Cassville heads into 2nd half of season

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Personnel issues, tackling on Wildcats' minds

A 2-3 record at the midway point of the season is not what the Wildcats football team had in mind.

With Cassville giving up two straight 30-point games, the team is are looking to turn the season around, beginning with Friday's homecoming game against Carl Junction.

"There have been some positives, and we'd like to be better than 2-3, but we played a tough first half of the season with our schedule," said Lance Parnell, Cassville head coach. "Even though we've given up back-to-back 30-point games, we are still performing well."

Parnell said the Wildcats are looking to get people in the right places offensively, something the team struggled with against Monett in the Barry County Brawl Friday.

"We had some personnel issues that dinged us up, and we were put in a position we had to do stuff we did not want to do," Parnell said. "But the kids fought hard and stayed in the ballgame until late.

"Offensively, we are still trying to get people in the right places, and we hope to do that in this last half of the season so we can play our best football late."

Junior Troy Rose said the first half of the season, which included three consecutive road games encompassing more than 240 miles and nearly 10 hours of travel, had its ups and downs.

"It could have went better, and we are going to have to tackle better," he said. "We

have to get more physical and move the ball on offense a little more."

Although he is pleased with the defense's play and progression this year, Parnell said tackling is still a focal point for his Wildcats.

"I haven't felt we've tackled well all year long," he said. "We put an emphasis on it in practice last week, and we'll continue to put an emphasis on it this week. I saw several players improve in their tackling on Friday night, so that's something we have to continue to work on. It's a fundamental part of the game."

Rose said the key to bringing down the opponent will be simple.

"We have to be physical and create turnovers, and wrap up and hit low," he said. "But, we never quit fighting and we keep pushing."

Friday also marked a different kind of reunion for Cassville, as former Wildcat coaches Derrek Uhl and Kyle Wood were on the sidelines, except in different colors. Uhl is Monett's first-year head coach, and when he took the Monett job, Wood joined him as defensive coordinator.

"We don't think about that during the game," Parnell said of facing off against his former colleagues. "We are all friends and have been for a long time, so for 364 days out of the year we are friends, and for one day, we are competitors."

The Wildcats return home again on Friday, hosting Carl Junction for homecoming. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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