The Cassville Wildcats will travel to Lamar this week to face a conference opponent in the Tigers.
Cassville enters this week coming off a 14-13 victory over Carl Junction. The Wildcats are 2-0 (1-0) for the season.
Lamar, 0-2 (0-2), has yet to get a victory this season. The Tigers are fresh off a 33-0 loss at the hands of Seneca.
The Wildcats will continue to run their wishbone offense. Cassville will split time between backs Laith Hayward, Danny Naugle and Lane Stubblefield. Fans can also expect Jake Nolan, Cory Howard and Brent Elkins to get in on the action.
Lamar coach Scott Bailey says that his coaching philosophies have stayed the same, and that could likely mean the Tigers will again run the spread offense this year. The system could provide a chance for All-Stater Brett Rawlings to catch some passes from junior Blake Howarth.
Cassville will definitely be concerned with Lamar's passing game this week. The Tigers have wide-out Rawlings lining up at the receiver position. Rawlings is a good possession receiver and can muscle for balls due to his size - 6'3, 200 pounds.
The Wildcats will attempt to disrupt the ball before it can get to Rawlings' hands. This means jumping the pass route for deflections and interceptions and could also mean the Wildcats will put pressure on Lamar's young quarterback.
Defensively, the Tigers lost a lot last year and are regrouping their unit. Caleb Peterson, who is a returning starter, will be someone the 'Cats will keep an eye on at the linebacker position.
Cassville's offense will continue to generate the run, but with Nolan's 100-yard passing game last week, the junior also poses a threat against the Tigers defense.
Defensively Cassville's secondary will be very important. The 'Cats backfield of Cory Howard, Ryan Rowley, Cody Pierson, Phillip Cooper and others will need to continue the success they have already had this season - six interceptions in two games.
A week after their first home game, Cassville is back on the road. Lamar is not known for huge crowds, but with Bailey's success, the Tigers will still draw a crowd.
Keys to the Game
Control the line of scrimmage. Cassville had trouble last week against Carl Junction on the line. None of their backs gained over 50 yards. However, part of that was due to weather conditions. Conditions should be good Friday night and Cassville needs to show they still have a line to be reckoned with.
Keep the ball low. Lamar will look to put the ball up in the air and let their receivers go get it. The Wildcats need to disrupt the Tigers' passing scheme and timing enough that Lamar will want to run the ball.
Don't count your chickens. As the old adage goes, Cassville cannot count their chickens before they hatch. The Wildcats already 2-0 and facing an opponent who has yet to score a single point this season, might get a little ahead of themselves. Allowing the Tigers to grab some momentum could prove disastrous especially with the venue being Lamar. Cassville needs to focus on the game at hand.