Wildcats complete undefeated regular season

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Blocked punt Chuck Nickle Photography Cody Frana blocks a Seneca punt, and then Kyle Brattin scooped up the ball and rumbled into the endzone for Cassville's second score before the offense had even touched the ball.

The Cassville Wildcats, hitting on all cylinders, blasted Seneca 42-0 on Thursday night to finish the regular season undefeated and win the Big 8 Conference and District championships. Cassville also completed a perfect slate of district games and earned the right to host Clinton at Wildcat Stadium on Wednesday night.

A light crowd by Cassville standards turned out for Senior Night. The odd Thursday slot, the cold drizzle and intermittent rain, and the sixth game of the World Series all combined to limit attendance to this final game of the regular season. Those in attendance witnessed a game of statistical anomalies, the direct result of the opportunistic play of the Cassville defense and special teams.

With 6:52 remaining in the first quarter on Thursday night, Seneca had run 15 plays while the Cassville offense had yet to snap the ball. But the Wildcats led by 14-0, thanks to an 89-yard interception return by Trey Rose for the game's first score, and a return of a blocked punt by Kyle Brattin for the second.

Good pass coverage Chuck Nickle Photography Kayman Walker defends against an Indian pass attempt during last Thursday night's district game against Seneca.

The Wildcats wrote the definition of efficiency as they found the end zone three more times in the first half, scoring 21 points on just eight offensive plays.

After Garrett Kirk partially blocked another Seneca punt, the Cassville offense navigated the short field in just five plays. Brattin blasted in from four yards out as the Wildcats opened a 21-0 lead.

After Cassville took over on downs with five minutes left in the first half, Ricky Nichols broke loose off left tackle and found a seam to the end zone for a 71-yard scoring run. Just two minutes later, the Wildcats started at their own 42-yard line following a Seneca punt. Chris Dunker broke for a 43-yard gain to the Seneca 15-yard line on first down, and then Brattin broke free for another touchdown as Cassville opened a 35-0 lead at the half.

No stopping him Chuck Nickle Photography Senior running back Kyle Brattin, #27, cracks through the Seneca line on his way to the endzone. Brattin scored three touchdowns for the Wildcats in Cassville's 42-0 victory.

The Seneca Indians had run 48 offensive plays in the first half to just 15 for the Wildcats, but it was Cassville that had the crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

Brattin would score his third touchdown of the game late in the third quarter, racing down the Cassville sideline for a one-play, 51-yard drive to create a 42-0 lead.

The Wildcat defense stuffed Seneca's Marty Mailes short of the goal line on fourth and goal at the one-yard line in the closing minutes to preserve a second consecutive shutout.

He's back Chuck Nickle Photography Cassville senior Josh Sexton, #83, missed the first seven games of the season with an injury. After playing sparingly last week, he returned to regular action against Seneca and was key in the Wildcats' 42-0 win over the Indians. Here he prepares to tackle an Indian runner on a kick return.

Cassville finished the night with 280 yards rushing on 30 carries. Brattin led a host of Wildcat ball carriers with his 122-yard rushing performance. Nichols was credited with just two carries on the night: a loss of nine yards while being sacked, and the 71-yard scoring jaunt.

The Wildcats extended their regular season win streak to 29 games and finished a season 10-0 for the third time in seven years. Cassville went 10-0 in 2005 and finished 11-1 after losing to Harrisonville in the second round of playoffs. The Wildcats went 10-0 last year and finished 13-1 after falling to Richmond in the semifinals.

Cassville (10-0) will host the Clinton Cardinals (5-5) in a Class 3 regional contest on Wednesday night, while Monett (5-5) travels to play district champ Pleasant Hill (7-3). Aurora (6-4) will play at Logan-Rogersville (9-1), and Mountain Grove (6-4) travels to Springfield Catholic (8-2).

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