Wildcats look to rebound from Week 1 loss

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Cassville's Riley Fletcher goes in for a block during the Wildcats' loss to Lamar on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville disappointed in 50-0 scoreline, look to be more focused

Even though Lamar is a five-time state champion, Cassville's football coach was not expecting to be defeated by a 50-0 scoreline.

Coach Lance Parnell said going into the game, the Wildcats knew they could not give the Tigers many chances, and Lamar took advantage of minor Wildcat mistakes early.

"You can't give Lamar an inch, and we gave them a mile," he said. "To sum it up, we got our tail ends kicked all over the field. It all goes back to how they controlled the line on both sides of the ball."

Cassville struggled to move the ball offensively against a physical Lamar line, a point exemplified by running back River Phelps leading the charge with only 50 yards on the ground and in the air combined.

"For us to be successful, we have to play a short game," Parnell said. "We had to get 3 or 4 yards each play, and they took that away from us.

"We found out [against Lamar] we have a boatload to work on going into Friday."

Along with looking to improve on its line, Cassville is also hoping to cut down on mental mistakes. Two good kickoff returns came from Troy Rose and Garrett Knight, but Rose's was called back for a hold and Knight's was called back for a block in the back.

"That's just discipline," Parnell said. "You have 10 of 11 guys out there doing the right thing, and one that loses that focus. We've got to clean that up."

Parnell said practice this week will key in on discipline.

"[Penalties] turn into running," he said. "When you run in practice, that gets you focused and eliminates [those penalties]."

Despite the scoreline and difficulties on offense and with penalties, Parnell said the team will take away the bright spots from the game as well. Lamar went up 43-0 in the first half, which created a running clock in the second half.

"I told the boys at halftime we couldn't control the 43 points on the board," he said. "We'll find the positives and coaching points to make us better."

One of the benefits of the running clock and large scoreline was Parnell being able to play younger players in the second half, allowing his older guys to rest.

"We got some young kids in the second and third units, and they got some good playing time," he said. "We're moving on to Week 2 healthy, and we'll go back to work and get better."

Parnell said he told the team he was disappointed in the scoreline, and he was not the only one in Wildcat gear upset with how the game turned out.

"Devin Phelps was not happy I took him out in the third quarter, but when I talked to him, he understood," Parnell said. "It's a long season. Hats off to him as a competitor."

Cassville hosts its home opener on Friday, taking on a Reeds Spring team that ousted the Wildcats from the district playoffs last year. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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