Cox takes over reins as Cassville's quarterback

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Cassville's Leigh Cox throws a pass during the Wildcats' play at the Springfield Parkview jamboree Friday. Kyle Troutman editor@cassville-democrat.com

Former running back makes transition to signal caller

Cassville fans have been spoiled the last three seasons with Gabe Kirk in the backfield as quarterback.

With Kirk now graduated, the Wildcats were left with a hole at one of the prime positions on the field. However, the coaching staff believes Cassville has found a more than capable replacement -- senior Leigh Cox.

It was over winter break that Cox got a message from Lance Parnell, football head coach, about making a position switch from running back to quarterback.

"Leigh was our backup last year but really made an impression on us with the physical nature of his running ability," Parnell said. "Leigh is a great kid and decision-maker.

"He had a level head and doesn't get rattled under pressure. He just has those intangibles a coach is looking for in a quarterback."

Last season, Cox made his mark on the Wildcats offense as a running back. When he found out he was moving to quarterback, he knew it would be tough, but thought he could handle the situation.

"This transition has been harder than I thought," Cox said. "Before, all I had to know was my assignment and which direction to run. Now, I have to know where everybody is going."

Cox feels comfortable with running the option and credits his previous experience with making that transition smooth. However, he still feels that he has room to grow when it comes to throwing the ball.

Part of the issue comes from his love for baseball and the mechanics involved with pitching.

"The throwing motions are totally different," Cox said. "I spent the summer playing baseball and didn't spend much time on my football throwing. When I started [football] camp, I was trying to throw the ball like I would my curveball. There were a lot of ugly passes."

While the start may have been rocky for Cox, the growth and progress has been meteoric, according to his coach.

"I think our option game looked pretty smooth on Friday at the jamboree and Leigh made great decisions," Parnell said. "Every day, we have seen improvement with Leigh's throwing motion. He is the type of kid that won't give up until it is perfect."

When asked if he thought nerves would be an issue, Cox admitted that they would be.

"I get nervous before every game," he said. "I'm sure it will take me a play or two on Friday to calm down. Home games are a special event for us players. We can't wait."

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