For 40 years, I have been proud to have Cassville as my hometown. In all those years and more, our community has enjoyed many great achievements for which we are to be thankful.
Recently, the 2006 Cassville High School football team and coaching staff has delivered to us all some of the best and most exciting times I can remember. Having played football for Cassville for 10 years beginning at age 7, I believe I can attest for nearly 2,500 CHS football graduates when I say that there is a deep appreciation for all that Head Coach David Large and his coaching staff, support staff, and, of course, the players themselves have bestowed upon our fine community.
Many don't realize that this group has created for our benefit the first ever football dynasty at CHS. Under Coach Large's direction over the past three seasons, CHS football teams have generated a spectacular 25-4 regular season win record with visits to the state championship play-offs as a bonus and have managed to garner a reputation for the CHS Wildcats as a "powerhouse program."
But, of this great record, it is to be noted that the last regular season loss by CHS was nearly two years ago. The longest winning streak in CHS history has now been set at 18 regular season games, an achievement that no other coaching staff or preceding set of classes ever managed to even come close to matching. Aside from the statistical glory and recognition, this group of dedicated coaches has given our community much more than just a superb winning record and bragging rights. They have taken our children and groomed them to be dependable, focused, and upstanding young men worthy of our respect.
The positive influence of these mentoring coaches has reached beyond the football field and, in some cases, even outside the football team by way of leading by strong example for life-long goal-setting and honorable leadership. They lit the fires of passion and achievement in us all, but most importantly within our most precious asset who represent our future . . . our youth. And, they have afforded us renewed friendships by way of exciting many into attendance of their great games. I personally have reconnected with old friends I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing for over 25 years and did so cheering with them, side by side, for our beloved Wildcat football team.
Any veteran of Friday night high school football will tell you that the desire to get into the game remains very strong no matter how many years have passed. Given the chance, many of the football alumni would gladly play in just one more on our beloved CHS football field. Coach David Large and his staff have given each of us the gift of reliving the excitement, feeling the adrenaline and enjoying long missed camaraderie with old friends and former teammates. While our bodies no longer allow us the satisfaction of physical competition, this CHS football dynasty has given us all the chance to feel young and strong again.
Seeing former players from the 1950s cheer until they lost their voices to exchanging high-fives and knowing smiles between 1970s-era players to listening to many of all adult ages once again reminisce between downs about their days of youth and the moments of glory they achieved while playing for CHS, such gifts are a blessing to us all from a dedicated group of coaches and players who wanted nothing more than to be champions for their family and friends.
On behalf of our community, I offer to the awesome cheerleaders, the talented band members, and all those who added to the excitement of Wildcat football, our deep admiration and appreciation for your contributions. To the families of the coaching staff, no amount of thanks would be sufficient to honor you for the sacrifices you have given in supporting our team. Each of you will always have a special place in the heart of this community.
To David Large, Lance Parnell, Jeremy Faubion, Kyle Wood, Jay Rogers and Rick Lawson and to the senior class players who now leave the field to join the alumni in the bleachers . . . a special heartfelt "thank you" for all that you have accomplished and given to your community. To the underclassmen who will be the team leaders for next season and beyond, thank you as well for your courage to be counted as a winner. No doubt the graduating seniors will be sorely missed; however, those underclassmen with a champion's heart will rise to the challenge and lead CHS into yet another exciting season next fall.
Each of you can expect to see and hear the citizens of your community, along with your graduate teammates, cheering for you at the 2007 season opener. Win or lose, the fine young men of the CHS Wildcat football team of the 2006 season have shown this community what teamwork, pride, spirit and brotherhood truly means. Thank you each and all!
Proud CHS Alumnus
Class of 1980