Improved Mustangs await Wildcats Friday

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Leigh Cox (No. 2) and Kyle Ruark (No. 49) tackle a runner during the Wildcats' 15-6 loss to Mountain Grove Friday. Kyle Troutman

Cassville aims to fix mental mistakes before next game

It did not take Cassville Coach Lance Parnell and his staff long to draw one quick conclusion after watching film of the McDonald County Mustangs this week.

"They're improved from last year," Parnell said. "They have a lot more team speed and they can move the ball in the air."

Cassville's Troy Rose goes for an interception during the Wildcats' 15-6 loss to Mountain Grove Friday. Kyle Troutman

Parnell told his players to forget about the Mustangs' 0-2 record and the fact that they have beat McDonald County the last three seasons by 35 or more points.

"[McDonald County] lost to Aurora 56-21 last week, but the game was a lot closer than that score," he said. "I can tell you right now, they believe they can win on Friday."

Parnell did not hold back his displeasure of his squad's performance against Mountain Grove.

He specifically pointed to three turnovers, a botched extra point and to

mental mistakes on defense that led to two big Panther plays.

"You can't commit those types of mistakes and expect to come out on top in close ballgames," Parnell said. "We have to clean that up this week in practice and work on putting ourselves in better positions to win."

Steven Hunter (No. 42) attempts to tackle a runner during the Wildcats' 15-6 loss to Mountain Grove Friday. Kyle Troutman

The Wildcat coaching staff feels like their secondary has improved over the last two weeks, but he also knows they will be tested against the Mustangs.

McDonald County has put the ball in the air 60 times in the first two weeks of the season and completed 50 percent of those passes for 272 yards (9.1 per catch) and three touchdowns.

McDonald County quarterback Kennedy Hodson is 22-for-46 (48 percent), with 225 yards in the air.

"We have to account for his arm," Parnell said. "They aren't afraid to get physical and try to run at you. It should be a good game."

Keys for Cassville

* Establish the tempo. The Wildcats are at their best when they can methodically move the ball down the field.

* Hold fast. Parnell said that the team would be focusing on ball security this week in practice. If the lessons are not learned, next week's practices may not be so pretty.

* Pressure. Look for Parnell to bring the heat this week and not let McDonald County pick them apart in the secondary.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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