Wildcat come-back sets stage for state

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cassville got down in their quarter-final game against Harrisonville but were never out. The Wildcats rallied, after trailing Harrisonville 1-0 at half, to advance to the state Class 2 Final Four in St. Louis.

"We felt confident," said Coach Brian Wilbanks. "We controlled the ball a lot in the first, but I just told the boys we needed to finish."

The Wildcats responded to their coach, hitting two goals within a minute of each other to take a 2-1 lead.

Thirteen minutes into the second half Uziel Franco headed in a pass from Ryan Schlichtman, and then one minute later, Schlichtman hit the net on an assist from Aaron Jamieson. Franco tacked on another goal late in the half on a 35-year free kick after a foul was called against Harrisonville.

Anthony Larson had another big game in goal for the Wildcats, recording several key saves that kept the Harrisonville Wildcats at bay.

With the big win, Cassville finds itself advancing to the state Final Four for the second time in three years.

A vocal Wildcat contingent helped inspire Cassville to an explosive second half effort. There were close to 100 local fans who made the trip to Harrisonville with the school district supplying a pep bus for the occasion.

"On behalf of the team and all the parents, I want to thank the school for sending a pep bus," said soccer mom Lisa Schlichtman. "The support of cheering fans really made a difference in how the boys responded and we appreciate all those who made the long trip to Harrisonville."

Cassville, whose record now stands at 22-1, will take on Smithville (20-6) this Friday at 7 p.m. on Field #5 at the Anheuser-Busch Soccer Complex in Fenton.

Win or lose on Friday night, the Wildcats will play a second game on Saturday. The state first place game will take place at noon and the third place game is scheduled for 11 a.m.

In 2005, the Cassville Wildcats tied for third in state.

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