Wildcats bring back Brawl trophy to Cassville

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Cassville’s Wyatt Goade stiff-arms Monett’s William Murphy during the Wildcats’ win over the Cubs on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Team tempered after win over rival Monett

The Cassville football team beat Monett and reclaimed the Barry County Brawl trophy for the first time since 2013, but feelings were tempered after the contest, as the Wildcats know they still have things to work on after Week 6.

Dalton O’Neill, senior wide receiver and linebacker, said the win felt pretty good and the team played well overall.

Cassville’s Anthony Tolbert breaks free from Monett’s Cody Thompson during the Wildcats’ win over the Cubs on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

“Our defense held on strong,” he said. “I think we could have done better in some areas, and that’s what we’ll be working on in practice [this] week. It feels good to have won, but I think we could have put more on the board.”

Head Coach Lance Parnell had the same feelings post-game, but was proud of his team, especially for holding the Cubs to nil on the scoreboard.

“It’s always good to win over Monett and to get that trophy back,” he said. “This game means a lot to the kids. We put a big emphasis on our defense and doing the little things right with attention to detail. Any time you get a shutout in the Big 8, that’s a big deal.

“I think we left some points on the field that would have made us more comfortable at the end, but we hit on a couple big plays and when we watch the film, we’ll pick it apart. We want to finish our drives off, and we’ve got to do that consistently. That’s something we will work on.”

O’Neill said Parnell told the team it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, and the boys will have to come back ready to work on Monday.

“On offense, we’ve got to make sure we run plays correctly, hit the right holes and make the right blocks,” he said.

Cassville’s defense was by far the winner on Friday. The Wildcats held the Cubs to only 6 yards passing and 173 rushing.

Even more impressive was the team’s turnover ratio. Hunter Bailey and Anthony Tolbert each recovered a fumble, and Ethan Hoppes came away with an interception on a deep halfback pass. Tolbert also led in tackles, as he and Evan Kessinger each had 6 unassisted.

“I think with the flow of the game, we could have created more turnovers, but it’s always good to win that turnover battle,” Parnell said.

Offensively, Cassville threw for 175 yards and rushed for another 171. DJ White reeled in a pair of touchdown catches, the first for 80 yards and the second for 35. He finished with 3 catches for 141 yards. Logan Carlin led on the ground with 69 net yards on 8 attempts. Quarterback Shannon Haney went 6-for-11 for 175 yards and the two scores. He also netted 36 yards on the turf.

The win for Cassville marked the first time since its inception the Barry County Brawl trophy was raised by the Black and Gold. Parnell said the game has a special meaning not only for the players, but for the coaches, as well.

“It’s easy to go back to work on Monday after a win, especially after a win over Monett,” he said. “Monett-Cassville is a big rivalry and always has been for the 20 years I’ve been here. I know the kids circle it on the schedule, and as a coach, it’s a pride thing. We’re close with the Monett staff, so coaching across the field from good friends adds a little extra. Coach [Derrek] Uhl is one of my best friends.

“This game is always big for the community and for us, but in the end, it’s a Week 6 Big 8 game and we needed a win — and we got it.”

Cassville hits the road this week to face Seneca. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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