Wildcats blank Clinton, 35-0, in regional game
The Cassville Wildcats rolled to 11-0 on Wednesday night, pitching a third consecutive shutout while defeating the Clinton Cardinals, 35-0, in a Class 3 regional playoff game at Wildcat Stadium.
It was a miserable weather night for football, the first game Cassville played in less than ideal conditions this year. With a weather system marching in from the northwest, the temperatures dropped throughout the game, and a steady cold rain enveloped the stadium by halftime.
The weather was on David Large's mind early. Cassville won the opening coin toss but went against form and elected to receive instead of deferring until the second half. The Wildcats wanted the ball while the weather and the field were still good.
But on two early possessions, the Wildcat offense could not find the end zone. Trey Rose started at quarterback for Cassville, with Ricky Nichols sitting out the contest as a precaution. Rose led the Wildcats to the Clinton 22-yard line on the second drive, but the Cardinals took over on downs.
When a bad snap sailed into the end zone over the head of Clinton's punter, Brandon Miller, senior Justin Pflug broke through and leveled Miller at the Clinton three-yard line. Kyle Brattin scored on second and goal to give Cassville the first points of the game with 1:07 left in the first quarter.
On the second play of the second quarter, Garrett Kirk blocked Brian McCoy's punt and Pflug recovered as Cassville took over at the Clinton 24-yard line. Rose kept off right tackle for 20 yards and then Chris Dunker scored on second and goal from the seven-yard line as the Wildcats opened a 14-0 lead.
After Garrett Barnes buried the kickoff in the end zone, Clinton responded with a long drive. The Cardinals finally earned a first down and just kept on marching as a cold rain began to fall. The drive reached the Cassville 24-yard line in 12 plays before Dunker recovered a Gabe Suthoff fumble at the 12-yard line to quiet the threat.
A long halfback pass from Brattin that Kirk tipped away from the defender and then caught for a 37-yard gain moved the ball to midfield.
"Cassville football, second and 10 at the Clinton 41-yard line. There's the snap, seems to be a mixup in the backfield, Kyle Brattin breaks off tackle to the right sideline and beats the Clinton safety to the corner of the end zone, Touchdown Cassville."
David Large calls that play, "Temple Hideaway." It's not a draw, not a fumblerooski, but a misdirection play that takes advantage of an over-pursuing defense. The Wildcats executed it to perfection as Brattin's sprint led to a 21-0 halftime lead.
The Wildcats held Clinton to a three-and-out to open the third quarter of play, and Rose caught Suthoff's punt at the Clinton 45-yard line. The Wildcats then wore out the Cardinals with a 13-play drive. The only play longer than seven yards on the drive was a critical 12-yard burst off left tackle by Kirk on fourth and eight at the Clinton 31-yard line.
Brattin wedged into the end zone for his third score of the night as Cassville opened a 28-0 lead at the 5:07 point of the third quarter.
Bret Miller returned Barnes' next kickoff all the way to the Cassville 37-yard line. On third and seven, Chris Sidfrid scrambled for yardage but fumbled as he crossed the 25-yard stripe. Rose caught the bounce in full stride and raced upfield. A last-second cutback helped him elude a tackler in the red zone, and the Wildcat senior posted a fifth Cassville touchdown.
Barnes remained perfect on the night with the PAT, and the Wildcats and the running clock finished off the Cardinals, 35-0.
"We got some big plays and took some pressure off Trey at quarterback," said Large after the game.
Brattin ran for three touchdowns and carried 18 times for 147 yards to lead the Wildcats on offense. As a team, the Wildcats ran for 248 yards to just 95 for Clinton. The swarming Cassville defense limited Suthoff, Clinton's 1,000-yard rusher, to a meager 49 yards on 15 carries.
Clinton only snapped the ball in Cassville territory 12 times, with nine of those co