Wildcats developing throwing game

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Cassville quarterback Shannon Haney avoids a tackle during the Wildcats' 42-16 win over East Newton on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Sophomore QB hits passing TDs in consecutive games

Known for years for a ground-and-pound style, the Cassville football team (2-1, 1-1), behind the arm and leadership of sophomore quarterback Shannon Haney, is looking to air the ball out a little more than fans are used to seeing this season.

In the Wildcats' last two home wins, 26-6 over Reeds Spring and 42-16 over East Newton, Haney has hit consecutive touchdown strikes. He found senior River Phelps for a 64-yard score against the Wolves, and on Friday, found senior Troy Rose for a 32-yard toss to paydirt.

Cassville sophomore Zack Burton chases after East Newton's quarterback during the Wildcats' win at home on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

"Right now, we're working a lot on the passing game," he said. "We've been trying to spread teams out more and I hope later in the season to be passing more."

Both scores so far this season required the seniors to find big yards after the catch, but Haney said the only reason for not going long is the defensive fronts Cassville is being shown.

"[Where we pass] all depends on the defense," he said. "Every play, we look at what their defense is doing, so if it's given to us, there's a good shot we'll convert some long throws in the future."

Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach, said scouting plays a big role in where and when the Wildcats air out the ball.

"You take what they give you, and that's something we address in our scouting reports," Parnell said. "[That short pass to Rose] happened to be what was given to us [Friday]."

Parnell said even though Haney is only a sophomore, he is taking a leadership role in the Wildcats' offense.

"I always talk to him before the games and I can see him starting to mature," Parnell said. "Him just being relaxed is the big thing. In Week 1 against Lamar, he was really tight, but now, he's getting more confident, and we are trying to put more on his shoulders because he can handle it."

Parnell said that leadership role is a given for any quarterback, no matter the age.

"When you play quarterback, that's your role whether you're a freshman or a senior," he said. "Shannon is stepping more into that leadership role, which can be hard for a sophomore, but he's doing a really good job."

Haney said there are little things to learn here and there, but he's keeping pace.

"There are a lot of small things I've been picking up, but the game is the same," he said. "Football hasn't changed, and I'm taking it one game at a time."

That one-game-at-a-time attitude is reflective of the Wildcats' new philosophy -- step by step.

"We're seeing the season not as two wins in a row, but just one step at a time," Haney said. "We are going into next week 0-0, and we need to always get a first win to start the season off right."

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