Cassville focused on taking next step
Upset-minded Patriot squad invades Wildcat Nation
Relieved was the word Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach, said best described his demeanor after the Wildcats' win over Reeds Spring on Friday.
After Cassville's (1-1, 0-1) 50-0 loss to Lamar in Week 1, the head coach had his doubts about how his team would respond.
"Everything we did last week, from the way we practiced, to our mindset was different. It was more focused," Parnell said. "The boys showed their maturity. I told them after the Reeds Spring game that we have taken that first step to getting better and reaching our goals. East Newton is a chance to do exactly that-- take another step."
Parnell said there's one thing that immediately stands out about the Patriots in their improvement over last year.
"East Newton is one of those teams that you're glad they don't have more players," Parnell said. "They can hit and always play tough. Coach [Jamie] LaSalle has got their numbers up, and you can see they are still playing hard despite the 0-2 record."
The Wildcats are also looking to avoid a letdown after and emotional and hard-fought victory.
The last time East Newton defeated Cassville was a 35-8 topping in 2002 in David Large's first season at the helm. Since that loss, the Wildcats have owned the series, winning every annual conference game and an additional playoff meeting. They have outscored the Patriots 553-137 in the process.
For East Newton, the season has been about finding victories in their play first, before they consider the outcome of the game.
"We are focused on controlling the thing we can improve upon," LaSalle said. "Last week, we had zero turnovers against Lamar and no penalties. We find those victories that we can build on, and then we get to winning games."
LaSalle said the tape of Cassville's win was impressive.
"You have to be able to stop [River] Phelps and make someone else beat you," LaSalle said. "The biggest thing that stood out was the defensive line play. In order for us to have success, we have to move those guys around."
Parnell said the Wildcats are spending this week trying to fix some issues with their special teams.
"We are still missing some assignments," Parnell said. "Defensively, we pursued the ball much better against Reeds Spring, and I would like to see that continue to improve as well."
* Big plays are always welcome
Cassville hit three long scoring plays against Reeds Spring in the win a week ago. Those types of momentum plays would go a long way toward taking the wind out of the Patriots' sails on Friday.
* Power trenches
This game is tailor-made for the Wildcats to show that they can control both the offensive and defensive trenches. Look for Cassville to get big up front.
* Air it out
Cassville still has some work to do in its passing game. Look for the Wildcats to throw the ball a bit more in this game.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.