Rematch for Wildcats to open 2nd season
Cassville puts season on the line against Mt. Vernon
After nine weeks of ups and downs, the season comes down to a series of one-game playoffs where the rules are simple -- win and advance, lose and go home.
For the Cassville football team, a three-game winning streak is on the line, a streak that ironically began with a come-from-behind win over Mt. Vernon in Week 6.
Now, the Wildcats have the unenviable task of trying to knock off the Mountaineers for the second time in one season.
"It's a very hard thing to do," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach, about beating the same team twice in a year. "We aren't strangers to seeing playoff teams that we faced in the regular season."
The Wildcats' and Mountaineers' seasons almost mirrored each other. Both had difficult schedules to start the year, and both enter the playoffs on winning notes.
Cassville's improved play can be attributed to three key items: growth of younger players, injured players returning and extra coaching help from an unexpected source.
The Wildcats lost four seniors, Chase Jackson, Justin Dunivant, Isaih Phinney and Cody Olsen, to season-ending injuries, but they still found a way to help.
"All of our seniors have become coaches, but those four took it to a new level," Parnell said. "They work like an extra set of coaches.
"Instead of just standing on the sidelines, they are teaching and helping the younger players any way they can."
As for the Wildcats' game plan, Parnell said that it is business is usual.
"We aren't going to try to out-wrinkle or run trick plays," Parnell said. "We want to be better the second time we face Mt. Vernon than [we were] the first time we played them."
Keys for Cassville
* Be yourself: Cassville knows what it did well and proved that it can score on the Mountaineers. Look for the Wildcats to go back to the well of plays with which they found success.
* Defense: The Wildcats must stop the Mountaineer running game. If they do that, they will be district semifinal-bound.
* Strong start: Look for the Wildcats to bring more pressure on defense and stack the box.
Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.