For the love of the game
Cassville alumni driven to win football game
It starts about 6:20 p.m.
The first pickup truck begins its slow drive past the football practice facility at Cassville High School as it heads toward the parking lot. Then another truck passes, and another, and it looks like a slow parade of farmers and factory workers are descending upon the field house.
In less than 10 minutes, 12 trucks are in the parking lot and their drivers are stretching for a football practice.
On June 24, these Cassville alumni will take their collective talents to Monett for the full-contact Barry County Brawl: Alumni Edition.
A chance to play again is something that 2014 graduate Brent Thompson hopes will fill a void.
“As soon I saw the game posted, I knew I had to play,” Thompson said. “I play in all the flag football leagues around here, and I’ve stayed into it. I’ve always had that feeling of wanting to play just one more game, and this is that opportunity.”
Thompson said the practices are important to him in preparing for the rigors of four quarters of play.
“My hope in two weeks is that I can keep up stamina-wise,” Thompson said. “A lot of these guys [on the team] were playing when I was a kid. I used to watch them in high school. Guys like Tracy [Boley] graduated before I was even born. Cody Ricklefs was my Big Cat in school, so it’s just neat.”
While the nostalgia factor drives Thompson, for Tracy Boley, a 1993 graduate, and Zack Boley, a 2016 alumnus, this rare opportunity is allowing a dream to come true.
“With my boy on the team, it’s pretty special,” Tracy Boley said. “How many dads can say that they got to play a real football game with their son.”
For Zack Boley, the game is even sweeter.
“Growing up, you always heard their [game] stories,” Zach said. “Now, we get to go out and share one of our own.”
Tracy admitted he was not the best player in high school, but one thing he always did was try his best.
“That’s the way I always tried to play,” Zack said. “I wasn’t the biggest guy on the line so I just tried to get under guys and push hard.”
The alumni ‘Cats are practicing three times each week, on Monday and Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9-11 a.m.
Tracy said it was not a hard sell to convince him to play, but he was leery when he saw the initial announcement.
“I wanted to be involved, but wanted to make sure the game was not a scam,” he said. “Once it was verified that this game was real, I was on board. I always loved football and this is an opportunity to come back and play one more time.”
The Wildcats’ squad still has room for more players, and they want it known that all alumni are welcome.
People may visit the Cassville Alumni Team Facebook page for more details.
Advance game tickets can be purchased from any team member.
Tickets are $10 for ages 12-and-up, and $5 for ages 6-11. Children 5-and-under are free.
Adult tickets are the only tickets available in advance.
The group also wanted to thank Freedom Bank for its sponsorship of some of the Cassville Alumni Football players.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.