Wildcats remain perfect
The weatherman was half right. There was no liquid precipitation at Granby on Friday night, but the points poured onto the scoreboard in a first-half storm as the Cassville Wildcats easily defeated the East Newton Patriots, 49-7, in a Class 3 District 11 game.
After the Patriots ran the opening kickoff to their own 9-yard line, Trenton Tanner intercepted Will Wheeler on the game's first play from scrimmage and raced untouched into the endzone with the game only 17 seconds old. The Wildcats built a 28-0 lead in the opening quarter, added two more touchdowns before halftime and another in the fourth quarter.
East Newton's lone score was a Gus Werries interception return with 4:42 left before halftime.
Cassville was without the services of starting tailback Kyle Brattin, who dressed but did not play as a precaution. Cornerback Chris Smith patrolled the sideline on crutches with his injured foot in a moonboot but promised he would be in action against Seneca on Thursday.
With Brattin on the sidelines, Garrett Kirk got the start at tailback and made the most of the opportunity. Playing only a quarter and a half, Kirk ran for 101 yards on just eight carries and scored two touchdowns. Kreg Myers replaced Kirk in the backfield, and he racked up 168 yards, including a 73-yard sprint down the east sideline for the only touchdown of the second half.
Cassville had the luxury of substituting at will after halftime. Cole Beagle shared time with Ty Craig at quarterback as Ricky Nichols sat out the second half, along with most of the starters. With the game well in hand, David Large kept his first unit out of harm's way with one more district test remaining next Thursday at Seneca.
* Cassville's Trenton Tanner, 15-yard interception return at 11:43 of first quarter. Garrett Barnes kick. Wildcats: 7-0.
* Cassville's Garrett Kirk, 33-yard run at 8:37 of first quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 14-0.
* Cassville's Trenton Tanner, one-yard run at 4:45 of first quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 21-0.
* Cassville's Ricky Nichols, 20-yard run at 1:28 of first quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 28-0.
* Cassville's Kirk, 39-yard run at 10:54 of second quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 35-0.
* Cassville's Nichols, 29-yard run at 6:42 of second quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 42-0.
* East Newton's Gus Werries, 29-yard interception return at 4:42 of second quarter. John Yang kick. Wildcats: 42-7
* Cassville's Kreg Myers, 73-yard run at 2:17 of fourth quarter. Barnes kick. Wildcats: 49-0.
The Wildcats played a solid game on both sides of the ball. The defense shut out the East Newton offense, and the Cassville offense was super efficient. Stone Phelps never punted in the contest.
Cassville's David Large, who has been so careful in keeping his team focused week to week, finally pointed his players to the Seneca district test in the postgame huddle.
"Now you've got the game you want," he told his players. "You have the chance to play for a conference championship, a district championship, an undefeated season and home field advantage in the playoffs."
The win over East Newton gave Cassville a 9-0 season record and stretched the Wildcats' undefeated string to 23 games. There will definitely be a lot at stake when the top-ranked Wildcats play the once-beaten and fifth-ranked Indians at Seneca this Thursday, Oct. 28.