Wildcats take care of Cubs, 28-6
Football is a great game for teaching math, because everything important about the game is expressed numerically -- scores, records, passing yardage, rushing yardage, average starting field position, net yards per punt. Every game is a numerologist's game chest of trivia.
Cassville's victory over Monett on Friday night is more significant than the 28-6 score. It is more significant than the 8-0 perfect record for the Wildcats, more significant than the #1 spot in the Class 3 state rankings. It is even more significant than the four straight wins over the Cubs, the sixth win for Cassville in the last eight games played between the two teams.
This game was significant because it marked a milestone in the development of a group of young men that was searching for its identity at the beginning of the season.
Against a solid Carl Junction team, Cassville showed it could survive an ugly game, that it could overcome errors and mental breakdowns and still win. Then at Monett, the Wildcats showed that they could put that kind of game behind them and play a fundamentally sound and error-free game against a good opponent.
"This was a real complete game," David Large told his players after the contest. "You eliminated a lot of mistakes tonight."
The Wildcat defense played a solid game, allowing only one score despite Tyler Green's gaudy passing stats for the night. Ricky Nichols directed an efficient Cassville offense that scored four times, and except for a few penalties, did nothing to aid Monett.
Cassville held Monett to a three-and-out to start the game, and then scored on a nine-play, 56-yard drive that was capped by Ricky Nichols' long bomb to Garrett Kirk for a 22-yard scoring strike. The Garrett Barnes PAT gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 6:14 on the first quarter clock.
The Cubs again failed to move the chains, and the Wildcats took over at their own 24-yard line following a punt by Green. Nichols and Kyle Brattin combined to move the ball to the Cassville 46-yard line.
"Cassville football, second and four at their own 45-yard line. Nichols has running backs lined up every where. Kyle Brattin is next to Nichols in the shotgun. This is the same formation Lamar used with two quarterbacks in at the same time . . . direct snap to Brattin, he hands to Kirk on the counter play . . . Kirk breaks free down the right sideline . . . touchdown Cassville."
Kirk's second touchdown of the quarter combined with Barnes' true kick to give Cassville a 14-0 lead.
Monett came alive in the second quarter as Green connected on pass after pass to lead the Cubs deep into Cassville territory on two drives. But Aaron Hall was thrown for a loss on fourth down by Cody Frana to kill one threat at the Cassville 23-yard line, and Kayman Walker batted down a Green pass on fourth and goal at the seven-yard line to preserve the 14-0 lead as the half ended.
Trey Rose returned the second half kickoff out to the 34-yard line, and the Wildcats scored in just five plays. Nichols broke loose off left tackle and raced 39 yards down to the Monett one-yard line, and then Stanton Stringer dove into the end zone from his fullback position in the wishbone.
Cassville led 21-0 with 10:27 to play in the third quarter.
But Green still had the hot hand he showed in the second quarter. Green's passing keyed the Cubs to a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Green found Kurran Blamey open behind the Cassville secondary with a 32-yard bomb to put Monett on the board. The PAT failed though, and Cassville led by a 21-6 margin.
Cassville answered on the very next possession. The Wildcats advanced from their own 36-yard line to the Monett 40-yard stripe in just five snaps. Then Nichols broke outside again, but there would be no saving tackle for the Cubs this time. The Cassville quarterback froze the Monett secondary with a sudden cutback move that allowed him to find an open lane to the end zone.
Barnes added another PAT to push the lead to 28-6.
Neither team could mount a scoring drive in the final quarter. Kirk intercepted Green on the very first play after the teams switched ends, and that pretty much summed up the final 12 minutes. The final horn sounded with the same 28-6 score on the board.
The Wildcats improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the conference and 1-0 in district play. Monett slipped to 3-5 overall, 2-3 in the Big 8 Conference, and 0-1 in district play.
Cassville will entertain East Newton on Friday night, while Monett plays at Seneca.