Wildcats come home to entertain winless Patriots

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Cassville junior River Phelps (No. 23) follows a couple blockers, including senior Leigh Cox (No. 2) on a run during the Wildcats' loss to Mt. Vernon Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville still 
experimenting with lineup to fill holes

A week ago, Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach, made a veiled, yet revealing statement when he informed Wildcat Nation it would see some new faces on the field against Mt. Vernon.

The Wildcats unveiled their new look with freshman Shannon Haney at quarterback, which allowed Leigh Cox to move back to his familiar running back role.

"Shannon did a good job," Parnell said. "Leigh is the ultimate team player and was willing to do whatever is best for the team. At the start of the season, we needed him to be our quarterback, and now, we needed him to be our running back."

Haney was one of six freshmen to see extended varsity minutes for Parnell against the Mountaineers.

"Part of it is necessity," he said. "But also, these boys have proven that they are ready for the challenge of Friday night."

The shakeup seemed to help the battered and bruised football team, although Cassville lost a heartbreaking 23-16 decision to Mt. Vernon on Friday. Cox rushed for 140 yards and Haney was solid directing the offense.

However, Cassville has moved past the loss and has its sight squarely set on winless East Newton this week.

The Patriots (0-7) have scored a total of 19 points this season (2.7 points per game). By comparison, the Wildcats have mustered 111 total points (15.8 points per game).

The Patriots average 127 yards rushing and 53.5 yards passing per game.

"East Newton plays hard the entire game," Parnell said. "You watch film and you see them playing just as hard at the end of the game as they do at the beginning. The way our season has gone, we aren't looking past anyone."

The Patriots run a single-wing offense similar to Lamar, counting on misdirection to create yards.

Quarterback Chance Liveoak leads the team in rushing with 241 yards on 77 carries (3.1 yards per attempt).

Coleman Booker is second with 157 yards on 48 attempts (3.3 yards per carry).

Keys for Cassville

* Score early. The Wildcats need to take control of this game early and not let East Newton hang around.

* Comfort zone. Look for the playbook to expand for Haney this week. After weathering his first test, he is now ready to add to his base package of skills.

* Don't stop. Look for Cassville to unleash a season's worth of frustration against East Newton.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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