Cassville heads to St. James
Wildcats fuming from loss, seek win Friday
All coaches hate losing.
Sometimes, the sting of a loss can be mitigated if a coach knows the players did all they could but still fell short.
Friday, in a 21-14 setback to McDonald County, was not one of those feel-good losses.
Wildcat Coach Lance Parnell did not mince his words when he reflected upon the game.
“We were out played,” Parnell said. "We were outplayed in all three phases. We were not focused and ready to play and that is my fault. McDonald County came in here and was more energized. They flew around and played hard for four quarters and we did not.”
The Wildcats (2-2, 1-2) had an intense film session, according to the coach, and he laid out the strategy for this week.
“I told the team we will be focused on football on Friday and that they needed to be prepared to put in the work this week in practice,” Parnell said. “When you have a team of 15, 16, 17-year-old players you need them be be focused and we are going to get them there this week.”
There are two big reasons why Parnell and the Cassville coaching staff are stepping up the intensity this week. No. 1, the Wildcats took a step backward in their development last week and No. 2, They travel to undefeated St. James on Friday (4-0).
“They are a good team,” Parnell said. “I’m not just blowing smoke. They are senior dominated and have a quarterback that can throw the ball and three receivers that can catch it.”
The Tigers are fresh off a 46-20 victory over Owensville where quarterback Ryan Harlan completed 24 of his 36 passes for 359 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He also ran the ball 13 times for 32 yards and a score.
On the season Harlan is 63 for 98, 1,081 yards, 13 touchdowns and 3 interception. He has also rushed for 349 yards and 9 more touchdowns.
In the Wildcats win over St. James last season, Harlan was 25 of 36 passing for a season-high 286-yards and two touchdowns.
The Tigers have four receivers that have hauled in 200-yards or more this season.
Against Owensville, Cade Snitker led the team in receiving with 11 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Grant Conway had nine catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while Carter Keeney added one catch for a 49-yard touchdown.
“Their offense is similar to Mt. Vernon,” said Parnell. “They want to throw the ball 65 to 70 percent of the time and we have to be prepared for that.”
Cassville this season has been a one-sided offense rushing for 923 net yards and passing for 241 yards.
Cassville quarterbacks are just 14 of 41 passing with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Anthony Tolbert leads the team in rushing with 373 yards and is followed by Shannon Haney with 328 yards.
Keys for Cassville
• Sustain, maintain and score
The Wildcats have not been able to go on many long drives this season. This is a problem for a team that is built to be a ball-control, chew-the-clock up offense. Cassville must keep St. James offense on the sideline Friday if they want to earn the win.
• Pass the ball
McDonald County showed little to no respect for the Wildcats’ passing game last week. Teams are going to watch that film copy that blueprint. Cassville has reached the point where they must throw to keep defenses from loading the box.
• Four-quarters focused
Parnell said he liked the way the Wildcats started against the Mustangs Friday, but they lost their way and did not finish the game. Four quarters of hard play and nothing less will satisfy the coaching staff.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.