Cassville blanks McDonald County
The Cassville Wildcats followed up their season-opening 48-7 win over Branson with an equally impressive 45-0 shutout of the McDonald County Mustangs at Anderson, on Friday night.
Cassville improved to 2-0 with a performance to rival Clint Eastwood's "empty chair" speech at the Republican National Convention. Like President Obama's answering tweet, the victory made the statement, "We're here, and we're not going away."
Despite all the weather concerns for Friday's contest, Isaac -- just a tropical depression by the time it reached southwest Missouri -- was just a shadow of the storm that pounded the Gulf states.
The field at Anderson easily held the soaking rain that fell on Friday, and the McDonald County High School grounds crew had the turf and facilities in pristine condition.
McDonald County's Zach Duty kicked off to start the contest, and Chris Dunker's return gave the Wildcats a first down at their own 28-yard line.
Gabe Kirk directed Cassville on a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive with Hayden Prater slicing in for the go-ahead touchdown from five yards out. Bradley Lueckenhoff supplied the point after, and Cassville led 7-0 with 9:23 left in the first quarter.
Stone Phelps pinned the Mustangs with a touchback on the kickoff. Dunker intercepted Jake Wood's third-and-5 pass and raced to the Mustangs' 3-yard line. Prater scored again, and Lueckenhoff converted to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
Cassville forced McDonald County into a three-and-out series but failed to capitalize on the ensuing possession as the quarter horn sounded. Then, on the third play of the second quarter, Wood was picked off by Jordan Adams, and the junior defensive back gave Cassville the ball at the McDonald County 26-yard line.
Three running plays left the 'Cats with a fourth and short at the Mustangs' 20-yard stripe. Gabe Kirk fooled the defense with a magician's handoff to Prater on the draw, and the running back sprinted through a gaping hole for another touchdown.
Lueckenhoff connected for a third time, and Cassville held a 21-0 cushion with 9:09 left before halftime.
The Mustangs mishandled the wet ball on the kickoff and started their next possession at their own 12-yard line. Three plays netted five yards before a host of Cassville defenders broke through and blocked Duty's punt.
Dunker busted through the line, on Cassville's first play, scoring from 21 yards out. Lueckenhoff toed the leather through the uprights again for the 28-0 score with 7:51 on the clock.
The Mustangs failed to make a first down again, and Duty's punt died at the Mustangs' 42-yard line. Brent Thompson took advantage of a seam on a sweep and found the end zone from 38-yards out. Lueckenhoff remained perfect with his fifth PAT, and Cassville led 35-0 with 5:39 left in the half.
McDonald County finally moved the chains on the next possession, but only once. Duty punted to the Cassville 34-yard line, and Cassville's varsity offensive unit made its final appearance of the game.
"Cassville football, second and five at the 39-yard line. Kirk has the snap, he keeps this one off right tackle, bounces outside and he could go! Kirk cuts to the sideline and wins the footrace to the endzone. TOUCHDOWN CASSVILLE!"
Kirk's 61-yard scoring run and Lueckenhoff's extra-point upped the tally to 42-0 at the half.
With a running clock and liberal substitutions, the only scoring in the second half was Lueckenhoff's 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats walked off the soggy field with a 45-0 victory.
The Wildcats finished the game with 338 yards rushing on 45 carries. For the second straight week, Cassville committed no turnovers.
Dunker led the Cassville attack with 107 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Prater handled the ball four times and scored three touchdowns, while Gabe Kirk scored on his only run from scrimmage.
Thompson carried nine times for 58 yards and a score. Lueckenhoff impressed with his perfect night, hitting all six of his PAT attempts and connecting on a 28-yard field goal.
Cassville's signature defense chalked up the first shutout of the year. The Mustangs managed only one first down in the first half and did not cross midfield until the second half. Individual tackle counts don't begin to tell the story of the defensive unit. It seemed like every Mustang ball carrier went down in a pile of Wildcats.
On McDonald County's only real scoring threat, Prater broke through to disrupt a fourth-down run at the Cassville 26-yard line, and Jantsen Lynn went down in a sea of Wildcats for no gain.
Cassville's David Large wasted no time in pointing his players to the critical Big 8 Conference collision with Lamar on Friday.
"Now you've got the big game," he said emphatically. "They are legit, they are the real deal. Understand that."
Big 8 Shocker
But while Cassville was celebrating the win at McDonald County and Large was delivering his speech, the Lamar Tigers turned the ball over five times against the visiting Seneca Indians. Lamar wasted a 400-plus night of total offense and lost 13-6 as the Indians scored twice on long pass plays late in the game.
Aurora downed East Newton, 40-7 to improve to 2-0.
Mt. Vernon defeated Commerce, Okla., 28-14 and is now 2-0.
Monett had a big first half and held on to beat Neosho 29-7. The Cubs are now 1-1.
Webb City rolls
The Webb City Cardinals, a rare underdog at home to the Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber Wildcats, pulled out a 30-15 victory in an interstate bragging-rights game. Webb City posted a school-record 32nd consecutive victory, and a Missouri state record 83rd consecutive regular-season victory.
Pierce City downed Greenfield 27-6, and Sarcoxie beat Diamond 27-6.