Wildcat errors costly in loss to the CJ Bulldogs
Only trailing the host Bulldogs 14-7 at halftime and due to receive the second half kickoff, the Cassville Wildcats had a good feeling at Carl Junction on Friday, Sept. 23.
Except for allowing an 80-yard screen pass for a touchdown on Carl Junction's initial possession, the Wildcats played the Bulldogs dead even in the first two quarters.
Coach Lance Parnell's plan to limit the high-powered Bulldog offense with his own ball-control running game was successful to that point. The Wildcats appeared poised to nail down their first Big 8 Conference win.
But a nightmare start to the third quarter dashed all of Cassville's carefully laid plans.
A shanked punt and three turnovers on the first four possessions led to four Carl Junction touchdowns in just 15 offensive snaps in a span of less than three and a half minutes.
It was eerily reminiscent of the meltdown that Bobby Petrino's Western Kentucky team suffered against Tennessee just three weeks ago when the Hilltoppers turned the ball over five times in six plays against the Volunteers.
Carl Junction took advantage of the errors to turn a one-score game into a 42-7 running clock affair in the third quarter.
Cassville battled and cooled off the clock temporarily when Brent Thompson scored from 28 yards out with 9:36 to play in the fourth. Carl Junction's Keynan Scheurich tightroped the sideline on a 38-yard touchdown run, his fifth touchdown of the game, to give the Bulldogs a 49-14 lead with 3:30 to play.
That score reestablished the running clock and the Bulldogs celebrated their homecoming victory.
It was another frustrating loss for the Wildcats. Turnovers again ruined a chance for a conference win, just like they did the preceding week against Seneca.
Keynan Scheurich led the Bulldogs with more than 200 yards of total offense while finding the end zone five times. Heralded skill players Dustin Satterlee and Matt Magee also had strong performances.
Cassville's stat sheet was the ultimate anomaly. Both Brent Thompson and Hayden Prater rushed for over 100 yards, and the team totaled 283 yards on the night. But errors and turnovers were too much to overcome.
The Wildcats, now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the conference, must now regroup to host unbeaten Big 8 rival Monett for Homecoming on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.