Wildcats downs Mt. Vernon in home opener

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Cassville Wildcats claimed victory over the Mt. Vernon Mountaineers last Friday evening. A big crowd of fans showed up to welcome in the season and were pleased to see the Wildcats execute their first win of the year.

The first half of the game was dominated by the Wildcats, who did not allow the Mountaineers to score a single point going into half time.

On the opening kickoff, Cassville received the ball and Joseph Gouvion ran the ball back for a 94-yard touchdown. Aaron Jamieson was then able to kick the extra point to put Cassville ahead 7-0. The rest of the quarter brought no points for either team.

In the second quarter, Mt. Vernon began with possession of the ball and got within striking distance on the opening drive, but the Wildcat defense was able to stop their charge.

Cassville senior Cody Pierson runs back an interception for a touchdown on Friday night during the Wildcats' home opener against Mt. Vernon. The Wildcats won the game 28-7. Action Sports Photo/Robert Hoppie

Finally, late in the quarter, after a very close battle, Cody Pierson intercepted a pass and ran the ball 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

Mt. Vernon again started with possession at the start of the third quarter and was unable to capitalize. Cassville received a punt, which in turn led to a scoreless drive. But on Cassville's second possession of the quarter, Travis Northern was able to make an excellent reception for what turned out to be another Cassville touchdown, extending the Wildcats' lead to 21-0.

The momentum only increased from there as Cassville's Garrett Mahurin was able to recover a fumble on Mt. Vernon's next possession, which led to another touchdown by Travis Northern making it 28-0.

During the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers turned up their game and were able to finally score after a bad punt snap by Cassville that placed the Mountaineers deep into Cassville territory. Mt. Vernon was able to get a touchdown and extra point, making the final score 28-7.

Cassville's offense was notably improved this week. Quarterback Jake Nolan was able to connect well with his receivers, especially Northern, who had five catches for 153 yards receiving.

Nolan completed eight of 14 pass attempts for a total of 173 passing yards. The Wildcats still struggled on the ground, accumulating only 61 yards rushing. Jon Haney had 11 carries for 47 yards and Joseph Gouvion had six carries for 13 yards.

The line showed some improvement as well. Senior Nathan Riehn was able to tally five sacks on the night while Gouvion, Trenton Tanner and Robbie Coberly picked up one sack each.

"We still have a lot of work to do up front on the offensive line, but we are getting better," said Coach David Large.

On the defensive side of the ball, the team played very aggressively with good results. Senior Ethan Couch led the team with an impressive 29 tackles while JR Woodruff, Trenton Tanner and Riehn added 21, 20 and 19 tackles respectively.

It was obvious that the Wildcat defense had practiced very hard during the week as they shut down the Mountaineer offense again and again.

"Lance Parnell did a great job having our kids prepared defensively," said Coach Large.

"I was proud of the way our team came out at the start of the game," Large added. "The kickoff return and defense really set the tone for the evening. Other than a bad punt snap, I felt like our kids did a great job all night. Mt. Vernon is not a bad team, and it was a good conference win for us."

The Wildcats will get to enjoy another week at home as they prepare to play Prairie Grove, Ark., on Sept. 12. This is a new addition to Cassville's schedule, replacing Miller Career Academy out of St. Louis.

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