Wildcats set to battle 
top-ranked Lamar

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cassville aims to end losing skid to Tigers

Over the last five seasons, the Lamar football team has lost just five conference football games.

The last two seasons, it was Carl Junction who tripped up the mighty Tigers. Seneca scored a 14-7 victory two seasons ago, leaving only two other defeats, each coming at the hands of Cassville.

The Wildcat seniors were freshman the last time the Black and Gold scored a victory over the Tigers, a 31-0 decision in 2012. Since that game, Lamar has earned back-to-back shutout wins (48-0 and 49-0) over Cassville.

"They are a team that plays with a lot of confidence and swagger," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "Their players expect to win. If we had won four consecutive state titles, I would expect our athletes to play with that type of confidence."

Last week, Parnell's Wildcats got back on the winning track with a 42-14 win over McDonald County, a game the Wildcats needed to show improvement and win after dropping a Week 2 decision to state-ranked Mountain Grove.

"I thought we did a better job of sustaining our blocks and getting to the second level," Parnell said. "The line was more physical and gave our backs some running lanes."

With the positives that come from a win under their belts, the Wildcats turn their attention to a team that has already rushed for 1,000 yards in just three games.

"Lamar is pretty simple in their approach," Parnell said. "They line up, run right at you and dare you to stop them. The only way to beat their attack is to be more physical than their line."

Parnell said his defensive line must attack on every play.

"You can't sit back and try to read their offense," he said. "Guys would be running into each other. You have to take the fight to them and wrap up."

The Wildcats also must move the ball to give their defensive unit a rest.

"The longer we can keep Lamar's offense on the sideline, the better our chance to win will be," Parnell said. "We have to value every possession and treat them like must-score drives."

In Week 2, Lamar struggled early against Monett in a 29-12 victory, but finally pulled away, thanks to two long runs by Damon Embry.

"Lamar has three or four backs that can score on any play," Parnell said. "You have to account for them all. If we can have success in the trenches, it will be a long night."

Keys for Cassville

* Get big. This game will be won and lost based upon Cassville's ability to stop Lamar's running attack.

* Air attack. Monett had success against Lamar's man coverage. The Tigers love to load the box and dare teams to throw on them.

* Win the field position battle. All-State kicker Todd Morrow has 17 touchbacks in 25 kickoffs this season for the Tigers. Most high school teams struggle to drive the ball 80 yards to score. Cassville must find a way to stay ahead in the field position game.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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