Wildcats roaring into Brawl

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Cassville’s Bowen Preddy takes a screen pass 53 yards into the end zone during Cassville’s win over St. James Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville seeking to reclaim the trophy

One week after struggling to maintain focus in a loss to McDonald County, the Wildcats of Cassville bounced back with a 33-6 win over previously-unbeaten St. James.

“I thought we finally put together four complete quarters,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “We scored in all three phases of the game and I thought we responded well [from the McDonald County loss].”

On Friday, the Wildcats (3-2) welcome their arch-rival and nemesis Monett (2-3) to town in the fifth renewal of the Barry County Brawl.

Parnell has stressed to his team this week not to sleep on the sub-500 Cubs.

“You see their pieces on the board,“ Parnell said. “They have a stout offensive and defensive line and we will not overlook that their receivers can still do damage.”

It has been four long years since Cassville has defeated Monett on the gridiron. The pain of each loss is felt by the fans and remembered in detail by the coach.

Parnell is just 1-3 in this game, and last year, he watched a 13-point second half lead turn into a heartbreaking 21-20 loss.

“They gave me all they had against Monett,” Parnell said. “I told them their effort was good enough to win.”

This year, things have changed.

Monett lost 15 starters to graduation and three other starters due to medical issues for the season. After beginning the season 2-0 with wins over California and Logan-Rogersville, the Cubs have dropped three straight for the first time since 2013.

That year, they lost the final five games of the season and the first of those five losses came at the hands of the Wildcats in the inaugural Barry County Brawl, 27-0.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, returned several playmakers. After hanging tough against Lamar, they bounced back with wins over Reeds Spring and East Newton.

The homecoming debacle against the Mustangs is proof enough that if a team loses focus, they could lose.

Still, Parnell has driven this point home to the team, and the win over the Tigers showed they were listening.

For the first time since 2013, the Wildcats are the favored team going into the contest.

Parnell has no problem telling people that they do not care about the polls and that he expects his teams to win every game. This year, it is time for the Wildcats to shine.

The Wildcats are averaging 222 yards rushing and 77 yards passing per game.

Teams are loading the box against Cassville and daring them to throw the ball.

“We threw the ball 15 times against St. James,” Parnell said. “Our goal is to throw the ball when we want to. Our receivers have gotten strong, but we are still running the ball well.”

Keys for the Wildcats

• Throw the first punch

The Wildcats need to establish their dominance early in this game. They do not want to give the Cubs any type of confidence.

• Control the line

Cassville held the lead for three quarters last year because they were able to control the line. If the Wildcats average 4 yards per carry it should be a fun night for Wildcat Nation.

• Go up top once or twice

Look for the Wildcats to loft one or two deep passes in the game. Regardless of whether or not they are caught, Cassville must show Monett it can throw the ball.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Season stats

CassvilleMonett
131Points77
1,503Total yards1,344
1,114Rushing676
389Passing668
46Completion %54
5Turnovers7
4Interceptions3
1Fumbles4
222.8YPG Rushing133
77.8YPG Passing134
35.5Net Punt Avg.37.9

Team Leaders

Rushing

Cassville: Shannon Haney, 23-429, 5 TDs; Anthony Tolbert, 66-409, 7 TDs

Monett: Patrick Valentine, 59-270, 6 TDs; William Murphy, 54-262, 0 TDs

Passing

Cassville: Shannon Haney, 25-52-296, 3 TDs

Monett: Karter Brink, 42-71-527, 0 TDs

Receiving

Cassville: D.J. White, 6-134, 2 TDs; Bowen Preddy, 10-122, 2TDs

Monett: Cody Thompson, 12-225; Jedd Anderson, 11-215

Defense

Cassville: Wyatt Goade, 46 tackles, 34 unassisted tackles, 1 sack; Garret Knight, 29 tackles, 26 unassisted tackles, 4 tackles for loss

Monett: J.R. Villa, 31 tackles, 16 unassisted tackles, 1.5 sacks Patrick Valentine: 35 tackles, 18 unassisted tackles

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