Wildcats to open Big 8 play

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Cassville’s Garret Knight breaks up a Wolves pass during the Wildcats’ road win Friday. Knight recorded six tackles in the game. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Road test awaits Cassville in Granby

Coaches are fond of saying, “It is not how you start, but how you finish that counts.”

During Friday’s 39-28 win over Reeds Spring, the Wildcats (1-1) got off to a good start. On the first three, drives Cassville scored, forced a three and out, then created a turnover. But then, the first half wheels fell off.

Cassville’s Anthony Tolbert catches a pass over the middle on the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage in a 39-28 win over Reeds Spring Friday. Tolbert tallied two scores in the game. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

“We just stopped executing on both sides of the ball,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “We go into halftime down one instead of holding a lead.”

Parnell said the speech at halftime was an attention getter.

“I challenged our team to step up and take ownership and become leaders,” Parnell said. “Our attitude determines our intensity, and I told them that the choice was theirs.”

A 25-point scoring surge on the second half proved that the team got the message loud and clear.

“The only difference between the first and second half was the fact that we executed on both side of the ball in the third and fourth quarters,” Parnell said. “Our kids responded, and I felt that we got better and that they got the point that they have to play hard for four quarters.”

On Friday, the Wildcats will get a chance to prove that they can put four quarters together as they travel to East Newton.

“It’s a Big 8 road football game and there are no easy games in the Big 8,” Parnell said. “Coach Wolfe is mixing formations on the film we have watched, and he is getting the ball to his speed guy any way he can.”

The Patriots’ point man this season has been receiver Dustin McDermont.

“McDermont is a fast kid with a little size,” Parnell said. “He will give any team they play fits. He is a downhill runner.”

The Wildcats are also looking to avoid a letdown after an 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 658-168 in the process.

Keys for Cassville

• Quick start

Cassville cannot afford to keep playing from behind. The team is full of potential and promise. It is time for that to rise to the surface in all four quarters. Look for the Wildcats to try to get off to a quick start.

• Stack the box

With a young Patriot team on the field, Cassville should stack the box and force the Patriots to beat them in the air.

• No turnovers

This is Coach Parnell’s point of emphasis. Turnovers are the great equalizer. East Newton snuck up and beat Seneca last year because they were able to create turnovers at the right time.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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