Wildcats seeking different outcome at Mt. Vernon

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
After catching the toss from quarterback Shannon Haney, senior Leigh Cox prepares to send a halfback pass to Allen Lambel, which set up one of River Phelps' five scores in Cassville's win over Seneca Friday. Kyle Troutman editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville aiming to advance in district playoffs

The word Cassville football Coach Lance Parnell hates most is -- almost.

For instance, Parnell's Wildcats almost beat Mt. Vernon in Week 7. His offense almost got his defense the lead with four minutes left in the game and his defense almost made some plays to send the game to overtime.

But, as Cassville fans know, it did not happen, and instead of hosting a first-round district playoff game, the Wildcats, for the first time in three seasons, must hit the road for the first round of the district playoffs.

To make things even more interesting, the first obstacle in Cassville's path is the same Mt. Vernon team that defeated the Wildcats 23-16 on Oct. 2.

"I don't think we change our game plan much going back up there," Parnell said. "We just need to execute better than we did the first time. They hit some pass plays over the top, we missed some tackles and we couldn't score when we needed it most. That isn't a good recipe to win football games."

Parnell believes that his team is better-prepared this time around to face the Mountaineers.

For starters, the Wildcats get the services of Will Edmondson back on defense. Parnell also said that the return of a healthy Garrett Knight also makes his defense better.

Offensively, Cassville's backfield of Leigh Cox, River Phelps and quarterback Shannon Haney is clicking.

"Those guys are getting better each game as a unit," Parnell said. "We finally have some depth back there and can rotate guys in and out."

Parnell joked that the team had petitioned the Missouri State High School Activities Association to make Colton Dilbeck's No. 56 an eligible running back number after his fumble recovery and run at Seneca.

"Colton has some speed," Parnell said. "I wished he had scored on the play. He'll just have to be happy playing on the line."

Playing on the road was something that will not bother the Wildcats according to their coach.

"It really does not matter," Parnell said. "Our focus is on winning the game."

Keys for the Wildcats

* D is the key. Cassville's secondary cannot afford to get burnt again if the Wildcats want to see Week 11. Look for Parnell to apply pressure to the Mt. Vernon quarterback.

* Focus and finish. Cassville must move the ball and chew minutes off the clock and those drives must end in points.

* Something special. Parnell can be sneaky. Fans should not be surprised if a trick play or two is called.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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