Wildcats in dire need of win Friday

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Leigh Cox rolls out of the pocket in search of a lane during the Wildcats' game against Carl Junction on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville, Mt. Vernon to 
battle for home playoff game

The Cassville football team enters Friday night in dire need of positive results on the gridiron.

It has been three weeks since the Wildcats have tasted the sweet nectar of victory, and they have watched as starters have succumbed to injuries on the field.

"You know I don't like to talk about our injuries," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "I'll just say that our fans will see some more new faces in our lineup on Friday."

The Wildcats (2-4) travel to Mt. Vernon (2-4), who is fresh off a 56-0 thrashing of winless East Newton.

The game looms large for both teams. A Cassville win keeps the Wildcats in firm control of the No. 3 district seed due, to the automatic flip rule being brought on by their head-to-head win over Aurora.

However, a Mt. Vernon win allows

the Mountaineers to leapfrog the Wildcats in the district points race and would virtually assure Cassville of a road playoff game in Week 10.

However, the playoffs are a long way from Parnell's mind right now.

"We just need to find a way to win a ballgame right now," he said. "I see positive things happening on the field, but we need to string more plays together with more consistency."

Mt. Vernon comes into the game with a land-and-air combination of running back Payton Oehlschlager and quarterback Garrett Hadlock.

"Payton is a big downhill style runner," Parnell said. "He has the ability to run through tackles at will. Hadlock is seeing the field well and is throwing the ball with confidence."

Parnell said the pressure will once again be on his defense to make the critical stops.

Cassville also is making changes to its offense. To compensate for the lack of running back depth, Parnell is going to go to the air a little more than he would like this week.

"I think we have some kids we can put in spots to be successful in the air," he said. "I'm not saying we throw it 40 times, but you'll see us use the pass to keep Mt. Vernon from loading the box."

Keys for the Wildcats

* First things first. The Wildcats need to move the chains on offense. Cassville need to generate 14 or more first downs to win this game.

* Stop the run. Oehlschlager is one of the more underrated running backs in the Big 8 Conference. Shutting him down is the key to any hope of victory.

* Next man up. With the injury bug pestering the Wildcats, the young players must step up if they want to hold on to their district seed.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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