Wildcats rumble past East Newton, 42-0
By Lee Stubblefield
The Wildcat senior football players celebrated "Senior Night" by Giving David Large his 100th win as Cassville's head football coach. His 100-26 record at Cassville computes to a 0.793651 winning percentage
After going to halftime with just a 14-0 advantage, the Wildcats scored four touchdowns in the second half while shutting out the Patriots, extending their perfect season record to 7-0 with a 42-0 victory.
The decisive third quarter slammed the door on any upset hopes the Patriots might have had.
After missing two weeks of play with an injury, starting quarterback Gabe Kirk looked a little rusty at first. His passing stats got well in a hurry in the third quarter, as Kirk completed two screen passes to Brent Thompson and watched the junior running back do the rest.
Thompson scored from 51 yards out on the first screen play to give Cassville a 28-0 lead midway through the third quarter. On the next possession for the Wildcats, Thompson accepted a middle screen toss from Kirk and gained 14 yards on third down and 12 to keep the drive alive, a drive that would end with Cassville owning a 35-0 lead.
The Patriots played a strong first half and actually had the edge in total yardage at the quarter break 48 to 39. East Newton dressed fewer than 30 players for the varsity contest, and the inevitable exhaustion of playing both ways with rare substitutions caught up with the visitors in the second half.
East Newton played keep away in the first quarter running off two drives of eight and 15 plays, respectively.
Although the Patriots could not score, the four-down mentality of their offensive scheme kept the potent Cassville offense cooling its heels on the sidelines.
The Wildcats took advantage of field position in the first half to build a 14-0 lead. Hayden Prater charged into the end zone from three yards out to finish a six-play, 39-yard drive at the 4:51 mark of the opening quarter. Then Thompson pushed his way into the end zone from a yard out with less than two minutes left in the half.
Cassville scored on its first four possessions of the second half to erase any hopes the winless Patriots had of a comeback.
Cassville finished the night with 347 yards of total offense.
Gabe Kirk completed four of his eight passes for 88 yards.
Prater ran for 76 yards on nine carries and scored a pair of touchdowns to lead the Wildcats in rushing. Garrett Kirk had four carries for 75 yards, all in the second quarter. As a team, Cassville ran the ball 42 times for 259 yards.
After outgaining Cassville in the first quarter, East Newton struggled to move the ball. The Patriots finished with only 55 yards on 35 rushing attempts. Quarterback Rocky Liveoak completed four of nine passes with one interception for a total of 37 yards.
Cassville's defense recorded its third shutout of the season.
With the victory, Cassville is assured of no worse than a tie for the Big 8 Conference championship. The Wildcats are also poised to be the top seed in the new district playoff format.
In other Big 8 action, the Lamar Tigers drummed Monett, 42-6 Mt. Vernon defeated Aurora, 20-14, in a seesaw battle and Seneca rolled past Carl Junction, 54-14.
Upcoming action on Friday night has Cassville (7-0, 5-0) playing at Aurora (3-4, 2-3), Lamar (6-2, 3-2) visiting East Newton (0-7, 0-5), Seneca (4-3, 3-2) traveling to Monett (4-3, 2-3) and Mt. Vernon (5-2, 3-2) going to Carl Junction (2-5, 2-3).