Pendergraft inks with Evangel
Wildcats wide receiver sticks with football, will play at next level
Cassville High School's Cade Pendergraft almost walked away from football his junior season.
For two years, he had labored and toiled on the freshmen and junior varsity teams, and he even questioned whether his heart was still in the game.
"My dad and I talked leading up to my junior season, and he wanted me to give it one more shot," Pendergraft said. "Our first game of the season was at Branson, I earned a varsity starting spot and started every game since then. I was hooked."
Over the next two seasons the wide receiver hauled in 15 passes for 388 yards and four touchdowns. He earned all-conference and all-region honors for his efforts.
Recently, Pendergraft's decision to continue playing football was rewarded with a scholarship to Evangel University in Springfield.
"Cade was our big play guy in the air the last two years," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "It's great to see him move on and get a chance to play at the college level."
Parnell noted Pendergraft's work ethic as being what sets him a part from most.
"Cade got better each year in our system," he said. "Little things like blocking on the edge and always hustling drove him to excel."
Pendergraft becomes the fourth Wildcat player to join the Crusader roster, along side Justin Pflug, Joseph Gouvion and Josh Carlton.
"That was a big factor in my decision," Pendergraft said about the local connections. "When I visited campus, it felt like home. I felt like I was a part of their family."
Danny Wernick, Evangels' quarterback and receiving coach, said Pendergraft's growth made the biggest impression on their staff.
"We recruit Cassville pretty heavy and had our eye on Cade," he said. "Watching him mature and continually get better made us feel comfortable in offering a scholarship."
Wernick and Parnell talked about Pendergraft being a high-character individual and adding value to both of their programs through his leadership.
"Cade led by example and set the tone with his actions," Parnell said. "You always knew what you were going to get with him in practice and in a game."
Pendergraft plans to major in Biology. He is the son of Russell Pendergraft, of Cassville.