Gut check time for Wildcats

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Quarterback Shannon Haney fights off a tackler during Cassville’s Week 6 game against Monett. Kyle Troutman/

Team centered on little details for Friday

High school football coaches are quick to point out that they are working with talent that is 15 to 18 years old.

As such, there are some times that you run into teams that are better or schemes that may be difficult to pick up, and they need time to grow.

Ethan Hoppes returns a kickoff during the Wildcats’ Week 6 game against Monett. Kyle Troutman/

As such, those are beyond the coaches’ ability to control.

But, that was not the entire case for Cassville in a loss to Seneca.

"We made too many mental mistakes,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “Turnovers killed us, penalties and just a ton of small mistakes.”

Parnell said that the coaches shoulder the load for not having the team focused.

“We learned that we need to get off the bus ready to play,” Parnell said. “Seneca taught us that we have to be four-quarters ready if we want to win.”

This week, in an attempt to fix the miscues of Friday, the Wildcats are lacing an emphasis on doing the little things right.

On Friday, Cassville welcomes Aurora, who lost to Seneca 15-14 earlier this season.

The Houn’ Dawgs are under first-year head coach, but long time Aurora assistant, Craig Weldy.

“I knew that Coach Weldy would have success this season,” Parnell said. “He has the Houn’ Dawgs playing well. They are physical and run hard.”

Aurora comes into the game averaging 368 yards off offense per contest, 199.7 passing and 168.3 rushing.

The offense is guided by quarterback J.D. Lee.

This season, the senior is 81-of-139 passing for 1,295 yards and 8 touchdowns.

“He is a smart kid with a big arm,” Parnell said. “He is an accurate passer and can run the option attack as well.”

Lee has done a decent job of spreading the pass around this season.

Clayton Dunning has been his favorite target this season, catching 25 passes for 559 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Kaden Clark and Logan Lauffer have combined to catch 27 passes for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns.

On the ground, the Houn’ Dawgs have four running backs with 180 yards rushing or more. The team has rushed for 1,178 yards on the season, and six different backs have scored for the team this season.

Lauffer leads the way with 334 yards on 36 carries. Lee is second with 290 yards on 88 carries.

“There are a lot of similarities between Seneca and Aurora’s styles,” Parnell said. “Friday, we get an opportunity to show that we have grown and gotten a week better.”

Keys for Cassville

• The ball is your friend

Turnovers killed the Wildcats last week. Cassville must hang on to the ball and score when the opportunity arises.

• Hold the line

Cassville must win the battle up front on the line to win on Friday. The defensive line has to keep the linebackers free to make tackles.

• Stay balanced

The Houn’ Dawgs can run and throw the ball to move it down the field. Cassville must be able to match that type of balance.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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