Hold your heads high

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Congratulations Cassville Wildcats on an outstanding football season. Your run at a third state title was exciting, and each one of you should be proud of your part in building upon and strengthening Cassville's reputation as a football powerhouse.

This year, records were set. You enjoyed an undefeated run through the Big 8 Conference and district schedule, which earned you both championship titles outright. You also extended the team's winning streak to 27 games, which set a new Cassville High School record. As a result of your tremendous effort on the field, you dominated the All-Big 8 Conference first team, and I'm sure we'll be reporting on a large host of All-District and All-State honors in the coming weeks.

As members of the 2010 Cassville Wildcat football team, you have a lot to be proud of, and this entire community wants you to know you are all winners in the eyes of your legion of fans. I don't have any official statistics, but I don't know of another similarly sized school in the state that has a fan base to rival the Wildcat Nation. At Saturday's game in Richmond, some people estimated Cassville's crowd to be as large as 2,000 -- now that's outstanding and proof of the positive impact you've had on your hometown. You have delighted your fans all season long and have made the community of Cassville very proud.

The key to any winning team is leadership, and the Wildcats have that in their coaching staff and the group of seniors who led their team this fall. To the senior players, you left your heart on the field each time you put on your black and gold and hit the gridiron. Through your hard work, dedication and commitment to team over self, you are leaving a legacy for the younger players that will surely inspire them to make another solid run for a state title next fall. You can look back on your four years as a Cassville Wildcat with pride, knowing you gave it your all.

To the entire Wildcat coaching staff, thank you for the countless hours you dedicate to Cassville's football program and to the young men you work with each day. I know those boys look up to you, because you've earned their respect. Each one of you leads by example and works hard to teach our young people more than just the game of football. The conduct of our players on and off the field is testament to your leadership and the high standards you set.

On Monday, I received a call from a Richmond businessman who wanted to tell me what the Spartan fans thought of the Wildcats. This gentleman wanted our community to know how much the Wildcat players, coaches and fans impressed the Richmond community. He said Cassville should be renamed "Classville" because of the way our team and community conducts itself.

Famed football coach Vince Lombardi said "The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." So by Lombardi's standards and the assessment of your proud fans, you, the 2010 Wildcats, were hugely successful. You gave it your all and you left it all on the field, so hold your heads high and hold on to the lessons you learned on the football field this season. And remember that the entire community of Cassville is deeply proud of all you accomplished.

Lisa Schlichtman