score on theirs, as Elkins bounced out on the left side on the first play of the drive and raced 73 yards down the field for another touchdown. Jamieson would miss the extra point after a high snap, leaving the score 13-0 with 2:17 left in the first.

The Cassville defense would find that they were not impenetrable on the next drive as Aurora scored with two quick plays, a 44-yard pass followed up by a 42-yard quarterback sneak. This put the score at 13-7 and put Aurora back in the game.

The first quarter would end and the game appeared somewhat close with Cassville leading 13-7.

Cassville would not be able to convert on the first drive of the second quarter and sent Lane Stubblefield to punt. Aurora recovered the punt on their own 49-yard line, leaving them with great field position and the momentum, but the Cassville defense stood strong and did not give up a single yard, forcing Aurora to punt. Cassville wanting to put game out of reach turned to their running game and would drive it into Aurora territory. There Cassville would give it to Danny Naugle, who had a great run, dragging many tacklers but who could not make it to the end zone. On the next play, Tim Orrell ran it in for a five-yard touchdown. Jamieson would have no problem with the extra point and Cassville led 20-7 with 3:53 left in the half.

The Cassville defense would again shut down the Aurora's offense and force them to punt.

With 1:06 left in the half, Cassville was unable to convert a toucheown and sent Jamieson out to try a 41-yard field goal. The ball was snapped and Jamieson came up to kick it, but the Aurora defense was already there and blocked the field goal. There sat the football around the 31-yard line and it would stay there for about five seconds until Naugle, who proved his worth more than once on this night, had the presence of mind to pick the ball up and run all the way into the end zone. No whistle had blown and the ball was still "alive" after the block. Cassville entered the half-time locker room on top 26-7.

The second half would render only more points for Cassville, as both Orrell and young Laith Hayward would get into the endzone for the Wildcats. The game ended with a lopsided score of 39-7.

Cassville, on the night, racked up over 500 yards of offense with 445 of those yards coming on the ground. A large part of these yards were due to the great work put out by the Cassville offensive line, which includes Michael Baker (junior), Aaron Carr, Nick Pianalto, Billy Wright, Josh Rambo and Brandon McCullough.

Elkins led the team in rushing with 225 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown. Orrell had a nice night passing the ball, as he was seven-for-11 for 90 yards. Baker (senior) would lead the receiving with three receptions for 56 yards. Defensively the Wildcats also were very strong. Ryan Rowley pushed his interception tally even further as he was able to pick off two balls, Rowley also had three unassisted tackles and one assisted.

Jake Nolan, who is still subbing in for an injured Jared Bouzek, had a good night, tallying five unassisted tackles. Ryan Newman and Pianalto did well on the defensive line, piling up six unassisted and five assisted between the two of them. Dannon Rose tallied three unassisted tackles and two assisted tackles and Ethan Couch and Naugle both were credited with two unassisted tackles and one assisted tackle each.

It is always bad when a high school football player is injured, and it is with this note that some sad news comes. Mike Simmons will now be out for the remainder of the season with knee injuries. He hopefully will be returning next season for the Wildcats in his senior campaign. Also Jared Bouzek was supposed to start practice this week after tearing some ligaments in his ankle.

Next week the Wildcats take on the Mt. Vernon Mountaineers are 5-0 this season. Mt. Vernon appears to be a real threat at a perfect season for the Wildcats. The Mountaineers are led by quarterback Tomas Brock. Cassville is currently ranked third in Class 3, while Mt. Vernon is ranked 10th. Either way the Wildcats look to have a tough test and could use all the support that their fans can provide.

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