Wildcats welcome mirror image

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The Wildcats prepare to kickoff the game against Monett on Friday night. Jacob Brower/jbrower@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville takes aim at Seneca in Big 8 battle

Monday practice came for the Cassville football team, and the Wildcats went back to work.

The Black and Gold, despite coming up a point short on the scoreboard, felt good about their efforts at Monett.

Cassville Coach Lance Parnell instructs his team during a timeout at the Barry County Brawl on Friday. Jacob Brower/jbrower@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville racked up 296 yards rushing and did not turn the ball over. The team also matched the Cubs physicality.

Ready to put the events of the Barry County Brawl behind them, the Cassville football team (4-2, 2-2) welcomes a Seneca (3-3, 2-2) squad that bears a striking resemblance to the Wildcats.

"They're a veer-option look on offense," said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. "When you watch film, they are running the same plays we are."

On defense, Seneca still is in its familiar 4-4 base look according to Parnell.

The Indians have had a roller coaster ride this season with a season-opening win at Nevada. Losses to East Newton, Osage and Mt. Vernon were tempered with wins against McDonald County and Aurora.

While there is no doubt the Wildcats are improved from week one until now, the squad still sees room to improve on Friday against Seneca.

The biggest opportunity for improvement is in the passing game.

Quarterback Shannon Haney has only attempted 36 passes this season. Against Monett, he has one incomplete pass and was sacked once.

With teams now keying in on the fact that the Wildcats struggle to throw, the box will continue to see eight or nine bodies.

"We've said it since week one, we need to be able to throw the ball this season," Parnell said. "We didn't feel comfortable with throwing against Monett, and the fact we were having success on the ground took some of those [pass] calls away."

Cassville does not need to be a prolific passing team, but the Wildcats do need to be able to keep other defenses honest.

With the a win over the Indians, Cassville can finish no worse than fourth in the district standings and will guarantee itself a home playoff game in week 10.

Keys for Cassville

* Toss it around a bit

The Wildcats need to attempt three to five passes a game to establish some sort of throwing threat. The lack of a vertical passing game hurt against Monett.

* Be big up front

This game will be decided in the trenches. The Wildcats should be able to get pressure against a slightly smaller Seneca line, but the Indians have speed at the skill positions.

* Three and out

Cassville's defense must force teams to punt and get off the field. The Wildcats cannot afford to give up first downs on third or fourth downs.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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