Battered 'Cats to host 5-0 Bulldogs

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another ranked 
opponent awaits Cassville football team

No one can ever accuse Cassville of playing a watered down football schedule this season.

For the fourth time in six weeks, the Wildcats will face a state-ranked team.

History, this season, is not favoring the 2-3 Cassville squad, as all three losses have come to teams with a top-10 mark, including Mountain Grove, Lamar and Monett.

On Friday, the No. 2 team in Class 4, undefeated Carl Junction (5-0, 4-0), comes calling, and an already battered and bruised Cassville must summon the energy to defend their home turf on homecoming night.

"You watch the Bulldogs on tape and you see why they are ranked," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "They have speed all over the field and can hit you from so many angles."

The Bulldogs come into the contest averaging over 400 yards of total offense (241.5 rushing and 181.8 passing) and 51.4 points per game.

Dominnic Burnett, a 5-8, 155-pound running back, has rushed for 711 yards this season and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 142.2 yards and 11.9 yards per carry each game.

Quarterback Ryan Devore has thrown for 843 yards and completed 63 percent of his passes, 52-of-82. He has tossed 11 touchdowns and is averaging 16.2 yards per completion.

Evan Hutcheson leads the Bulldogs in receiving with 19 catches for 321 yards and four scores. Carl Junction has five receivers with 11 or more catches on the year.

By comparison, Allen Lambell leads the Wildcats in receptions with five.

"We have our work cut out for us," Parnell said. "We have to be ready for a physical game."

One theme the Wildcats have to break in their current slump is a dearth of offensive point. In their three losses they have managed just 18 total points, exactly six against each team.

To make matters worse, two members of the three-headed option attack are injured, and quarterback Leigh Cox is still dinged from the Monett game.

Parnell mentioned no team at this stage of the season is 100 percent, and he would not let the excuse of injuries speak for his team's play on the field.

"We are a team, we win and lose that way," he said. "Our guys are going to give Carl Junction our best effort."

The Wildcats have seen growth in several players.

Parnell said Troy Rose has grown in the Wildcat's secondary and become a good open field tackler.

He also pointed to Kane Kellner's transition from the defensive line to middle linebacker as positive.

"We have guys stepping up and picking the slack up," Parnell said. "We just keep running into dang good football teams."

Cassville's opponents to this point in the season have a combined 23-7 record. The next closest is Mt. Vernon with a 17-12 mark.

Carl Junction's first six opponents are a combined 9-21.

Keys for the Wildcats

* Three at a time. The Wildcats must average three yards per play and keep the chains and clock moving.

* Avoid the four minute meltdown. The last two years, the Wildcats have given the Bulldogs all they can handle, with the exception of a two- to four-minute period when the Bulldogs have scored 28 points each time to blow the game open.

* Protect the house. Cassville is always tough at home. They will need to live up to the hype come Friday.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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