Wildcats ready to go jamming

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Cassville's Andrew Berndt works on his kicking form during practice last week for the Wildcats. Chuck Nickle Special to the Cassville Democrat

Cassville faithful to get first look at gridiron Wildcats Friday

High school football in Missouri starts unofficially Friday night with the annual football jamborees getting underway.

What, in reality, is nothing more than a glorified practice, the jamboree gives coaches a chance to evaluate their respective teams.

Jay Rogers, Cassville line coach, drills the Wildcats during their first full week of practice. Cassville will unveil its team on Friday in the annual football jamboree in Springfield. Chuck Nickle Special to the Cassville Democrat

Cassville hit the road for its jamboree in Springfield with Parkview, Willard and Bolivar.

"We have a little change to our four-team field," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "Neosho, for just this year, is going to Mt. Vernon, so we will face Bolivar instead."

According to Parnell, there are plenty of questions for the Wildcats going into Friday night's event, and the coaching staff hopes to answer several of them.

"We always use these games as a measuring stick for our program," Parnell said. "All we have done to this point is see each other. We want to see how we stack up when we face a bigger line like Willard."

Specifically, Parnell has his eye on four areas: quarterback, offensive and defensive lines, secondary and linebacker.

"We have a first-year starter at quarterback, [Leigh Cox], and I want to see how he does under fire," Parnell said. "We are counting on him to lead this team. Our secondary is completely rebuilt. I am comfortable with the athletes we have back there. Now, we need to see them tested."

Cassville knows this season's success hinges on the play of the offensive and defensive lines.

"I think our lines could be a strength for us this year," Parnell said. "We have a couple of new starters on each side of the ball and we need to break them in."

Parnell singled out outside linebacker Zane Everett as a player for Wildcat fans to watch on Friday nights.

"Zane has had a great summer in the weight room and at our camps," Parnell said. "He was solid for us last year and all I have seen him do is get progressively better this year."

Parnell and his coaching staff preach leadership and accountability nearly every day in practice. The seniors, according to their coach, have taken this message to heart.

"Our players, especially this senior class, have embraced their leadership roles," Parnell said. "Without strong leaders, teams struggle in pressure situations. We are young in several spots on the field, and we want to see who can step up and fill those gaps. We need those older guys to be our leaders on and off the field."

The jamboree at JFK Stadium is slated to begin at 7 p.m.

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