MSHSAA tinkers with fall sports schedule

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
When the Cassville Wildcats football team storms the field next season at Aurora, they will do it earlier in the year than ever. Due to a rule change by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), the 2014 fall sports season will be move forward a full week. The addition will also lengthen the playoff season. Chuck Nickle Photography

Football season to be moved forward one week

Two years ago, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) altered the district football playoff system.

Outside of needing an abacus, ibuprofen and a degree in mathematical theory, many call it a success.

The greatest mystery remaining was the playoff schedule itself.

Assuming a team kept winning gridiron battles, the first round games were played on a Thursday then Wednesday, followed by a Monday game which resulted in a Saturday quarterfinal and Saturday semifinal.

MSHSAA has now stepped in and cleared up the playoff picture by moving the start of the 2014-15 sports season up one full week.

"Our Sports Medicine Advisory Board was concerned with the current football playoff structure," said Jason West, MSHSAA communications director. "The board felt that three games in a 10-day window exposed athletes to undue risk."

MSHSAA contemplated several scenarios to address the issue, including shortening the regular season by a week and lengthening the playoffs another week.

West stated that schools can begin fall practices on Aug. 4. The first football games will be held on Aug. 22.

"The extra week will not only benefit football, but all fall sports teams," said West. "It allows softball and soccer to spread games out and should make it easier for those teams to make up rained out or postponed games."

Cassville has already adjusted its 2014 falls sports schedules to take advantage of the new rules.

The early start means all the playoff football games will now be on Fridays.

Also, the tennis and golf state championships will be moved up a week. Volleyball and cross-country state titles will be separated and held on consecutive weekends. The football state championships will still be held the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The Cassville Wildcats football team will open the season on Aug. 15 with a trip to Springfield for the annual jamboree.

The Wildcats' first regular season game is Aug. 22 at home against Aurora. A home matchup with Mountain Grove on Aug. 29 concludes the month.

On Sept. 5, Cassville hosts Big 8 Conference newcomer McDonald County, then three-time defending Class 2 champion Lamar the following week. Road games at Monett and Carl Junction await the black and gold on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26, respectively.

An October home game against Mt. Vernon on Oct. 3 and a road match at East Newton on Oct. 10 greet Cassville in the final regular season month before hosting Seneca in the season finale on Oct. 17.

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