Last Friday night, the #2 state-ranked Cassville Wildcats traveled just a little ways north to Monett to compete in what had been dubbed, "The Battle of Barry County." The Cubs showed a lot of spirit in the contest, but the Wildcats ultimately won out 41-21.
Cassville came into the game ranked second in state in Class 3 and perfect on the season. Monett, who started the season 4-1, had recently dropped to 4-4 and hungered for an upset against the favored Wildcats.
The Wildcats received the opening kick off and quickly showed their offensive strength. On only the second play of the game, quarterback Tim Orrell ran right and pitched the ball to Brian Elkins who took the ball 59 yards into the end zone. Mathew Angel hit the extra point, and Cassville took a 7-0 lead with only 47 seconds gone from the clock.
Monett struck right back, taking the Cassville kick-off all the way back to their own 48-yard line, and then would put together a drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown run by quarterback Daniel Holt to tie the game at 7-7.
|Then the weather started to play a part as Cassville fumbled Monett's kick, and the Cubs recovered. This put Monett on the Wildcats' 27-yard line. However, the wet ball again found its way loose and this time Cassville would recover.||Monett's defense held strong and forced the 'Cats into a three-and-out situation. Lane Stubblefield went back to punt and the ball was snapped over his head. Stubblefield was unable to recover, and the Cubs covered it up in the end zone to earn a touchdown and the 14-7 advantage.|
On the next drive Cassville turned the ball over on downs, but it was the Wildcat defense's turn to hold strong and force Monett to give the ball back.
The Wildcats on their next drive finished the quarter with a very nice 43-yard run by Danny Naugle.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats continued to move the ball until Monett stopped them on the Cubs' 9-yard line. Cassville, facing a fourth and 5 situation, opted to go for it and went to the option. Orrell pitched it to Michael Baker for the nine-yard score. Angel put the ball through the uprights to tie the game at 14-14.
The Cassville defense again dominated Monett and forced them to a three-and-out. The Wildcats received the ball on their own 11-yard line with 6:54 remaining in the half. The 'Cats proceeded to go on an 89-yard drive that ate up almost 6 minutes, finishing with a good push from the offensive line and a five-yard touchdown run that put Cassville on top 21-14.
In the second half, Monett received the kick. Their offense was not be able to muster a drive and was forced to kick. Cassville, however, fumbled the return and Monett got the ball back at the Cassville 48-yard line. Then after a questionable spot and penalty, Monett found the end zone and tied the score at 21.
Cassville's next drive started on the Wildcat 32-yard line and included a nice reverse call that Baker ran for a gain of 34 yards. Elkins capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown. With a missed extra point, the Wildcats found themselves up 27-21.
After the last touchdown by Monett, Cassville's defense decided to stiffen. The Wildcats were able to stop Monett quickly with the assistance of a nice pass deflection by Ryan Rowley.
The Wildcats' next drive found them facing a fourth-and-eight on Monett's 28-yard line. Cassville decided to go for it and passed it to Naugle. With defenders in tow, Naugle was able to push into first down territory and set Elkins up with another touchdown run. Baker converted on the two-point play, and the Wildcats expanded their lead to 35-21.
Monett's next drive only brought highlights for the Wildcats as Josh Rambo made a great tackle and the Wildcats stripped the ball and gave it back to their offense. The third quarter ended with the Wildcats atop by 14 and looking for more.
Unfortunately, the Wildcat offense fumbled the ball right back to Monett who returned it back to the Cassville 22-yard line. The Cassville defense didn't seem to be too troubled as they stopped the Cubs on fourth and 2.
The 'Cats went to their trick book, busting the game open with a 25-yard reverse by Baker and a 35-yard pass from Elkins to Baker for a touchdown. This put Cassville up 41-21 and end scoring for the night.
On offense, Cassville pounded the ball all night long and racked up a total of 453 yards on the ground. Helping with that feat were: Elkins, 35 carries for 227 yards and five touchdowns; Baker, 71 yards on only four carries and one catch for 25 yards and a touchdown; and Naugle with 69 yards on six attempts and one reception.
Defensively, the Wildcats were lead by: Ethan Couch who had five solo tackles, one for a loss, and a fumble recovery, the recently recovered Jared Bouzek, five unassisted tackles and one assisted; and Rambo who had a combined total of five tackles and one for a loss.
|This week the Wildcats play Seneca at home for the district championship on Thursday night. Both teams come in 2-0 in district play. The Indians come to Cassville with a 7-2 overall record and the Wildcats are undefeated at 8-0.||A win on Thursday night would also give Cassville a share of the Big 8 Conference title. If Mt. Vernon also wins its game this week, the two teams would be co-Big 8 champions, and if the Mountaineers were to lose and the Wildcats win, Cassville would win the conference championship outright.|