Cassville lineman shines in Seneca stomping
Wildcats riding 2-game win streak, taking new attitude to Mt. Vernon
Senior lineman Colton Dilbeck is listed at 5-9 and 260 pounds, and if his fumble recovery and run in Seneca Friday is any indication, maybe he should get the pigskin more often.
In his last regular season contest with the Wildcats, and having never carried the ball in his four years on the squad, Dilbeck scooped up a Shannon Haney fumble after a first-down gain and rumbled to the 2-yard line, missing a touchdown by just a hair. The run was 52 yards, the second-most for any ball carrier in the game.
"I just wanted to go to the end zone," he said. "I'm not disappointed I didn't get in. It's still a big accomplishment, and it was awesome."
The exciting finish to the regular season is just another positive added onto the two-game win streak and strong past few weeks of practices. Coach Lance Parnell said he is liking the focus and intensity going into the postseason.
"It started the week after Mt. Vernon," he said. "You saw the seniors step up and they took practice with a different attitude. There has been a drastic improvement in the last three weeks."
Parnell said the team's focus and play has been more disciplined.
"We are playing fundamentally sound, especially in the last two weeks," he said. "Effort is something we preach, to never give up and to play until the last whistle blows."
That philosophy rewarded Cassville twice in the second half, the first time in the third quarter when Troy Rose made a touchdown-saving tackle on a loose Indian runner. On the next play, the Wildcats recovered a Seneca fumble and went on to get points from the turnover.
The second reward was when Wildcats already had a 28-point lead and River Phelps punched in the 2-yard score after Dilbeck's run, marking Phelps' fifth score of the contest.
"It's a guard's dream to get to carry the ball like [Dilbeck] did," Parnell said. "That was a big win for us."
Dilbeck said the 40-12 win over Seneca was right in line with expectations, especially with how practices have gone.
"What we [seniors] say, others on the team do," he said. "Others feed off of our play."
The Wildcats' win over Seneca kept them in a No. 5 slot, meaning they will head back to Mt. Vernon on Friday for a rematch of the Week 7 contest, the last time Cassville has lost.
Dilbeck said he's ready for the challenge.
"We've finally started playing some good football at the end of the season," he said.