Wildcats wrap up long 3-game road swing
Cassville reflects on challenges of travel
In the past three weeks, the Cassville football team has traveled 240 miles and spent about 10 hours on the bus going to away games at Mountain Grove, McDonald County and Lamar.
This week, the Wildcats are ready to return home.
Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach, said when approaching such long road swings, or any road game for that matter, Cassville likes to keep the team's schedule as consistent as possible.
"We try to approach it like a home game and make everything the same as a home game," he said. "If we are at home, we get to the field house at 4:50 p.m. So, if we are on the road, we try to arrive at our destination at 4:50 p.m. We have certain times we eat, then we get taped at 5 p.m. and go into lockdown at 5:30 p.m. to do our mental preparations."
Senior lineman Colton Dilbeck said the away games are long and rough, but Cassville players do all they can to play their best, no matter the location.
"[On the bus], we sit back and focus," he said. "We take our scouting reports and talk a little on the way up, but mostly, we are staying focused and getting our minds right."
Parnell said having such consistency week by week, no matter the location, is crucial to keeping the Wildcats focused and ready to overcome adversity on the road.
"In all three road games, we were faced with different adversity and situations the kids handled well," he said. "In Lamar, we played well in the first quarter, then we gave up back-to-back touchdowns on a punt return and interception.
"But, we got the ball back and drove to score, and that's something we are trying to build off of and use as a teaching point.
"The kids never quit when faced with adversity, and as a coach, that's something you always look for."
Cassville went 1-2 in the 3-game road swing, falling to state-ranked Mountain Grove and Lamar, and topping McDonald County.
Dilbeck said the highlight of the trio of games was getting that tally in the win column at McDonald County.
"Coming back from Mountain Grove and going to McDonald County to get the win was tough," he said.
Now, the Wildcats turn their heads to Wildcat Stadium Friday, where they will face Monett in the Barry County Brawl.
"It feels good to be back home," Parnell said. "We love to play at home. Any time you come off a tough road stretch and get a couple of home games back to back, it's a good thing."
"We are pretty happy to be back," Dilbeck said. "And our next game is at home against Monett, and that's a big rivalry."
Cassville and Monett square off Friday at 7 p.m.