Wildcats look to tame Indians
Cassville holds playoff future in its own hands
When the clock finally struck zero on Cassville's win over East Newton on Friday, Wildcats Coach Lance Parnell was able to take a breath and enjoy the feeling.
"Winning cures a lot of ailments," Parnell said. "I thought we played our most complete game of the season on Friday, and we saw several things that were a vast improvement over our four-game losing skid."
Parnell specifically pointed to the fact the team committed zero turnovers for the first time all season, the defense was solid on its tackling and the special teams play was outstanding.
All of these areas have been a source of concern at one point or another for the Wildcats this season.
With the regular season down to its final week, Parnell and the Wildcats have a lot on the line as they travel to Seneca on Friday.
For starters, their first-round district opponent will be determined by a win or a loss.
In the Class 3, District 4 pod, the top four seeds are set in stone. A win by the Wildcats sends them back to Mt.Vernon for a rematch of Week 7's heartbreaking road loss.
However, should Seneca win, Cassville goes to Aurora for a rematch of
the Week 1 thriller.
The Wildcats are also breaking in several new faces across the field. The biggest is freshman quarterback Shannon Haney.
"Shannon is getting better everyday," Parnell said. "Against East Newton, we gave him more responsibility. He has shown an ability to step up and we have faith and confidence in him as coaches."
Parnell described Seneca as a team that mirrors the Wildcats in size and talent.
Quarterback Derek Burr leads the Indian attack. Burr is 73-of-152 passing (48 percent) for 824 yards (103 per game). He has tossed eight touchdowns on the season.
Lance Hymer, a junior, leads the ground attack with 609 yards rushing (76.1 yards per game) and five scores.
Quentin Cotten and Zach Dunnam have combined to catch 53 passes for 596 yards and five touchdowns.
"Seneca is well-coached," Parnell said. "I have no doubt that we are going to be in a dog fight all night."
Keys for the Wildcats
* Stay grounded. Cassville's first order of business should be to establish the run.
* Sneak one in. Look for Parnell to run some form of trick play or wild formation. You want to throw something at the Indians that they have not seen before.
* Squeeze. Look for the Wildcats to dial up the defensive pressure. They don't want to allow Burr to sit in the pocket and find an open target.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.